Crostata alla frutta

Good evening!

I know it’s been a while since I have posted my last recipe but I’ve been a bit busy during the last few weeks. Anyway, here we are with the next one: the crostata. Crostata is a typical italian tart, with a nice crust  and a soft heart. It’s relly quick to make and it’s perfect for different occasions such as pic nics, b-days or just for a dinner. For our recipe, I topped the cake with a home made crema pasticcera and fresh fruit. Alternatively you can use marmelade or jam.

What you need

for the pastry:

  • 120 g  flour 00
  •  4 egg yolks
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 100 g  sugar
  • 100 g unsalted butter – room temperature

for the cream (crema pasticcera):

  • 1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
  •  4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoon of flour
  • 2 cups (500 cc) milk
  • lemon rind or lemon flavour;

 

How to make it:

TIP – 10 minutes before starting you need to prepare the butter: place it on a plate and cut it into thin slices. Keep it at room temperature.

 

Sift the flour in a bowl, add the softened butter and start working the ingredients with your fingers. You should obatin a dry crumbled mixture.

 

Add the eggs, the sugar and the pinch of salt and mix the ingredients togheter.

 

Transfer the mixture on a work surface and work it quickly with your hands until you get a nice and smooth dough.

 

If your mixture sticks on the table (or on your hands) use some flour to give it more conistency. The result has to be a smooth “ball”(see picture below). Once you have your pastry ready place it on a plate and let it aside for 15 minutes. A good tip is to cover it with a cloth or some film.

In the meanwhile, the cream can be prepared according to the following instructions:

Place the egg yolks in a sauce pan and add  the sugar.

 

Beat them together with a wooden spoon and gently sift in the flour. Whisk thoroughly until fully combined. Transfer the sauce pan on medium heat and add the slice of lemon rind or 1tsp lemon flavour.  Gently add the milk at room temperature, little by little, and bring the ingredients to a boil.

 

Keep stirring constantly as we don’t want a “smoked flavour”. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Pre heat your oven at 180°. Work your pasta frolla, using a rolling pin: you need to create a disk who fits  the baking tin. The thickness of your cake has to be at least 1.5 cm; if your baking tin is too large, you need a smaller one. Crostata has to be eaten with your hands so it has to be “hard enough”.

Place the pastry into your baking tin; you don’t need to butter the tin. While cooking the butter into the pastry will prevent the cake from sticking. When placing the mixture remember to create a little border so tyou will be able to eat it with your hands.

Place the baking tin into the oven and bake it for 30 minutes or unitl golden ( you can use the toothpick test if you are not sure).  While the cake is cooling down, add the custard (Crema pasticcera) on the top!Guarnish your cake with fresh fruit and ..enjoy!

 

Ps: we love tasty food, don’t we? So try to choose only seasonal fruit – you will get the best natural flavour ever. I’ve heard October is perfect for cox apples…;-)

Pasta salad with vegetables and speck

Today I’m gonna meet some friends for a bbq and everyone is gonna bring something to eat. I’ve decided to prepare a nice pasta salad with vegetables and speck.Ever heard about speck? It’s a gorgeous  cured and smoked ham, originally from the Sud – Tirol, an area located between north of Italy and Austria. I love it! You can taste it on small slices with some bread or just add it in many different recipes.

What you need:

  • 500 grams of pasta (farfalle or penne);
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 courgettes
  • 300 grams of speck
  • For the dressing:
  • 20 grams of fresh parseley
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

How to make it:

Before starting here a small tip: when you prepare a pasta salad never use long pasta (like spaghetti) as it’s very hard to manage (long pasta sticks togheter very easily).

Cook your pasta according to the directions (if you need help, check my previous post) , drain it well and put it into  a large bowl. Add to the pasta  3 tbsp of olive oil and let it cool down.

Pasta

Now you need to prepare the vegetables: put some olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped vegetables. Let them cook for about 20 minutes and remember to add half cup of hot water to avoid your vegetables burn.

Vegetables

Again set aside and let cool.

 

 

Cut the Speck as thinly as possible and fry it for 5 minutes, then mix it with the vegetbales. Once all the ingredients are ready, add them to the pasta and gently toss.

To prepare the dressing mix the 5 tbsp of olive oil, the parseley and salt and pepper. You can decide to add the dressing immediatly or just before serving – Remember that you need to refrigerate your pasta salad for few hours before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta – The basics

Pasta is probably the most famous dish of the Italian cuisine. It’s almost impossible not to like it: it has an amazing taste and it’s pretty easy to do.
Here you’ll find some tips how to prepare the perfect pasta. As I previously said, it’s an easy recipe but you need to pay attention to all those little things, that usually are not considered.

First of all: the pasta!You can choose among a big variety of pasta: durum wheat (my favourite), whole wheat pasta , egg pasta, brown rice pasta and so on.  I’m not gonna talk about different types of pasta, I just want to remember you to read carefully the label when buying it as he quality of the pasta is probably the most important thing if you want a nice result. If you are not “an expert” it is better to prefer a known brand rather then the cheapest you can find.

Secondly, you need a proper pot to avoid pasta clumping up while cooking (in particular if you are cooking long pasta, like spaghetti or tagliatelle). Remember to use plenty of water. A good measure is to use for every 100 grams of pasta about 1.2 liters of water.
Once you have the pot ready, put it on the fire and wait until water boils.

Boiling water

Then, you need to add the salt to the water. Adding the salt when water is boiling is a pretty important step. Remember that salt raises the boiling point of water, so if you add it too early it will take more time and energy. I usually put half tablespoon of salt for every 80 grams of pasta and then I taste the water in order to avoid surprises.

Adding salt
Once you have your perfect salty water ready, it’s finally time to add the pasta!While cooking, it’s very important to stir the pasta, especially at the beginning. This is to prevent pasta from sticking together.
Always check the cooking time and consider that, most of the times, the one reported on the package is not accurate enough.
If you want to get an “al dente” result, keep boiling it for 2 or 3 minutes more than the suggested time. In order to avoid risks, I usally taste pasta 1 minute before the end of the suggested time. If it is firm to the bite and slightly tender then it’s ready (you can test it with a fork).

 

Testing pasta

Once pasta is ready, you need to drain it really well. You can leave a little bit of cooking water in the pot and then put it into the pan with your sauce. This step will help you to get a better result when tossing pasta with the sauce.
Here there are some mistakes to avoid:

– do not add oil while  pasta is cooking as it’s not helpful at all. If you don’t want pasta sticking togheter just stir it very often (the first time you cook pasta, try to follow it up as often as you can);

– I know some people put cold water into the pot to stop the cooking process. There is not point to do it; when pasta is ready you just need to drain it and then mix it with the sauce you’ve choosen;

– do not rinse pasta after you drained it or it won’t mix properly with the sauce;

– do not add oil to the drained pasta. Mix it immediatly with the sauce and only after put some extra virgin olive oil on the top (the only exception where you can put oil straight on the pasta, it’s for “Pasta in bianco” which does not include any sauce. Only extra virgin oil and parmesan);

– if you are not gonna serve pasta immediatly let it cool down and then keep it on the fridge.

I hope this little tricks will help you but I suggest you to try and try again. Experience is the best ingredient ever!

Eating pasta :)

 

Hello :)

Here we are: a big welcome to my new kitchen! The idea is to give some tasty recipes and smart tips about Italian cuisine (and not only). From main dishes to dessert, a quick and easy guide about how to cook lots of Italian foods! So if you are looking for something special to eat….that’s the site!
Coming soon with the 1st recipe!