“Fusilli” with king prawns, leeks and hazelnuts

PrimiMay 22 20152 Comments


Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

  • - 320 g of Fusilli pasta
  • - 300 g jumbo King prawns
  • - 50 g roasted hazelnuts, grinded
  • - 1 bag of saffron powder
  • - 1/2 glass of still dry white wine, such as Alentejo or similar
  • - 1 big leek, thinly sliced
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - sea salt/fine salt
  • - black pepper, freshly grounded


  • 1. Firstly, stew the slices of leek in a slug of olive oil until soft and slightly gold in color. Then add the wine and let it dry out at high heat. After it has cooked, add the saffron, and mix it well with the leek. Take the pan off the heat.
  • 2. In a separate wide saucepan gently pour some olive oil and quickly pan-fry the king prawn at high heat. Adjust with salt as you like.
  • 3. In the meanwhile boil the water for the pasta, add a handful of sea salt and boil the pasta for about 10 min (until ‘al dente’). Please remember to check out the cooking time of the pasta on its packaging as it can differ among brands and types of brand.
  • 4. When the fusilli are ready, mix it with the leek and the king prawns. Sprinkle some roasted hazelnuts on top as well as a drop of olive oil and black pepper, freshly grounded. Enjoy it!


  • If you want to prepare this dish quicker, you can buy boiled prawns which you can just add to the leeks last minute.
  • The recipe comes out nicely as well if you use shrimps or crab meat.

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Sweet ricotta pastries with apples

DolciMar 05 20152 Comments

fagottiricotta con mele4**

Difficulty:Easy  Time:Long

INGREDIENTS (x 8 persons)

For the dough base

  • - 1 egg
  • - 1 pinch of salt
  • - 75 g caster sugar
  • - 300 g non-raising plain flour (‘00’)
  • - 50 g potato starch
  • - 150 g ricotta cheese
  • - 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • - 5 teaspoons sunflower seed oil
  • - 7 teaspoons whole milk
  • - 1 bag of Vanilla powder
  • - 1 bag of yeast powder

For the apple filling

  • - 500 g apples
  • - 50 g raisins
  • - 50 g caster sugar
  • - 2 biologic lemons

And 2-3 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar (to decorate)


First prepare the apple filling.

For the filling: Peel and cut the apples into small chunks. In the meanwhile soak the raisins in warm water and a drizzle of rhum (optional) for 10-15 minutes. Then take a non-sticking pan, add all the apples with the sugar, the grated lemon skin and the raisins after taking them out from the water and rhum. Let the cook until soft. It will take 10-15 min according to the size of the apples. Then take the pan out of the stove and set it aside.

In the meanwhile get ready with the dough.

For the dough base: In a large bowl add in order the egg, the salt and the sugar. Whisk well until foamy. Then add the ricotta cheese, the oil and the milk and finally the flour. At last the vanilla and the yeast powder. You will get to a soft workable dough you can knead in the biscuit shape you prefer.

Make one dumpling at time. Take some dough and knead it to make a ball from which you will make into a disk. Place some filling into the centre then close it into a shape of a half moon. Alternatively create a square piece which you can then mould into a pyramid with the filing inside.

Brush the borders of each mould with little milk and cook in a pre-heated oven for about 20’ at 180°C.

Serve it with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar on top.


  • - You can easily personalize the recipe by adding different type of crumbled nuts to the apples or by changing fruits.
  • - They taste very nicely if served with a warm custard or Patissiere cream


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Beef escalopes “alla pizzaiola”

SecondiFeb 26 20151 Comment

carne pizzaiola 6**bis

Difficulty: Very easy Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons)

  • -  350 g lean beef escalopes, in thin slices
  • -  2 garlic cloves
  • -  2 anchovies in oil
  • -  chilli pepper
  • -  oregano
  • -  extra virgin olive oil
  • -  400 g of chopped tomatoes, in can
  • -  salt


  • 1. Peel the garlic gloves and place them with a slug of oil in a non-sticking pan and pan fry them until golden brown.
  • 2. Take the pan out of the heat and melt the anchovies in the oil.
  • 3. Then add the meat slices and let them quickly cook before adding the tomatoes, oregano, and chilli pepper. Adjust with salt to your taste and cook it for about 10-15 min (according to the size of the cut of the meat).
  • Serve it warm with sourdough bread.

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Supplì di riso – mamma’s way


Difficulty: Easy Time:Very long


  • - 500 gr rice carnaroli or vialone
  • - 250 gr tomato sauce (see basic recipe)
  • - 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • - 100 gr mozzarella, roughly chopped into small cubes
  • - a large handful of plain breadcrumbs
  • - 2 eggs
  • - 1 handful of small capers (optional)
  • - 200 gr gated Parmesan
  • - Salt and pepper
  • - Sunflower oil for deep frying


  • 1. Boil the rice in salted water, drain it when ready and mix it with the tomato sauce until red. Make sure not to pour too much sauce and get it too ‘wet’ otherwise it will open up during frying.
  • 2. Beat the eggs with a whisker and add a pinch of salt.
  • 3. Mix the eggs with the rice, add the Parmesan and the butter, salt and pepper.
  • 4. Let the mix cool down in order to be able to mould it later. When it gets it to a warm temperature, wet the palm of your hands, pick up a scoop of the mix and make an oval shape in your hand. Make a small hole in the center and place in it 1-2 cubes of mozzarella. Close and roll your first “suppli” on a bed of breadcrumbs.
  • 5. Repeat until you finish the mix, deep fry the supplis in hot oil until golden. Serve them warm with a few capers on the side.(optional)


  • - If the mix is too ‘wet/watery add an egg or one or two spoons of breadcrumbs before rolling the supplis.
  • - You can vary the recipe with ragu or tomatoes and peas sauce instead of the tomato or other cheese instead of mozzarella . I personally prefer the simplest version.
  • Kids will love them anyway!!


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Smoked Salmon balls with Philadelphia cream cheese and walnuts

PALLINE salmonePhiladelphia

Difficulty: Very easy Time: Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 6 persons):

  • - 200g smoked salmon (in brine or pre-cooked fillets)
  • - 100g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • -  1 handful of fresh flat parsley, thinly chopped
  • -  1 large handful of grinded walnuts
  • -  2 tablespoons of white onion, finely chopped
  • -  2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • -  1 pinch of paprika powder


Put all ingredients in small separate bowls. Then in a large bowl, mix the salmon with the cream cheese, the parsley, the onion, the paprika and the lemon juice. Then with a spoon take a small quantity of the mix and try and create a small ball with wet hands (to avoid sticking). Roll the balls into the grinded walnuts. Place the balls in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.


  • - I suggest making this a quick and easy starter a few hours before your meal. This will give you enough time to get ready for the other dishes and it will also allow the balls to take the right texture.
  • - The dish tastes better when the balls are small in size, say, about 2 cm, and when they are accompanied with a glass of dry white wine.

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Traditional Italian Lasagne – Mamma’s way

PrimiJan 12 20150 Comments


Difficulty: Difficult Time: Very long

NOTE: For this dish you will need to prepare the Ragu, the Sauce, and the lasagne.

For the Ragu’

See recipe number 1 in the blog

For the ‘Béchamel’ sauce (White sauce):

The creator of this sauce was apparently the marquise of Nointel, Louis de Béchamel, in the XVIII century. Nowadays many chefs agree on the hypothesis that the sauce is in fact from Italian origin , imported by Caterina de’ Medici from Tuscany to France.

INGREDIENTS (for 1 L sauce)

  • - 100g unsalted butter
  • - 1 pinch of salt
  • - Nutmeg, powder of freshly grated
  • - 100gr plain flour (“00”)
  • - 1 lt fresh whole milk


  • 1. First place the milk in a small saucepan, place it over a low heat and let it come – very slowly – to a simmering point, which will take approximately 5 minutes.
  • 2. In a different pan, begin melting the butter gently and take the pan out from the heat as soon as the butter melts. Then add the flour and with a wooden spoon stir quite vigorously. Then put it back at medium heat and keep stirring it until you get a smooth, glossy ‘paste’ (the ‘roux’). Make sure you do not get clumps of unmixed flour.
  • 3. Now begin adding the infused milk a little at a time and stir again vigorously with a whisk. Season with a pinch of salt and a generous quantity of freshly grounded nutmeg.
  • 4. Now turn the heat down and let the sauce cook for 5 minutes, whisking from time to time, until it starts getting dense and simmering.


  • - Begin melting the butter gently – don’t over-heat it or let it brown, as this will affect the colour and flavour of the sauce.
  • - If you wish to keep the Béchamel warm, cover the surface with cling film to stop it from forming a skin. You can keep the sauce in the fridge, albeit covered in this way, for a maximum of 2-3 days. If you want to freeze the sauce, I recommend no longer than a month.
  • - If you want to get a more dense sauce, just increase the quantity of butter and flour.

For the Lasagne (x 8/10 persons)

  • - 14 sheets fresh lasagne pasta
  • - 3 x 125g mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (optional)
  • - rich handful grated Italian Parmesan
  • - freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • - 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • - Salt
  • - Extra virgin olive oil


  • 1. Prepare the ragu sauce and the béchamel sauce in advance as it takes a long time to be ready before assembling this dish. Be ready with separate bowls of freshly grated Parmesan and, if you like, the mozzarella cheese into cubes.
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • 3. For the lasagne, blanch the pasta in salted boiling water for three minutes. Add a few spoons of olive oil to the boiling water to avoid the pasta sheets sticking to each other. Place each pasta sheet on a damp towel.
  • 4. Place a few tablespoons of the béchamel sauce into the bottom of a lasagne tray together with few spoons of ragu sauce and some small knobs of butter. Then place some of the pasta strips over the top to cover to whole tray bottom. Follow with extra béchamel, ragu and Parmesan, and sprinkle freshly ground black pepper over the layer. Repeat this step until all the ingredients have been used up.
  • 5. Finish with a layer of béchamel sauce and knobs of butter over the surface. Sprinkle some Parmesan on the top and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and completely cooked through.

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King prawns’ skewers with ‘Lardo di Colonnata’


Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

  • - 24 king prawns
  • - 24 thin slices of Italian ‘Lardo di Colonnata’
  • - 1 large handful of grated lemon zests (only skin)
  • - 1 handful of breadcrumbs (optional)


  • 1. Gently rinse the fresh King Prawns, taking out the head and the shell but not the tail.
  • 2. Wrap each prawn up with a slice of ‘Lardo di colonnata’ and sprinkle each with some lemon zest.
  • 3. Add three prawns to one skewer and grill them until slightly gold. Serve immediately.


  • - Lardo is a type of salumi (not to be confused with Salami. Italian: charcuterie) made by curing strips off back at with rosemary and other herbs and spices. The most famous lardo is from the Tuscan hamlet of Colonnata, where lardo has been made since the Roman times. Lardo di Colonnata is now included in the Ark of Taste catalogue of heritage foods and enjoying its IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status since 2004.
  • - A nice variation is to add breadcrumbs around the lardo slice together with the lemon zests. It will become crustier on the outside.
  • - Try not to overcook the prawns as they will become too hard.

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Torta con crema e pinoli/Cream and pine nuts tart

DolciNov 16 20140 Comments

torta crema pinoli

Difficulty:Easy  Time:Very long

INGREDIENTS (x 8 persons)

For the dough base (“Pasta Frolla”)

  • - 200 g non-raising plain flour (‘00’)
  • - 50 g potato starch
  • - 120 g unsalted butter
  • - 80 g caster sugar
  • - 2 egg yolks
  • - 1 pinch of salt
  • - 1 bag of vanilla powder
  • - 1 lemon

For the cream

  • - 300 ml of whole milk
  • - 200 ml single cream
  • - 40 g non-raising plain flour (‘00’)
  • - 3 egg yolks
  • - 80 g caster sugar
  • - 100 g pine-nuts
  • - 2 tablespoon of confectioners sugar (to decorate)


For the base of dough: Take out the butter from the fridge, dice it into smaller pieces and let it soften up a little bit at room temperature. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the potato starch, a pinch of salt, the sugar, the vanilla powder, the yolks, the grated zest of the lemon and the diced butter. Mix everything until you have a smooth ‘paste’. Wrap the dough in transparent food foil and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (2-3 hours would be even better).

Before putting the cake together, start preparing the cream. Only when you have prepared the cream you can take out the dough from the fridge. Don’t forget to pre-heat the oven at 180° C then as well.

For the cream: In a small pan warm up the milk with the single cream. In the meanwhile, in large bowl start whisking the eggs until soft and foamy. Add the sugar and the flour. Then toss  the milk little by little making sure no lumps form in the cream.  Bring everything to boil and add the grated zest of a lemon.  Let it boil for about 5 minutes.

Choose a round baking pan (about 22 cm diameter), spread some butter evenly on the bottom and the borders and sprinkle some flour to avoid sticking.  Discard the excess flour. Cover the base and the borders of the baking pan with the dough, spread the cream evenly and place the pine nuts on top to cover the entire surface. Cook in the oven for about 50 minutes at 180°C.

Serve it warm with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar on top.


I would admit this is one of my favourite cakes, I simply love it. It is not too sweet and the roasted pine nuts on the top adding a particular background flavour to the lemon sensation of the cream.

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Risotto with Radicchio di Treviso in red wine

PrimiNov 09 20140 Comments


Difficulty:Easy  Time:Long

INGREDIENTS (x 4 persons):

  • - 2-3 shallots, finely chopped
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - 1 glass of dry rich red wine
  • - 1 liter of hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • - 2 large bunches of ‘Radicchio di Treviso’
  • - 320 g of risotto rice (Vialone Nano or Carnaroli type)
  • - 40 g of unsalted butter
  • - salt, ground pepper
  • - 1 rich handful of freshly grated Parmesan


  • 1. As a first step, chop the Radicchio into small pieces after taking off the woody stalks. Wash the Radicchio in cold water.
  • 2. In a deep, heavy-based saucepan, sweat the shallots in olive oil plus 10-20g of butter over a low heat, until they get soft and slightly brown. Add the vegetables with the wine and a pinch of salt. Let them steam until soft and tender, covered by a lid. It will take you around 15-20 min in total. In the meanwhile get ready with the stock to prepare the risotto in a separate saucepan.
  • 3. When the risotto base is ready, add the rice. Cook over a medium-high heat for few minutes to toast the rice. Then add 1 or 2 spoons of stock, cover the rice, mix and put the fire low. Keep on adding the stock and stirring. Never let the risotto base absorb all the stock. Continue this way for about 20 min until the rice is soft, tender and creamy while the rise is still firm in the centre.
  • 4. Before serving, add the remaining butter, some fresh ground pepper and some Parmesan, stir and let it rest for few minutes out of the heat. Serve it on large plates, grate some extra Parmesan on top, as well as some ground pepper.


  • - The Veneto region in the north east of Italy is famous for one type of red radicchio – radicchio di Treviso – that’s so prized it was granted IGP (protected geographical indication) status by the European Union.
  • Radicchio di Treviso resembles a large Belgian endive. The one that comes at the beginning of the growing season is called precoce, and although it’s a bit prettier to look at it doesn’t have the pronounced (and favored) bitter flavor of the one that comes later in the season, called tardivo. You’re likely to see radicchio in the markets in Italy starting in the late fall and then throughout the winter. Abroad you can find it only in special greengroceries and, unfortunately, at a higher price than in Italy…but it is worthwhile! If you happen to live in London you are lucky – there is a vegetable store in Chiswick that offers it, among other rare Italian vegetables. It is worth a visit and close to the Turnham Green tube station.
  • - To shorten the procedure, substitute the chicken or vegetable stock with stock cubes in hot boiling water to have a quickly-made bouillon.

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Swordfish pasta – Gaeta’s way

PrimiNov 02 20140 Comments


Difficulty:Very easy  Time:Quick

INGREDIENTS (x4 persons):

  • - 1 garlic clove
  • - extra virgin olive oil
  • - chilli pepper powder or dry chilli seeds
  • - 1 thick slice of freshly-caught swordfish, roughly cut in small pieces
  • - 1 small handful of capers
  • - half a dozen Gaeta olives – or any other red / light-brown Mediterranean olives, without the pit, and roughly chopped
  • - 1 handful of cherry plum tomatoes, cut in 2 parts
  • - 1 small handful of grated Parmisan (optional)
  • - 320 g of short pasta (penne or maccheroni or ditali)
  • - salt


  • 1. In a pan, sweat the garlic clove in abundant olive oil and a pinch a chilli pepper powder.
  • 2. Add the swordfish bites, the capers, the olives, the cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Let it cook with a lid at high heat for about 5 minutes. Then slow down the heat, take out the garlic clove and let it stay until the pasta is ready.
  • 3. In the meanwhile put a deep pan of water on a fire, cover with a lid and let it get up to boil. When boiling, bring down to a gentle boil and add a handful of sea salt. Let the water get back to boiling before adding the pasta. Check the boiling time on the packaging of the pasta, but start tasting the pasta for ‘al dente’ in the last minute or two.
  • 4. When the pasta is ready, get rid of the water, and add the sauce to the pasta. Make sure to add some parmisan (optional) and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!


  • - This dish only comes out nicely when the fish is fresh and high quality!
  • - A nice alternative fish is fresh tuna.

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