Category: Italian

polenta con funghi

polentafunghi

Yesterday’s post about wild herbs and foraging got me thinking about mushrooms. Sure you can find mushrooms year-round in the supermarket, but I was craving something tastier than your¬†usual Portobello, Shitake and White Button mushrooms. It’s hard to find the good ones in the shops like Chanterelles, Hen of the Woods, Hedgehog, and Porcini (my favorite). Autumn is mushroom season! Some foraging knowledge would definitely come in handy right about now. ūüôā I bet there are blankets of wild mushrooms out in the nearby forests waiting to be picked. However,¬†It’s not very likely that I will be foraging this season (I’d probably pick all the poisonous ones HAHA). So I did the next best thing. I went out to the Baltimore’s Farmers Market this morning under the JFX bridge and picked up some delicious funghi from the¬†mushroom stall.¬† (more…)

pasta alla norma

rigatoni alla norma

One thing I look forward to every week is making lunch for my mom at our house. I think she loves it too! ūüėČ She’s a pretty busy lady, so in the short time¬†we have together I make sure to prepare a lovely 3 course meal – starter, main and dessert. This way, I know she’ll leave with a full and happy belly. Oh and I always send her off with a hot cappuccino to-go. I literally buy those disposable coffee cups with lids from Costco, just for her cappuccinos.

Two weeks ago, I made my mom a fresh zucchini salad, pasta all norma (eggplant spaghetti)¬†and fruit salad of peaches, nectarines and plums. (All made from seasonal produce from the farmers market.) She liked the zucchini salad so much I made it again when the whole family was over for lunch. Although the eggplant spaghetti was tasty and looked pretty, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I was short on time and skipped 2 important¬†steps in the recipe and well, while the eggplant should’ve broken apart and become creamy in texture, it remained intact and was quite watery. She didn’t seem to mind, but I told myself I’d have to make it properly for her the next time. (more…)

bruschetta

lovedove tomatoes

Now that you’ve made the ciabatta from yesterday, all you need are juicy sweet tomatoes. These are the tomatoes I picked up after lunch at the Love Dove Farm stall at the Howard County Farmers Market. Aren’t they just gorgeous? I grabbed a pint of Sun Gold tomatoes and a pint of Black Cherry tomatoes. I could snack on them all day.

Farm stalls are overflowing with all¬†different tomato heirlooms and varieties during the summer. Once you’ve tried fresh picked tomatoes off the vine, the ones you find year round in the supermarkets won’t do. It’s hard for me not to pick up a pint or two when I’m out at the farmers market. When using¬†such delicious produce like farm fresh tomatoes, it’s best to keep whatever dish you’re making¬†as simple as possible. You want the natural sweetness and bright flavors to shine.¬†A great dish to show off summer tomatoes is Bruschetta. Here are a few different ways I dress my tomatoes. (more…)

ciabatta…i made one from scratch!

ciabatta ingredients

Why is bread making so daunting? It really shouldn’t be. I’ve made plenty of quick breads at home like scones, biscuits and Irish brown bread¬†without a problem. But you see, they don’t require yeast. There’s something about using yeast and letting things proof for a long time that puts me off of making those types of breads. (more…)

spring onion pasta with breadcrumbs

plating sp pasta 1

What a beautiful day!¬†Today as soon as my alarm went off I jumped out of bed, went downstairs, opened all the windows then put on the kettle. Kevin asked ‘Who are you and what did you do with my wife?’ HAHA. Maybe I’ll even go for a light jog around the neighborhood…that’ll give Kevin an even bigger shock! Most of you will be reading this thinking…isn’t it normal to wake up when the alarm goes off? Of course it is! I just like to set my alarm a half hour early and hit snooze a few times, that’s all ūüėČ

We’ve been eating pretty heavy lately, thought I’d make something light for lunch today (and the fabulous weather makes me crave a summery pasta). I should really learn to balance my meals. I doubt a light herby pasta will negate the 8 plates of Chinese food, jerk chicken and Korean braised short ribs we had over the¬†past few days! But maybe if I keep telling myself it does…it actually will! ūüėČ

I usually make light¬†herby pastas to accompany fish, but it’s just as delicious served on its own.¬†Like spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino, when I can’t decide what to eat, I make spring onion spaghetti. It’s easy¬†peasy and really hits the spot. We also had some leftover baguette so I whizzed it up in the food processor and made ‘pan grattato’ or breadcrumbs. (more…)

sugo di pesce spada (swordfish tomato sauce)

swordfish pasta plated

Here is another fantastic summer pasta dish that I love making at home – pasta with swordfish (a typical dish from Southern Italy and Sicily). You can find swordfish at the fish counter in most supermarkets these days. Whole Foods always has them. If you tried the steak seasoning from my last post and have left over anchovies that you weren’t sure what to do with it, this recipe is for you.

Pesce spada is Italian for swordfish, literally fish spade. Whenever I hear the word spada, I think of my friend from university who studied abroad with me at Universit√† per Stanieri di Siena. She was telling me about her excursion to San Galgano, a medieval city 30 minutes or so outside of Siena, famous for the legendary sword in the stone. They say it’s where the story of King Arthur and Excalibur originated. She told me that she saw the spade in the rock (spada nella roccia) and I could not stop laughing. I never heard it called that before – the sword in the stone sounds much cooler. ūüėČ

Speaking of friends from Universit√† per Stranieri di Siena, a good friend of mine, who I met there while studying abroad, is getting married this weekend in Oregon! So greetings from Portland guys! We’ll be here until the weekend and I can’t wait to share with you our experiences and all the great food we eat when we get back. (more…)

pesto genovese

pesto plated

I used to make pesto¬†so often, anytime we had guests over for dinner, they’d assume I would be serving¬†it. I couldn’t help it – It’s fragrant, tasty, and extremely easy to make. If you tried the spaghetti carbonara recipe I posted, you’ll know when I say something is easy – I mean it!

Pesto originates from Genoa (Genova in Italian) in Liguria. One of my Italian professors at university was from Genoa and she would tell us stories about how as soon as you land at the airport you can smell the fragrant basil in the air. How wonderful is that?! So one summer when Kevin came to visit me in Italy, we took the train to Cinque Terre in Liguria and I had my very first plate of pesto alla genovese. It was delicious and I try to replicate that exact dish whenever I make it at home.

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spaghetti carbonara

carbonara plated

A dish that I make quite often in our house is Spaghetti alla Carbonara¬†(aka breakfast spaghetti). It doesn’t require much cooking and uses very simple ingredients. This is all I need to make lunch for two. By the way, when you get to the rind of your parmiggiano cheese, don’t chuck it! I’ll show you how to use it in soups like Pasta Fagioli or Pasta Ceci.

carbonara ingredients

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simple ingredients for lunch

chanterelle crostini

Trying to use up the last of the produce I have in my fridge before we go out to the markets again this weekend. Unless I’m throwing a dinner party, I don’t have meals planned out in advance. I usually open my pantry and my fridge and make something on the fly.¬†Before you start thinking I’m some kind of Iron Chef, let me be clear –¬†I’m not whipping up culinary masterpieces! When I say ‘on the fly,’ I’m talking spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino, rice and egg, pasta with tuna, lemon and parsley, poor man’s bibimbop (rice, stir fried¬†carrots and scallions in sesame oil, can tuna, fried egg, with bibimbop sauce) …very simple and easy dishes. In order¬†to do that, I pretty much keep these items in stock – onions (scallions, shallots, anything in the onion family), garlic, parsley, carrots, lemon, can tuna, eggs, pasta and rice.

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