Become an Italian chef at home!
The Italian art of home-cooking is not only cook and eat. Spending time with friends and family at kitchen or dinning table is also an important part of "La dolce vita". Cook simply, eat healthy, drink nice, share, talk and laugh, in a cozy atmosphere are the elements of Italian dinning style. Eating is always in an enjoyable way!
I am always curious about how Italian can make the dishes in so simple way, with outcomes that are surprisingly good! Even if they prepare a home dinner for 10 or more persons, they can cook everything in a efficient way and finally the dishes are super delicious. I think that it might have some secret-things behind their cooking.
One day I was invited for a home dinner by one Italian friend, and it was a great opportunity for me to discover their cooking secrets, and also learn how to prepare some Italian foods ! My friend showed us how to make some appetisers. All of them are easy to make, and really tasty! First of all, we made " Le friselle al pomodoro" ( a typical bread from Puglia with tomato) . This starter is so simple to make! We just cut the fresh cherry tomatoes to a half and then mixed them with some high-quality extra virgin olive oil , and then put on the frisella. At last, we added a bit of salt and origano on top for seasoning. And that's it! A hint is, the texture of this bread ( la frisella) is a bit hard, so, before eat it, it's usually wet it with some water to make it softer.
We prepared also some other types of appetiser, used some Italian typical food products, which are ready-to-eat and really yummy! We put some Pate' di olive on the toast, and on another one we put Formaggio Caprino ( a kind of goat cheese). And we tried also some slices of truffle cheese and one sausage from Umbria region which called Coglioni di Mulo . All of them are full of traditional Italian flavours. There is nothing to do for prepare them . Simple, typical and delicious!
After the appetisers , it was the time to cook Italian Pasta!! My friends shared two different recipes with us. To prepare them, some Italian ready-to-cook pasta sauces were used. These sauces are made with good-quality and natural ingredients, and they are so convenient to use. Even for a home-cooking beginner, these recipes are absolutely doable.
Gnocchi con sugo alla 'Nduja ( For 4 persons)
1/ 'Nduja Salami (Salami 'Nduja, this is a typical spicy spreadable salami from the southern Italy, Calabria region) 2-3 tablespoons ( depends on how spicy you want)
2/ Cream of grilled peppers ( Crema di peperoni grigliati ) 1 jar of 190g
3/ Gnocchi 1 pack of 500g
4/ Half glass of Milk or Whipping cream 50g
5/ a bit of dried hot pepper, chopped
6/ 2 garlic cloves
How to prepare
1/ Heat one tablespoon of oil, garlic and hot pepper over gentle heat in a medium saucepan
2/ Add 2-3 tablespoons of 'Nduja Sauce to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes , mixing
3/ Add the cream of grilled peppers and then stir well.
4/ Pour the milk or Whipping cream into the sauce and mix well.
5/ Drop in gnocchi in the boiling and slightly salted water at a large pot. Cook until gnocchi have risen to the top ( usually around 3-5 minutes)
6/ Mix well the drained gnocchi with sauce at the pan
Serve and Enjoy!
Pasta al pesto di pistacchio e gamberoni (For 4 persons)
(Pasta with pistachio pesto and prawns)
1/ 500g Fresh medium prawns, washed and peeled, (removed heads reserved for use),
2/ 400g Pasta (we used that one called Tacconelli, but it's ok to use any other type you want)
3/ 1 jar Pesto di pistacchio (the best "Pesto di pistacchio" in Italy are those from Sicilia, you could use it to cook pasta or serve it directly with toast. Trust me, you would love it after you just try it once! )
4/ 8 cherry tomato, halved
5/ 2 garlic cloves
6/ salt and pepper
How to prepare
1/ Prepare 2 frying pans, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and garlic over each frying pan.
2/ Add the peeled prawns and cherry tomatoes into one pan, cook over a medium heat until the prawns turn pink.
3/ In the meantime, add the heads of the prawns into another pan. Crush the heads slightly to squeeze out the juices. Cook for around 10 minutes with gentle heat, until fragrant.
4/ Cook the pasta in the boiling and slightly-salted water at a large pot ( according to the packet instruction)
5/ Pour the drained and cooked pasta into the pan with cooked peeled prawns, mix them well.
6/ Add the pistachio pesto, pour the oil from another pan, previously filtered ( that cooked with heads, which now is full of the flavour of prawns), mix them with pasta well. Add some salt and pepper if preferred.
Serve and Enjoy!
Both were extremely delicious !! I could't say which one I preferred more, the spicy flavour from lovely Calabria, or the match of sea scent with pistachio from Sicilia. But I could say, my friend is really an excellent chef!! And, at the end, I discovered what are their little secret of cooking :They are always emphasizing on the food freshness and safety, appreciating different flavours from different regions, keeping the great traditions with some little innovations. I was so satisfied after eating a lot of good foods, drinking the best wine, and talking everything. Kitchen Is one of the best place to meet friends and connect people. What is better than enjoying home cooking with the others?
Buon appetito !