What kind dinner does one cook the night after a success such as my pizza? Bunnies!

Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragu

4 rabbit shoulders
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 anchovy
1 medium onion, diced
2 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 dried peperoncino, crushed
about 9-13 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
about 1 cup Chianti
1 can whole tomatoes
about 1 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
Parmesano Reggiano

recipe and a couple more photos )
saansaturday: (further back and faster)
( Saturday, 1 October 2005 14:02)
I just typed this up for elsewhere and even though it's such a simple recipe that everyone should know, maybe some of you don't. So I'll repeat it here. :)

My favorite fast/easy dinner is Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

You'll need:
3 eggs
1/2 cup or more Parmesano Reggiano (or half Pecorino Romano and half Parmesano Reggiano)
about 125 grams of pancetta (or prosciutto), chopped in small cubes
500 grams spaghetti
about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
garlic (as much as you like), sliced very thin
about 1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile break the eggs into a bowl, add the cheese and whisk. I also go ahead and add my salt and pepper at this time but the first time you make it you should add them at the end so you can find out by tasting how much you like.

Salt the water, add the spaghetti, and cook until just under al dente.

Meanwhile heat a large frying pan over medium, add the olive oil, then add the pancetta and sauté until it's crispy, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the wine and let it reduce while the spaghetti continues cooking.

When the spaghetti is nearly done, drain it and add it to the pan with the pancetta and garlic with a bit of its cooking water. Stir until the spaghetti is cooked to your liking. Dump the contents into the bowl with the eggs, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste. Yum. :)

Braised Meatballs in Red Wine

The sauce for these meatballs is so simple and elegant. It is important to use the best ingredients--a good red wine you like to drink, a nice tomato paste (I use some fabulous organic tomato paste) and tasty beef broth or stock, preferably homemade. Resist any temptation you might have to add herbs or garlic to the sauce--you don't want to mess with this subtle simplicity. It makes for a nice contrast with the meatballs flavored with summer savory, parsley, parmesan, onion and pepper. :) I would also advise against adding garlic to this recipe--get your garlic kick with the spinach mashed potatoes....I'm telling you, this recipe as I made it last night is just too good to fuck with.

about 170 grams of a day-old baguette (depending on the size of the baguette, about 1/3 to 1/2 a loaf), crust left on, cut into slices
1 cup whole milk
1/2 kilo mixed ground beef and pork
2 eggs
about 1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesano reggiano
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp minced fresh summer savory

All purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Put the bread and milk in a bowl and push the bread down to submerge it. Let it stand for 10 minutes to absorb the milk. Then squeeze most of the milk out of the slices and place them in a large bowl. Discard the milk. To the soggy bread add the ground meat, eggs, parmesan, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and savory. Mix well with your hands. Form mixture into meatballs. Place the meatballs in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool enough to handle.

Dust meatballs with flour; shake off excess. Melt the butter and oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and sauté until brown on all sides. Return all the meatballs to skillet. Whisk wine and tomato paste together in a small bowl to blend. Add the wine mixture to meatballs and bring it to boil. Continue boiling, stirring frequently, until the wine thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add broth, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until flavors blend and the gravy thickens, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs and their sauce with the spinach mashed potatoes.

Spinach Mashed Potatoes

some potatoes
some milk
5 or so cloves garlic, crushed
some butter
salt and pepper to taste
some frozen spinach

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender. Meanwhile heat milk, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and butter over medium-low in a small saucepan. Keep this at a bare simmer. When the potatoes are nearly done toss the spinach into the saucepan and stir until heated through (or use a big saucepan and use fresh spinach). Drain and mash the potatoes, then mash in the spinach mixture. Serve alongside the meatballs in red wine.

a photo of the leftovers I had for lunch today--I was in too much of a rush to get out of the house to take a photo last night. )
saansaturday: (skirt)
( Saturday, 6 August 2005 22:51)
I made focaccia again today, continuing with my tradition of never using the same recipe twice. This time the focaccia had the mouthfeel of a chewy baguette...not exactly right...but it was good anyway. I used the deliciously-erotic Kalamata olives V obtained from Greece for me. :)

recipe and photos )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Wednesday, 2 March 2005 12:49)
I got fabulous help from [livejournal.com profile] misia yesterday and discovered that my sponge was indeed still good--it just needed a little waking up. After the difficulties with the sponge the rest of the process was simple, pretty much the same process as with any yeast bread. I've got a sage plant in my window that grows like a weed; I used most of its leaves in the bread yesterday and it already has grown at least half of them back today.

This focaccia is much closer to what I want than the previous one but still not quite there. The texture was right, the flavor magnificent, but I thought it wasn't oily enough. Also the bottom of the bread was too soft--I'm not sure why it ended up soft this time when it was crispy last time. Last night I topped large slices with thinly sliced zucchini and mushrooms and fresh buffalo mozzarella and put them under the broiler for a sort of focaccia white pizza. Yum!

not a great photo )
for the love of foodMmmm, 'twas a tasty weekend.

I started with a Turkish feast on Friday night--Imam Bayildi and Kabak Mücveri. Imam Bayildi ("the Imam fainted") is an almost simple combination of eggplant, tomatoes and olive oil that somehow manages to be a nearly unearthly delight. The eggplants are peeled in a striped pattern and halved lengthwise. After frying the eggplant halves in olive oil, they are stuffed with a simple oily tomato and onion sauce. A bit of water is added to the pan and they are braised in the oven. The dish is allowed to come to room temperature before the carnal indulgences begin. :)

Kabak Mücveri are zucchini fritters. Grated zucchini is drained of its liquid, then mixed into a batter with feta, eggs, flour and seasonings. The little zucchini pillows are fried in olive oil, of course. The insides are soft and light, the outsides just slightly crispy. Gods, I could eat thousands of them. They're good dipped in yogurt or mayo that's been seasoned with garlic. (Recipes for the Turkish feast can be provided upon request).

We had duck soup on Saturday. I found some yummy-looking duck pieces (legs and thighs) at the market and already had duck broth sitting in my freezer just waiting for such an occasion. The soup was simple--after browning the duck pieces and pouring off the fat for another use, I moved the duck to the edges of the pan and let my mirepoix sweat until the veggies were tender. I added lots of water and the duck stock (I only had about 2 or 3 cups of stock) along with some whole fresh herbs and brought everything to a boil. I turned it down to simmer for about an hour, then removed the herbs and duck pieces. I took the duck meat off the bones, added it back to the soup, adjusted the seasoning, then added my homemade wide egg noodles (pappardelle). I served the soup with the last slices of my Italian Bread.

On Sunday I made Truffle and Cracked Pepper Focaccia, using this recipe. The flavor is so divine with the truffle oil. I just have this thing about truffles, they give me such pleasure. It made a huge loaf, I mean huge. I'm going to think of some sandwichy way to eat it for lunch today, maybe with marinated cherry tomatoes, maybe avocado?

cheesyThen for dinner I made Itty Bitty Penne and Cheese. V was asking for Mac and Cheese, so I bought a big block of Irish Cheddar at the market. But Sunday night when I started cooking dinner I found that I didn't have any macaroni. But I did have these great mini penne. After a lot of experimentation, I finally found my favorite recipe for this dish...and it's revealed right here! )

I only took pictures Sunday night. Here's the photos of the Truffle and Cracked Pepper Focaccia and Itty Bitty Penne and Cheese )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Tuesday, 1 February 2005 12:27)
Italian BreadA couple of weeks ago I made Italian Bread for the first time. We ate two loaves in two days! Since I enjoyed it so much, I decided yesterday evening to make a couple more loaves. While the loaves were rising, I marinated some quartered cherry tomatoes in my best olive oil along with fresh basil and thyme and a healthy pinch of salt. After devouring a couple of fresh-baked slices, I cut more bread, rubbed the slices with garlic and brushed them with oil, then placed them under the broiler for bruschetta.

Mmmmm, I just ate a couple of pieces covered in mozzarella.

I'm still working on perfecting the recipe. Here's the work in progress, along with a couple of pictures. )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Monday, 31 January 2005 12:50)
Purpleberry Pie with Cardamom Whipped Cream:

3/4 cup raw sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup raspberries
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

recipe continued )

I made a Sienese dish called Uova Trippate, "tripe eggs," which are called so because they look like tripe. The eggs are made into omelets, which are then cut into strips that resemble wide noodles. The omelet noodles are then tossed in a simple tomato sauce.

recipe and photo )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Friday, 28 January 2005 16:37)
pici(Pici with a Sauce of Tomatoes, Sausage and Mushrooms)

This is my attempt to re-create a dish I had in Siena. Pici is a speciality of the region, best described as a very thick version of spaghetti. The thickness gives the pasta more bite than other pastas. As I recall, pici should be rolled by hand. I didn't make my own pici, though, but used some dried pici that I brought back with me from my last trip to Italy.

This is probably the 50th time V and I have declared "the best pasta dish I've ever made." Either we have short memories or I do keep cooking better food. :)

recipe and photo )
ravioliI knew ravioli wouldn't be easy to make but even so, they were more difficult than expected. I found it nearly impossible to get them all the same size and the sheets of pasta kept coming out of my pasta machine with extremely angled ends. In the end all was good--I managed to make about eight servings of ravioli in two hours. I froze half of them, so next time I want to eat homemade ravioli it'll be easy.

I filled them with a combination of ricotta, buffalo mozzarella and parmesan. The sauce was toasted walnuts, fresh sage fried in olive oil and butter and a bit of salt and pepper. I garnished with parmesan shavings and truffle oil.

recipe and photo )
saansaturday: (further back and faster)
( Thursday, 6 January 2005 13:44)
Another recipe that was requested on [livejournal.com profile] food_porn and since I took the time to type it, I'll post it here too.

Anatra all'Arancia (Roast Duck with Orange Sauce, Tuscan Style)

This recipe is based on a recipe from Tuscany: The Beautiful Cookbook by Lorenza de' Medici (a wonderful cookbook filled with gorgeous photos of both food and Tuscany--though it's a bit unwieldy for its size).

Duck with orange sauce is said to have originated in Siena and was taken to France by Caterina de' Medici's chefs.

2 oranges
1 big duck (about 2.5 pounds, as I recall)
Orange, lemon and onion, quartered, to stuff the duck
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp oregano or thyme (I can't remember which I used, but I'm pretty sure it had to be one of these)
1 cup dry white wine
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Remove the zest from the two oranges in long thin strips. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and set aside.

Rinse the duck inside and out, pat dry, season the cavity, then stuff the cavity with the orange, lemon and onion (it probably won't all fit) and truss with kitchen string. Prick it all over with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is best) over medium heat, add the olive oil, and after it has warmed add the duck. Cook, turning, until golden on all sides (I even held the duck up with tongs on both ends to get the skin crispy there). Move the duck to a roasting pan. Save the fat in the skillet for another use (to roast potatoes in, or perhaps to cook a salad of wilted greens).

Roast the duck until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. I don't recall exactly how long my duck took to roast, since I made it about two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and caramelize the sugar by stirring over medium heat until the sugar deepens to a rich brown color. Don't let it burn. Remove from the heat and add the orange zest, crushed dried herb and orange juice. Set aside.

Let the roast duck rest, covered loosely with foil, for about 15 minutes before cutting into serving pieces. Keep these warm on a serving platter while you finish the sauce.

Skim the fat off the roasting juices and reheat them over medium heat. Add the wine to deglaze, scraping the the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the orange sauce and cook until reduced and thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the hot sauce over the duck pieces and serve.

It may have been the best duck I've ever had. :)
saansaturday: (eating my veggies)
( Wednesday, 7 July 2004 23:55)
Insalata Caprese )


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