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Zesty Italian Wedding Soup

22 Apr

Zesty Italian wedding soup

Soup with this much meat and cheese has to be delicious.


Ingredients

  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 300 grams of chopped cooked sausage or meatballs
  • 125 grams orzo – or other small pasta
  • a handful of fresh (or frozen) spinach, chopped
  •  1 carrot – grated
  • The zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Parmesan

Step 1: Add the 6 cups of vegetable broth to a large pot and simmer over medium heat.

Step 2: Add all of the ingredients (except the parmesan) and cook until the pasta is tender.

Step 3: Serve sprinkled with a good amount of fresh parmesan.

ENJOY!

Zesty Italian wedding soup

Every time you buy a jar of pasta sauce, an Italian grandmother dies a little inside.

27 Jan

Alright people, enough with the shenanigans. No more store-bought pasta sauce.

Home made pasta sauce is actually incredibly easy. It does take a bit of time, but if you make a big enough batch, you can always freeze it for the future. Future sauce!

Here’s how to make your own Italian inspired, mouth-watering sauce:

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 2 cans of peeled plum tomatoes (2x 16 oz/450 ml)
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (2x 16 oz/450 ml)
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • **I also add a bunch of Italian seasonings, whatever I have in the cupboard. Usually:
    • 1 tsp Thyme
    • 1 tsp Oregano
    • 1 tbsp Parsley
    • 1 tbsp Basil

Step 1: Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 cup of finely chopped onions. Cook until onions are tender and translucent (about 8 minutes).

Step 2: Add all of the remaining ingredients, stirring them until combined. 

Step 3: Simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Serve warm over your favourite pasta

ENJOY!


TIPS:

You don’t have to follow the recipe exactly, but don’t forget to add the sugar. It helps bring out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.

Season your sauce 3 times: once at the beginning, middle, and end.

Apple Crostata – Don’t worry, Italians have dessert covered too.

15 Jan

 

Apple crostataI was looking over the blog today when I came to a really disturbing realization…

…I haven’t posted any dessert recipes!

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, but in my world, it’s absolute blasphemy. So I whipped together my favourite apple dessert and devoured it, but not before taking some pictures to show you guys what dessert NEEDS to be in your life. It’s easy, it’s delicious and you probably have all the ingredients you need to make it in your cupboards right now.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1  1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Filling

  • 3 McIntosh apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Topping

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping – for home made caramel sauce, click here

Step 1: In a large bowl, mix 1 1/4 cup flour, 3 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. Cut in 1/2 cup of cold butter until the mixture is crumbly

Step 2: In a separate small bowl, mix 3 tbsp cold water and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and combine until it is the consistency of dough. 

Step 3: Roll the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk shape – about 1 inch thick. Cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until the filling has been completed. 

Step 4: Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium bowl and toss the apples until completely coated.

Step 5: Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, until it’s 12 inches wide (30 cm). Transfer to a large ungreased baking sheet and pile the apples in the middle so there is a couple of inches of exposed dough around the edge. Fold over the edges of dough and crimp slightly. 

Step 6: Combine the topping ingredients (minus the caramel) in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until it’s brown around the edges. Serve warm and drizzle with caramel sauce. BAM!

Apple crostataApple crostataENJOY! 

Homemade gnocchi! (apparently not pronounced guh-notch-chee)

16 Nov

Alright. So here’s the thing. I had NO idea what guhnotchee was until this year. Definitely proof that I need to culture myself just a wee bit more. Either way, I found out it’s delicious with wine.. but I guess in my books, everything is delicious with wine. I digress, this potato based pasta is definitely going to impress. Especially if you pronounce it right (correctly pronounced nuh-yock-key).

Shaped Gnocchi

Yum tastic

This gnocchi was prepared with fried sausage, chopped tomato, garlic, oil, pesto and fresh basil. BAM!

 

This recipe is quite a few more steps than usual. But suck it up. It’s worth it.

Ingredients

  • 4 Large Unpeeled Potatoes – Russet or mashing potato2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Butter for frying
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Step 1: Put potatoes in a pot so they are just covered with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes. Do NOT overcook the potatoes and do NOT cut potatoes before boiling. That is a gnocchi no-no. If water gets into the potatoes, your gnocchi will be lumpy and sad.

Step 2: Once the potatoes have cooled, peel the skins off and mash em’ up. Add in the eggs and oil. Once mashed, fluff them slightly with a fork to get them nice and airy.

Step 3: In a large ish bowl, mix the 2 cups of flour and the tsp of salt and pepper.

Step 4: Sprinkle the flour mixture into your potatoes until it forms a dough. Add more flour if it’s too sticky.

Step 5: Knead dough on a floured surface until it’s mixed well. Try to avoid over mixing it, 2-3 minutes usually does the trick.

Step 6: Wrap your dough in plastic and let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Feel free to use this time to have a nice glass of wine. Or two. Just try not to down the whole thing, there are still a few steps left.

Step 7: Break off small sections of the dough and roll out into a 1/2 inch thick log. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

Step 8 – Optional: The fun part. Shape your gnocchi using whatever you can find. As you can see from the last picture, the broken side of my cutting board worked just fine! But Using a fork works too. Click here for a short video on how to roll gnocchi.

Step 9: Bring a large pot of water to a nice simmer – rapid boiling will cause the gnocchi to fall apart. Drop the gnocchi in and simmer until they float to the top. I usually let mine cook for an additional 30 seconds after they float.

Step 10:  Heat a large frying pan and add butter. Fry the gnocchi until golden brown. Add a few spoonfuls of pesto while in the pan. Serve to a dish and throw some parmesan on top and BAM! You just made some bad ass gnocchi.

ENJOY!

TIPS:

Seriously, don’t overcook the potatoes

If you have a potato ricer, use that on the potatoes instead. I do NOT have one. Because I’m not entirely sure where to buy one.

You don’t have to shape your gnocchi. It’s going to taste the same either way.

You may not need all the flour. Just add flour until dough is no longer sticky.

Gnocchi and pasta sauce are delish too.

Freeze your gnocchi on a floured baking sheet after cutting. Transfer to airtight containers or bags. Save until you have someone to impress.

Homemade Pasta – not just for Italian grandmothers anymore

16 Nov

It’s True! Making homemade pasta is SUPER easy. Who knew, right?

I used to always buy that “fresh” pasta you could get at the supermarkets . But for $5 a bag? Please. What a rip off. I made an entire freezer full of pasta for about the same price, and without bragging too much, mine was a wee bit better.

Here is how you can make your own pasta. It’s a little time consuming, but trust me, it’s totally worth it for the bragging you’ll get to do later!


Ingredients
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Water

Step 1:  In a bowl, mix together 1/4 tsp salt and 1 cup of flour. Make a well in the flour and add the egg and 1 tsp olive oil. Mix together! (If needed, mix in the 2 tbsp of water).

Step 2: On a floured surface knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Put in a bowl and cover with a tea towel, let rest for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Since I don’t own a pasta machine.. and I don’t know a lot of people that do, just roll out the dough by hand with a rolling pin. This part is going to take some muscles – but at least you will be getting some exercise before filling your face with delicious pasta!

Step 4: Cut pasta into desired thickness with a knife. Check out my tips on cutting pasta.

Step 5: Put into a large pot of boiling salted water. Once pasta floats to the top, wait another minute. Make sure to test your pasta before draining – I find that it acts a bit differently than dried pasta and needs more time to boil!

Next Up? Homemade pasta sauce!


ENJOY!


TIPS:

Double the recipe and after cutting, freeze it!

Get a little crazy and add some pesto or other flavouring right into the pasta! Just add a bit more flour to compensate for the extra liquid.

Easy Peasy PIZZA – from scratch

7 Nov

The best pizza creation yet!If I knew how easy it was to make home made pizza, I can guarantee that I would have never gotten delivery.

Seriously. Never order pizza again!

Here’s how to make an extraordinary pizza of your own:


Ingredients
Dough – Thick Crust
  • 2 1/4 Tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 Tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cup warm water
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 1/3 Cup Flour
Toppings – A few different combinations that I think are rad
Pizza #1:
  • 1/2 Cup Pesto
  • Buffalo mozzarella – One should be enough – Regular Mozzarella works too, it’s all cheese, right?
  • Serrano ham OR Prosciutto
  • A few chopped up mushrooms
Pizza #2:
  • 1/2 Cup Marinara Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese – Buffalo or Regular
  • Chorizo – or other spicy sausage – Pepperoni is pretty delish too
  • A few finely chopped Mushrooms


Step 1: Dissolve 2 1/4 tsp yeast and 1/2 tsp brown sugar into 1 1/2 cups of warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Stir in 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp olive oil. Then slowly mix in 3 1/3 cup of flour.

Step 3: Knead on a very floured surface for about 6 minutes until the dough is well mixed and springy! Add more four if it’s too sticky – no biggie. Don’t worry about adding extra flour, it’s pretty hard to mess up pizza dough.

Step 4: Once mixed well, form into a ball and place into a large well oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let sit for about 30 minutes to rise.

Step 5: Roll out your dough into your desired shape – I’m pretty sure most people go with hexagon, I could be wrong though. Add pizza toppings and cook on a floured cooking sheet in a 425 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

ENJOY!


TIPS:

Leave the dough sit for a few hours – this will result in a dough that’s a little more relaxed and easier to work

You can use a pizza stone if you want, but let’s be honest. How many people have a pizza stone kickin’ around? Putting it on a floured pan will work just fine

Simple is definitely better with pizza toppings. Sprinkling a few cheeses and a bit of pepper on works just fine.

Have corn meal? Toss a bit of it on the crust. Or don’t. I’m not going to tell you what to do.

Link

Chicken Piccata – The recipe that changed everything

7 Nov

I used to abhor cooking anything. One day while flicking through channels, TLC’s Kitchen Boss caught my attention. Having seen Cake Boss several times before (and enjoying it), I thought I would give Chef Buddy a chance. He was making this amazing breaded chicken dish that I was absolutely drooling over. I literally went to the store right away and bought everything (even capers – which I had never heard of before) and couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Here is the recipe guaranteed to make you drool:

Cooking Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts – Salted (pounded to half thickness – If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, just use a rolling pin and cup. Click here for more tips and tricks
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup white wine (optional – use more chicken broth if you’re not a lush like me and don’t constantly have wine in the fridge)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice – Preferably fresh (use more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 bottle of Capers – I finally found out what a caper is – click here!
  • Throw a bit of parsley in there too if you have some around

Step 1: Mix flour and parmesan in a bowl. Dip thinned chicken into mixture.

Step 2: Heat large pan and add 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until crispy and cooked through. Remove from pan.

Step 3: Keep pan warm and add all the ingredients for the sauce ( 1/3 cup white wine, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 2 tbsp lemon juice, capers, and a wee bit of parsley)

Step 4: Mix everything well until boiling – make sure to scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pan into the sauce!). ** If you want thicker sauce, mix together a tbsp of cornstarch and 2 tbsp of warm water and slowly add to the mix – I prefer it this way)

Step 5: Plate chicken and pour warm sauce to cover chicken. Throw some extra parsley on top and put food into face.

Step 6: Brag about how good of a cook you are – I can’t stress enough how important this step is.

ENJOY!

TIPS:

Add some chopped up mushrooms to this masterpiece.

Serve over rice, or with a side of vegetables.

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