Tag Archives: Pasta

Rich seafood linguine with saffron sauce recipe

There many ways to prepare a delicious pasta with seafood and other fishy ingredients. You can use mussels and clams or crab meat and shrimp or salmon and other fish meat. The important thing is to combine the ingredients in the best way possible, adding a little sauce to enrich the dish and a nice, personal touch to make it special.

The last weekend I was craving (as usual) for some nice pasta. I had at home some canned crab meat, some caviar (the cheap one you can easily find in supermarkets) and surimi and decided to combine all of them in a rich seafood linguine with saffron sauce with the addition of some already-cleaned shrimps.

The preparation is very easy and takes a little longer than the time to cook the linguine. Just put some olive oil in a hot pan with some garlic and parsley (either fresh or dry). Add the shrimps and let them cook on a medium-high heat. The shrimps are done when they completely change color.

Once the shrimps are cooked, add the crab meat and the surimi you have previously sliced. You do not need to cook them since they are usually pre-cooked and just need to warm them up. During this process you should add some spoons of white whine, that will enhance the dish flavors.

At this point you should have your pasta already boiling and you should add some spoons of the boiling water to the seafood mixture, together with some saffron powder and nutmeg. Stir the seafood well and add some butter or cream to make it creamer.

Do not fry the cream or the butter. You just need to keep them warm to welcome the linguine once ready. You may add some chilly or black pepper if you like and a handful of parmesan (I like cheese on top of seafood but it is up to you).

Once the linguine are ready, dry them and put them in the pan. Mix well and plate them hot. On top of each dish, add a spoon of the cheap caviar you have found in the supermarket and serve to your guests.

Seafood Linguine

The rich seafood linguine with a delicate saffron sauce are a superbly delicious dish

Pasta Carbonara Personal Recipe

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with 4 cheese with love!

Every time I post a photo or I discuss about the perfect “pasta alla carbonara” recipe with friends, it ends up in a fight and a general scorn. Should I use the whole egg or just the yolk? Should I put pepper or nutmeg? Should I use sliced “pancetta” (bacon) or the cubes one? And many more.

Once a chef friend told me that the carbonara should be creamy, hence I should use only the yolk with a little cream avoiding to cook the mixture in the pan and adding an handful of parmigiano on top. I don’t like to waste the egg white and therefore I usually use the entire egg. I do not have a fix recipe since I adapt it in relation to the food I have available in the fridge.

What is sure is that we are going to use eggsbacon (preferably smoked) and parmesan cheese. Remember that you shall not use onions in the carbonara pasta.

Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Pancetta (bacon) has to slowly fry in its fat. Do not add any oil or butter for an unaltered bacon taste.

Yesterday I was craving for a deliciously creamy ‘spaghetti alla carbonara’ and opted for one of my favourite invented recipes. I used sliced bacon, not smoked but natural, spaghetti, parmesan cheese, kashkaval, brie cheese and another soft cheese I had in the fridge.

I chopped the 100g ‘pancetta’ I have found in Waitrose supermarket and warmed it up in a pan without oil or butter until crispy.

From time to time I added little water from the pot where the pasta was cooking. It helps extracting and distributing the bacon flavour in the pan. You can sprinkle it with little wine if you prefer, like a dry white wine for instance.

Pasta Carbonara Personal Recipe

My Spaghetti alla Carbonara with four cheese are a bit heavy, not really Italian but super good.

While the bacon is frying and the pasta is cooking, you should put in a cup one egg every 150g of pasta, some olive oil, salt, a pinch of pepper or nutmeg, grated parmesan and cubes of easy-to-melt-cheeses. You shall mix everything together even  though you won’t obtain a perfect mix. Once the spaghetti are cooked, you shall dry them and toss them in the pan with the bacon. Toss with the heat on medium. This operation will help the pasta to absorb the bacon fragrance. After you have tossed the pasta few times, add the eggs mix and toss again until the cheese is melted and the pasta evenly covered by the right proportion of eggs, cheese and bacon. Mmmm . . .yummy.

Recipe Corner: Spaghetti with Caviar and Lemon Aroma

I am very lucky since my partner got a nice present from an Ukrainian friend: a jar of excellent caviar, not the beluga one, very expensive and superb in taste but though a very good one. I was thinking: what shall I do with this excellent caviar? I discarded the appetizer option since it was a shame to waste such a good ingredient with toasted bread and spreadable cheese. At last I had a brilliant idea: let’s make some spaghetti with caviar and lemon aroma.

I tried to make them also with regular, cheap looks-like caviar, and the result was good.

The recipe is super easy and it takes slightly less than the time required to cook the spaghetti.

Just take a pan, big enough to contain the amount of spaghetti you want to cook. Put some butter in the pan and melt it at a very very low heat. I prefer to use salty butter, but also the unsalted one is alright. Remember that the butter should not fry. If you want to make the lemon sauce lighter, you can add some olive oil and reduce the quantity of butter used.

For the quantities, it really depends on your taste. I used something light 20 grams of butter for 300g of spaghetti, but I have added 3 table spoons of olive oil in the mix.

Once all the butter is melted, add some lemon zest. Not too much otherwise your dish will be too citric. Mix it with the butter sauce and let the lemon release its juices in the pan. Do not fry the lemon. You can add a pinch of nutmeg and salt (if the butter is unsalted) to make it even tastier.

If you want to have the sauce a bit creamer, you might add some grated parmesan (I prefer Grana Padano) and let it melt in the sauce.

Once the spaghetti are cooked, mixed them with the sauce and then add one or two spoon of caviar and mix well.

The pleasant lemon aroma is simply and perfectly conjugating with the caviar delicateness.

Spaghetti with Caviar and Lemon Aroma

An easy recipe, delicate for sophisticated tastes.

Recipe Corner: Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino (Garlic Olive Oil and Chilly)

You might believe it or not, but in Italy we have a quite common tradition to have a midnight Spaghettata (Spaghetti festival) with friends during summer time, to celebrate a successful event organized or simply after a party. Since it is late in the night and there is not much time to prepare a complicated condiment, the most commonly prepared dish is Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino (Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilly).

This dish is super easy to prepare and gives you a blast of taste and energy. The presence of chilly, moreover, makes this plate suitable to fight against flue and other similar infections.

We can make it in 10 minutes, just the time to cook the spaghetti. Just put extra virgin olive oil in a pan and heat it. Once it is hot put in the pan some garlic cloves and let them brown. I usually use 2 cloves per person but you are free to follow your taste buds.

Once the cloves are golden color, remove them from the oil and add the chilly, preferably the fresh small red chilly peppers from southern Italy that you have sliced in advance. If you do not have fresh chilly peppers, you can use the dry flakes or powder. Just remember that the powder will burn quickly and its flavor will be stronger in the oil.

Pay attention to two things: wash thoughtfully your hands after having cut the peppers and keep the heat on low/medium to avoid the chilly, rich in water, to violently react in the oil. You shall just let the peppers release their flavor in the oil. No need to cook or burn them. How much chilly to add? It is entirely upon you and your taste as well as the choice to leave the peppers inside the oil (as I do) or remove them (this option is not possible if you use the powder).

If you we have planned the cooking session at the perfection, at this time we should have the spaghetti cooked and ready to be drained. Once you have done so, put them in the pan with the oil and let them “fry” a bit with moderate to high heat, continuously tossing them.

At my place, we add at the “frying” spaghetti an handful of bread crumbs that will make your pasta even crunchier.

Serve hot with a handful of grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Speghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio are the easiest one to be prepared by also the tastiest. I have used chilly flakes this time.

Recipe Corner: Spaghetti with shrimps and zucchini

A easy recipe to prepare a tasty pasta with very little effort. I usually prepare it with prawns or shrimps and sometimes with salmon.

Ingredients for 2 people

1 Zucchino Trombetta (aka Tromboncino squash), some surimi or crab meat, 50/80g of frozen shrimps (or better the fresh ones if available) and 160g of  spaghetti, extra virgin olive oil, salted butter, garlic, parsley, a pinch of salt, nutmeg, chilli, two spoons of milk and white wine.

Directions

Wash the zucchini and cut them in small cubes and slice the surimi while the frozen shrimps are boiling. Heat some olive oil in a pan with garlic and parsley and add the zucchini with a little water and a pinch of salt. Let them cook slowly, sprinkling a bit of white wine from time to time. Once the zucchini are cooked (they should be soft at the touch), add the boiled shrimps and brown them together. Add a pinch of salt, nutmeg and chilli and toss from time to time adding some wine when they seem to be to dry. After few minutes (let’s say around 5), add the surimi, two spoons of milk (it helps in creating a creamy sauce without the use of cream), some salted butter and a handful of Grana Padano to render creamy the seasoning.

You can adjust the quantities of the various ingredients at your taste. You can add some cream or ricotta cheese if you want the pasta more yummy, instead of the milk. It will be a bit heavier but tastier.

Spaghetti with prawns and zucchini by (C) ANDREADETTO

Rich and tasty spaghetti with zucchini and shrimps

Dry the cooked spaghetti and mix them with the seasoning in the hot pan. Serve hot with a nice glass of white wine.

Restaurant Review: Caffé di Casa – Gold and Diamond Park – Dubai

I was at the gold and Diamond park to buy a present for my partner and had to kill one hour while the owner of the shop was polishing, changing size and packaging my present. I decided to go to Caffé di Casa and have some nibble and a coffee since it is one of the few restaurants open during the Holy month of Ramadan.

In entering the place I wasn’t welcomed at all. Waiters were too busy in playing with their phones. I asked for a menu and they indicated to me a fridge from where I could have picked whatever I wanted. There were many options like salads, sandwiches and pastries and eventually I opted for a fresh salmon and avocado salad.

With my great surprise, it was a pasta salad with sliced green apple and spring onions !!!!!

Caffé di Casa Lunch Salad

Caffé di Casa Lunch Salad – Weird Combination of Food

The ingredients were all of good quality if taken separately, but I was suppose to mix all together and enjoy the salad pasta. I had a moment of dizziness. I wanted to ask who the chef was and show him some essential rules to observe if managing an “Italian restaurant”.

However, I had the salmon with the avocado first, the plain pasta with spring onions as main and the sliced apples as dessert. A good compromise.

I don’t think I will ever go back in that place.

Is Quinoa really the super-food everyone talks about?

I guess we are all exposed to the dominant philosophy of the so  called Super Foods. They apparently have some miraculous nutrient that is indispensable for our body and health.   One of these super-foods is Quinoa, the gold of Inca, super-protein-source, the food of the future and so on. In the past months, something more than a year I would say, Quinoa was an obsession.

No home party was fashion enough if a Quinoa salad wasn’t displayed. My partner was always looking for a Quinoa option in each and every restaurant we went to. I was often finger-pointed as a Neanderthal or a food-uneducated person because I was not a big fan of the gold of Inca. It’s not that I did not like it, it is good indeed, but I don’t like the super-food concept.

Quinoa Nutrition Facts

Quinoa Nutrition Facts – Not that super.

Since my partner liked it, I sometimes bought a pack of quinoa and prepared some salads for dinner. One day I was contemplating the quinoa bag and noted that the Nutrition Facts are not that “super” as many supporters think.

The super-protein seed has 14g of Protein per 100g of product, 7g of Fibres and 6g of ‘relatively good’ Fat. Super. Nevertheless, Quinoa has 69g of Carbohydrates!

As such is not really indicated for those who want to pursue a low-carb diet and should be eaten with moderation especially before bed time. With the minerals and vitamins content, Quinoa is definitely an healthy option among many others but I would not label it as “miracle seed” or “super-food”.

Whole-Wheat Pasta Divella Nutrition Facts

Whole-wheat pasta Nutrition facts.

Being Italian, I have a very deep addiction to pasta. I personally love the taste of pasta itself and as such most of the time I have it with very light and gentle seasoning. In the past years the pasta producers come up with a healthier option: whole-wheat pasta that add the benefits of higher levels of fibres, the old fashioned taste of pasta that I really like. I was quite surprised in noticing that the Nutrition Facts of my Divella whole-wheat pasta are actually quite similar to the “super food” quinoa.

My pasta indeed has: 12g of Protein per 100g of product, 6g of Fibres and 2.2g of ‘relatively good’ Fat and only 65.5g of Carbohydrates! Moreover, it approximately contains the same levels of minerals and vitamins Quinoa has.

There are available many other healthy options that are sometimes neglected and could instead be used sometimes to enrich our diet. We have for instance kamut and spelt.

Kamut is an ancient wheat specie that is still cultivated in some region of the world such as USA, Canada and Middle East. It is more resistant to dry period than the durum wheat and as such it is ideal to be cultivated in arid regions. Kamut nutrition facts are in average: 15g of Protein per 100g of product, 11g of Fibres and 2g of ‘relatively good’ Fat and only 60g of Carbohydrates! Moreover, It contains the same amount of minerals and vitamins as Quinoa. More details on kamut.com website.

Spelt (like farro, emmer and einkorn) is another ancient wheat species that represented an important staple food in Central Europe during and after the bronze age. Presently it survives as relict crop in some part of Spain, Italy and Central Europe. However lately the organic food industry is showing a crescent interest towards this cereal that require very little attention and a very limited amount of fertilizer and chemical products to grow.

100 g of Spelt averagely contain: 14.5g of Protein per 100g of product, 10.7g of Fibres and 2.4g of ‘relatively good’ Fat and only 60g of Carbohydrates! Moreover, It approximately contains the same amount of minerals and vitamins as quinoa.

The list of cereals and pseudo cereals available on the market could be much longer, but I think it is sufficient to have mentioned two-three options that are equal to or more nourishing than quinoa to make a clear point: quinoa is definitely a good and healthy food especially if we consider that it is gluten-free and as such it is a good option for those affected by celiac disease.

It is worth of mention the fact that the excessive attention towards quinoa is creating serious problems to the local farmers as reported by Steve Holt on takepart.com. In his brilliant article about the consequences of the increased demand of Quinoa seeds currently cultivated in poor areas of Bolivia and Peru, he states: “Western consumers have a choice on their hands: Scale back on consumption, hoping it decreases the global demand, or learn to live with the realities of how their quinoa obsession affects the health and land in two of South America’s poorest nations“.

Joanna Blythman, who described on The Guardian in January 2013 the dramatic problems caused by the increasing demand of this pseudo-cereal not only to the poor farmers but also to environmental ecosystem, stated: “The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture“.

In conclusion, we have many healthy and nutritious options available and that we can use to vary our diet and increase our daily intake of proteins and fibres and lowering the carbs. Let’s mix them without preconceptions to have a balanced diet and to ease the consequences caused by the increase in the prices of this crop to the poor farmers.