Italian


A whole new year has begun. That means twelve more months of the Secret Recipe Club. It’s a cooking group where each month we are assigned a Secret Blog. We cook from it and then post what we cooked. It’s all secret until reveal day. Thus the name – SECRET Recipe Club. Every month we get to meet different bloggers. Expand our horizons. Make new friends. This month I added bunches of pins all because I met up with Manuela of Manu’s Menu. So many things I want to make. It’s always hard to choose from so many good things. I stuck with three. All of them a version of something I would have to cook for us to eat.

So we’ll start with Bread.

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    Whole Wheat Bread

If you need a sweetish nutty sandwich bread, this is the one.

    Ingredients: (makes two 23×12.5 cm – 9×5 inch loaves)
    235 ml – 1 cup warm water
    10 gms – 2 tsp active dry yeast
    235 ml – 1 cup milk
    90 ml – ¼ cup honey
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    350 gms – 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
    350 gms – 2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
    1 tbsp salt

Put the warm water in a glass and dissolve the yeast into it. Set it aside for a few minutes to activate.
In the meantime, put the milk, honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Add the water and yeast, two cups of all-purpose flour and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Stir to form a rough dough. Let this dough stand for 20 minutes so that the flour can absorb the liquid.

Now, knead the dough for 8-9 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, add extra flour little by little. The dough is ready when “it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, forms a ball without sagging, and springs back when poked”.

Form the dough into a ball, spray it with some olive oil and put it into a bowl. Cover it with cling wrap and put it in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume (this will take at least 1 hour).
Then, divide the dough in two and shape each half into a ball. Let them rest for 10 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans. Shape each ball of dough into a loaf. To do so, gently flatten the balls into rectangles. Now fold the bottom third of the dough over itself (like a letter) and then fold the top of the dough down to overlap the other layers and pinch it closed with your fingers (on all sides). Roll the loaf over so that the seam is down, then fold the 2 sides and tuck them underneath. Now gently put the loaf into the pan. The seams should be on the bottom with the tight surface facing up Let the loaves rise for another 30 minutes. Slash the top with a serrated knife so that it rises evenly in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 220°C – 425°F. Put the loaves in and turn down the heat to 190°C – 375°F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until dark golden-brown. They will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let them cool completely before slicing.

This was such good bread. So much flavor. Mine didn’t rise as much as I expected. ot But that’s alright.

And we needed supper one night so I used another of Manuela’s recipes.

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    Penne with Sausage Sauce

We love any kind of of pasta add some sausage to it and it is a perfect meal. As was this dish of Manuela’s I used 1/2 Venison Sausage and 1/2 pork sausage.

    300 gms of Italian style sausage with fennel seeds (you should be able to get this at your local deli)
    2 tins (800 gms) of diced tomatoes
    3 medium carrots
    1 medium onion
    2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
    1 standard shot of Brandy/Cognac {I left this out}
    100 ml of cream
    1 cup of water
    Salt & pepper to taste (depending on the sausage you may need more or less salt)
    400 gms of penne rigate pasta
    Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano – very finely grated, to serve

Clean and finely chop the onion and carrots and cook them with the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on a medium fire until they are soft.
Remove the sausage from the skin and chop it coarsely.Then add it to the onion and carrots and mash it with a wooden spoon.
When the sausage has browned, add the diced tomatoes, 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and pepper.Cover and cook on low fire for approximately 1 hour (when the sauce thickens it is ready).
Add the Brandy/Cognac and cook uncovered on a high flame for 2 minutes. Then lower the flame, add the cream, bring it back to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Check for salt.

In the meantime, cook the penne pasta “al dente” . Serve with the sausage sauce and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the top.

Definitely this is a repeat. But maybe next time I will remember to ADD THE CREAM!! I completely left it out. After we finished I found the container of cream STILL SITTING ON THE COUNTER. It was good without the cream. I can imagine how nice and thick and smooth it would be WITH the cream.

We had a cold snap (as did just about everybody else) and ran out of my Chai mix for making tea. Lucky for me Manuela had a recipe for Chai on her blog.

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    10 gms – 2 tsp pepper powder
    10 gms – 2 tsp ginger powder
    7 gms – 1.5 tsp cardamom powder
    7 gms – 1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
    0.5 gm – ¼ tsp clove powder
    0.5 gm – ¼ tsp nutmeg powder

Put all the ingredients in a small container with a lid and stir until well combined. Keep in a well closed jar.

Of course this is just the mix for the tea. To make the tea you can use her Method to make it.

I liked all of the proportions of her spices except for the pepper. I doubled everything except for the pepper. Much more to my taste.

These are only three of the many, many delicious recipes on Manu’s Menu. I only pinned about 30 of her dishes. Enough to keep us eating for a long time. You have to visit with Manuela. You have to try her recipes. You have to see for yourself.

Please visit the other SRC Group C members and see what blogs they cooked from.


Sauteed onion. Little strips of yellow and green bell peppers. Chopped fresh tomatoes.

    Colorful Ingredients.

That is part of what you will find in this pasta from Guiliano Hazan.

    Fusilli with Green and Yellow Peppers

Simple. Good.

Additionally garlic, red pepper flakes, and fresh oregano are all you need to finish off this simple quick pasta.

Kayte might have made the same dish, it sounded so tasty when she mentioned it…..

ANd if you want to make it, turn to page 74 in Hazan’s 30 Minute Pastas.

And so we return to Italy for My Kitchen My World . But instead of JUST Italy, we could choose a region of Italy to cook from. I have been wanting to make a Bolognese Sauce for some time. Perfect timing.

    The first recipe for a meat sauce characterized as being Bolognese came from Pellegrino Artusi and was included in his cookbook published in 1891. Artusi’s recipe, Maccheroni alla bolognese, is believed to have originated from the middle 19th century when he spent considerable time in Bologna.

Bologna is in Northern Italy (specifically Emilia Romagna) so I guess that is my region!

Bolognese Sauce

    2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 pound lean ground beef
    1 onion, chopped
    4 garlic doves, minced
    1 1/2 tsp fresh basil
    1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano
    1/4 cup shredded carrots
    2 (14.5-ounce) cans petite diced toma oes
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    1/4 cup white wine
    1 cup milk (not all at once)
    1/2 teaspoon salt

In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add the beef and cook, breaking into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and any liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Stir in onion, garlic, oregano, and basil. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add carrots. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add milk. Stir in salt.

Gnocchi

    1 1/2 lbs Washington Russet potatoes
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 egg yolks

Scrub potatoes with vegetable brush under cold running water. Prick potatoes with fork in several places. Microwave potatoes until done. {I used 6 potatoes and microwaved for 6 minutes.} Cool 10 minutes. Peel potatoes and while still warm shred potatoes on a box grater over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread potatoes out ‘and cool completely.
When potatoes are cooled, in a large bowl combine potatoes, flour and salt and toss well to coat potatoes with flour. Add egg yolks and stir with fingers or a fork until evenly moistened. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to form a dough. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each piece with your palms on a work surface to form a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut each rope into 1 /2-inch pieces.

Hold the tines of a fork at a 45-degree angle to the table with the concave part facing up. Dip the tip of your thumb in flour. Take one piece of dough and with the tip of your thumb, press the dough lightly against the tines of the fork as you roll it downward toward the tips of the tines. As the dough wraps around the tip of your thumb, it will form into a dumpling with a deep indentation on one side and a ridged surface on the other.
Repeat with remaining pieces.

What is even more fun is to use a Gnocchi Board

Over high heat, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. In batches, add gnocchi to the pot and cook until gnocchi rise to the surface. Carefully
remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to serving bowls. Serve with Bolognese Sauce . Garnish with freshly shredded Parmesan Cheese.

B really liked this so now this is now my basic go-to sauce.

The gnocchi recipe appeared originally on Washington State Potato Commission Page but it is no longer there.

I like a nice light pasta. Especially in the summer. Heavy sauces just will not do when it is hot outside. Like today. So this was just the right pasta. I had been holding off on this one for a while because I wanted to use really fresh tomatoes. Fresh from our garden. And basil. It is so exciting to snip my own leaves from the plant on the back porch to include in summer dishes. Exciting!

Spaghettini al Pomodoro e Basilico

As is usual these days I made only 1/2 of the total recipe. Simple ingredients: fresh tomatoes, garlic, pepper flakes, basil, and Olive Oil. Simple. Perfect. Delicious.

Look on page 62 of Hazan’s 30 Minute Pasta for the recipe.

And check out Kayte’s page to see if she made pasta.

Simple. Delicious. Easy. All of these are the hallmarks of most of Hazan’s pastas in his Thirty Minute Pasta. And for those reasons it is exceptionally easy to quickly (DOH! 30 Minutes) have pasta any time you want.

      Spaghetti with Olives, Capers, and Anchovies

All the ingredients are listed in the title. All good! All simple!

I used 5 ounces of pasta {recipe calls for 16} and made 1/2 of the sauce. It was so very tasty. But….I would make the full amount of sauce next time.

The recipe is on page 121 of Hazan’s book.

Do not hand me a raw tomato and expect me to eat it. Yes, I know, I am weird, but there is just something about the texture of a raw tomato that I just cannot handle.

But believe it or not I am anxious to be abee to pick the first tomato off one of your plants. Why? Hand me a plate with fried green tomatoes or cooked tomatoes however and I am all over it. It’s just the raw thing…. blech!!

This week’s pasta dish HAS a fresh tomato, but cooked, not raw. And Basil {and it is so much fun to step out my back door and cut my own!}. And red and yellow sweet peppers. My favorite things every one!

    Penne with Peppers, Fresh Tomato, and Basil.

Only one difference between his dish and mine – I didn’t peel the peppers. Mine were young and small and the skin was very tender. If you don’t have those you really will need to peel them as they can give the dish a bitter taste.

If you have sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes, and basil you really should make this one. Really!!

You can find the complete recipe on page 63 of Hazan’s 30 Minute Pastas but I also found it on the Hazans’web page.

Have you ever had a cookbook where every recipe was a winner? I haven’t. Until now. Thanks to Kayte I have Hazan’s 30 Minute Pastas and I have yet to make one of his pastas that wasn’t good. Including this one

    Fusilli alla Salsiccia e Zucchine

Good stuff, Y’all, good stuff. A mixture of onions, sausage, zucchini, and tomatoes tossed with fusilli was just right for dinner.

I only made one change. Hazan calls for fresh tomatoes but I didn’t have any so I used some fresh canned peeled tomatoes from the garden. Just as good.

You can find the recipe on page 150 of Hazan’s Pasta book.

And please excuse the photos. Gets dark early these days.

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