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Review: Italian Cooking Event

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  • 23 March 2017
What a fantastic cooking experience we had on Wednesday 22 March. Twenty-five UEN members came together to prepare an Italian feast. Federica Tritschler has provided the eleven recipes ranging from bruschette to pasta with rucola pesto to Tiramisu.
After the groups had been formed and spread over the five kitchens, the teams started working on their dishes. One group prepared Bruschette with tomato, olives and oregano and shared it as appetizer while everyone was still cooking. With all the different nationalities present it was funny to see the different cooking techniques applied… the polpette (little balls of bread, egg and cheese) where fried in oil and Ruiqi, our Chinese chef, used improvised chopsticks (two skewers) to turn them.
We managed to have the rest of the dishes ready at about the same time, so we layed out a buffett and everybody served himself. Animated chatting and Italian wine accompanied the dinner. Everybody left a little space for the delicious Tiramisu and Nutella tart. The best compliment came from Federica, everything tasted absolutely Italian and authentic. Not even the pasta was overcooked…. aparently this was her greatest worry. With a full belly and good spirit the evening ended with the requests for a lot more cooking events 🙂
Please see the photos in the gallery.
Dishes:
  • Bruschette with tomato, oregano and olives
  • Caprese salad
  • Polpette di uova (Polpette with eggs)
  • Carpaccio di verdure (grilled aubergines, eggplants, tomatoes paprika)
  • Risotto con gorgonzola, radicchio rosso e noci (risotto with gorgonzola cheese, red radicchio and walnuts)
  • Insalata di barbabietola rossa, mela e feta (Red beetroot salad with apples,  carrots, and feta cheese)
  • Pollo ai peperoni (Chicken with paprika all’Italiana
  • Pasta al pesto di rucola (Pasta with rocket pesto)
  • Pasta con ragu’ di Bolognese (Pasta with REAL Bolognese sauce)
  • Tiramisu’
  • Torta alla ricotta & nutella (Ricotta cheese & nutella cake)

 

Bruschette with tomato, oregano and olives

Preparation 10min

Cooking 10min

Ingredients:

  • Cherry tomatoes around 40
  • Basil 32 leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black olives around 48
  • Garlic 4 cloves
  • Baguettes 4
  • Oregano

Preparation

Start with the dressing.

Wash the cherry tomatoes, dry and chop them into small pieces. Put them into a bowl together with the fluid lost. Chop the olives into little pieces and add them to the tomatoes.  Chop the basil leaves and keep them aside. Now add olive oil to the bowl with tomatoes and olives, oregano and a pinch of salt. Mix everything and set it aside until the bread is ready. You will season the bread slices with the dressing sauce.

Pre-heat the oven 200 degrees for 10 min. In the meanwhile, slice the baguettes into 2cm slices (width).  Put them on the baking tray and let them grill in the oven until they turn golden (10 minutes -it depends on the oven-). Remove the bread slices and season them with the dressing sauce.

 

Caprese salad

Preparation: 5 min

Ingredients:

  • Mozzarella cheese 1kg
  • Salad tomatoes 8
  • Basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil 8 spoons

Preparation:

Wash the tomatoes, dry and slice them. Slice the mozzarella in regular shapes. Chop the basilicum. Now decorate the plates alternating one slice of mozzarella and one of tomato. Add the chopped basil.

Season the caprese salad with oil.

 

Polpette di uova (Polpette with eggs)

Preparation: 25 min

Ingredients:

  • 600 g of stale bread crumbs
  • 2 spoons chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 10 eggs
  • Milk and water 500ml
  • Sunflower oil
  • 400 g Pecorino cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation:

Break the bread in small pieces. Prepare a bowl with half milk and half water to deep the bread.

Dip the stale bread in the milk and bread and in the meantime, mix the eggs with the cheese.

Squeeze the bread and add it to the mixture, then add the parsley, minced garlic and a pinch of salt. The dough should be creamy (not very liquid).

Form small “egg balls”, not too big with a spoon. In a heated pan put sufficient amount of oil to cover the “egg balls” in whole while frying.

When it is hot (not excessively hot), fry the “egg balls” until they have reached a golden coloring and uniform turning them often.

As you place them on a baking pan lined with paper towels.

 

Carpaccio di verdure (grilled aubergines, eggplants, tomatoes paprika)

Preparation 15 min
Cooking around 20 min
Cooling 15min

Ingredients:

  • Eggplants 900g
  • Zucchini 600g
  • Paprika 1700g
  • Mint 16 leaves
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil 150g
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice 60 ml
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Salad tomatoes 4

Grilled vegetables preparation:
Wash the vegetables under running cold water and dry them. Cut the zucchini and eggplants into the 4-5 mm thick layers;
Take the paprika, remove the top, cut them in half, then with a knife remove the pith and the seeds that are inside. Slice them and set aside.
Remove the stems of tomatoes and slice them. Once you cut all the vegetables, put on the fire to heat a grill.
When the grid is very hot, cook few vegetables at a time: the peppers distributed next to one another, making them grilling for about 5 minutes and turning them with a kitchen caliper for uniform cooking, then put on fire zucchini for about 5 minutes and continue with the eggplants for about 5 minutes. Remember to turn over the vegetables for uniform cooking.
Now you can grill with the tomatoes, and cook them for 4 minutes until they are well grilled.

Lay the eggplants and the zucchini on a plate and let them cool down.
Dressing for eggplants and zucchini:
For the marinade: pour in a bowl the oil, lemon juice, add the crushed garlic, salt, pepper and finally flavor it with mint leaves and the basil. Mix it. The marinade is ready. Take 1/2 baking dishes. Now pour a bit of marinade on the bottom of the baking dish, then lay down a layer of grilled vegetables (taking care that they are always in contact with the marinade so they may absorb the aromatic seasoning), pour some other marinade; make layers of vegetables and marinade.
Cover the baking dishes with a plastic wrap and set it aside. When the vegetables are cold, store them in the refrigerator for 30 min. Serve cold vegetables carpaccio as an appetizer or side dish.

 

Risotto con gorgonzola, radicchio rosso e noci(risotto with gorgonzola cheese, red radicchio and walnuts)

Preparation 20 min
Cooking around 40 min

Ingredients:

  • Rice for risotto 600g
  • Grana cheese 150g
  • Butter 60g
  • Gorgonzola cheese 300g
  • Radicchio 3
  • Walnuts 30
  • Red onions 3
  • Salt & pepper
  • White wine 300 ml
  • Vegetable stock 3l (4 bouillon cubes)

Preparation:
Mince the walnuts into small pieces and keep them apart. Wash and chop the radicchio. Keep a few chopped radicchio apart to garnish the risotto.
Chop the onion and sauté with some butter in a steel pot.
Add the rice, toast a few minutes. Now add the chopped radicchio. After about two minutes, add salt and blend on high heat with the white wine. Once the alcohol is nuanced, add the vegetables stock to cover the rice.
Cook the rice, put more vegetables stock when the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Try the rice to see whether it is cooked.
A few minutes from the end of the cooking time indicated on the packaging of the risotto, add the Gorgonzola, and half of the chopped nuts. Grate the Grana cheese.
When the cheese has melted and the risotto is ready, remove it from the heat, stir the risotto with grated Grana cheese and a knob of butter until it gets creamy.
Garnish the risotto with remaining nuts and radicchio.

 

Insalata di barbabietola rossa, mela e feta (Red beetroot salad with apples,  carrots, and feta cheese)

Preparation
Cooking 1h (with fresh beetroots)/ 15 min with pre-packaged beetroots
Cooling 30min (with fresh beetroots)

Ingredients:

  • Beetroots 6
  • Green apples 5
  • Garlic 6 cloves
  • Mint 10 leaves
  • Feta cheese 300g
  • Salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, black vinegar

Salad preparation:

(With fresh beetroots) Cut the green part and wash the beetroots under running water. Now cut each beetroot in four parts. (You can use the green leaf to make an omelet).

Let the beetroot cook in boiling water with some salt.

Put a fork in the middle of the beetroot, if it fits easily, the beetroot is ready to be seasoned. Now drip the beetroots, peel them, cut them into small blocks.

Peel the apples and slice them. Put the beetroots and the apples together in a bowl. Cut the feta cheese into small cubes and add them to the salad.

Season the salad with crushed garlic and chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Cover it with a plastic film and keep it apart for at least 30 minutes to let it get tasty.

 

Pollo ai peperoni (Chicken with paprika all’Italiana)

Preparation: 20 min

Cooking 40 min

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast 1200g
  • Red paprika 2
  • Yellow paprika 2
  • Shallot 2
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • White wine (1 glass)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Tomato sauce 200g
  • Cherry tomatoes 200g
  • Black pepper
  • Black olives (1 jar)
  • Salt
  • Vegetable stock (1 glass) (ask your neighbors)
  • Rosemary

Preparation:

Wash and clean the paprika, remove the seeds and the white filaments within them. Cut them into stripes. Chop the shallot finely and mince the garlic. Cut the cherry tomatoes in 2. Cover a pan with a layer of oil and heat it. In the meanwhile, cut the chicken breast into stripes of 2-3 cm of width. Once the oil is hot, sauté the chicken pieces. Salt and pepper it. Let it golden and then, add white wine. Increase the flame to let the wine evaporate.

Now add the shallot, garlic, tomatoes sauce and cherry tomatoes, olives, rosemary. Cover the pan. Let it cook for around 40 minutes with low flame. Try with a fork a piece of chicken to see if it is tasty and ready.

Pasta al pesto di rucola (Pasta with rocket pesto)

Preparation

Pasta around 7 minutes

Pesto 5 minutes

Ingredients for the pesto:

  • Rocket 200g
  • Parmiggiano cheese 100g
  • Pecorino cheese 100 g
  • Extra virgin olive oil 300g
  • Salt 10 g (for the pesto)
  • Walnuts 100g
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Cherry tomatoes 300g

Ingredients for pasta:

  • Pasta 500g (spaghetti o penne)
  • Water 5 l
  • Salt 50g

Preparation:

To prepare rocket pesto, rinse the rocket and dry it. Put it in the mixer bowl.  Keep some rocket leaves aside to season the pasta. Crumble the walnuts (you may want to put them in a cloth and press them). Peel and mince the garlic cloves.

Put the crumbled nuts in the mixer bowl, parmiggiano cheese and pecorino cheese, garlic and salt.

Add just half of the oil and start to blend the mix on low speed. Add little by little the remaining oil and mix until the pesto has a creamy texture. If needed, increase the speed.

When the pesto is ready, you can keep it aside until the pasta is ready.

Cut the cherry tomatoes into two parts. Cover the bottom of a big pan with oil (you will put the pasta in the pan when it is cooked to mix it with the oil and the tomatoes), warm it up and after one or two minutes let the cherry tomatoes stir fry for 5 minutes at moderate flame. Switch off the flame and leave the stirred tomatoes in it.

Boil the water for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add the salt. Then add the pasta and let it cook for the needed amount of time (see on the package).  Now and then, stir the pasta while cooking to avoid it sticks together. When the pasta is ready drip the water and put cold water on the pasta in order to block the cooking process. Add the pesto and mix it with the pasta. Now, switch on the flame where the pan with the tomatoes is, let it warm up again and pour the pasta with the pesto. Stir-fry it for couple of minutes. The pasta with pesto is ready. You may want to garnish it with some remaining leaves of rucola.

 

Pasta con ragu’ di Bolognese (Pasta with REAL Bolognese sauce)

Preparation 15min

Cooking around 2h

Ingredients for ragu’:

  • Pork minced meat 400g
  • Beef minced meat 400g
  • Celery 2 stems
  • Onion 2
  • Carrots 2 medium
  • Passata di Pomodori (tomato sauce) 2 (1000g)
  • White wine 1/2 glass
  • Vegetable stock 1l (1 bouillon cube)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg

Ingredients for pasta:

  • Pasta 1000g (fresh pasta) tagliatelle
  • Water 5 l
  • Salt 50g

Preparation:

You need to start from the vegetables preparation.

Rinse all the vegetables. Peel the carrots, remove both the ends with a knife; remove the skin from the onion and chop it. Chop the celery in small cubes. To make it easier, divide the costs of the celery in half. Cut into many strips and chop them into cubes. For the carrots, cut the carrots into thin slices lengthwise. Chop them. In the meanwhile, let the water boil for the vegetable stock. When the water is boiling, add the bouillon cubes. Keep it warm for the ragu’ (on low flame).

Fill the bottom of the pan with oil and heat it. When the oil is hot, put all the chopped vegetables and stir-fry them for about 7-8 minutes (until they become golden). Now add the minced meat and let it brown for around 10 minutes, stirring constantly (so that the pieces of meat are broken). The browning meat loses its fluids in the meanwhile. When it gets dry, add the white wine, and increase the flame to let the alcohol evaporate. Now add salt, nutmeg and pepper. Try the meat to see if it is tasty enough or it needs more salt or spices (healthier option than salt).

Add the tomato sauce and slowly half of vegetable stock. Keep the rest of the vegetable stock aside. It can be needed later on, if you feel you need to dilute the sauce more. Cover it and let it cook at moderate flame, stirring occasionally. When you notice that the water has dried up to expose the meat again, add more vegetable stock. The more the Bolognese ragu’ cooks, tastier it becomes. So, let it cook as much as possible, for at least one hour. Now and then, check the taste to see if it needs to be spiced up (salt/pepper/nutmeg).

For the pasta:

Boil the water for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add the salt. Then add the pasta and let it cook for the needed amount of time (see on the package).  Now and then, stir the pasta while cooking to avoid it sticks together. When the pasta is ready drip the water and put cold water on the pasta in order to block the cooking process.

 

Tiramisu’

Preparation: 40 min

Ingredients:

  • Savoiardi 400 g
  • Mascarpone 500g
  • Whipped cream 200g
  • Sugar 100g
  • Eggs (cold), 6
  • Coffee moka, 2 big (with one spoon of sugar)
  • Cocoa powder

Preparation:

To prepare the tiramisu’ the eggs need to be cold. Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff (beat in only one circular direction only) and keep aside. If you overturn the bowl with the beaten egg white the mass is compact (doesn’t move), you made it well.

Mix the egg yolk with the sugar until you get a light yellow and fluffy cream. Add in order and a little at time: the egg white, then the mascarpone whipped cream. Stir gently with a wooden spatula from top downwards.

Keep it aside.

Mix the coffee with a bit of milk in order to increase the liquid volume. Then dip each savoiardi biscuit in the coffee from both sides for 1-2 seconds. They don’t have to be completely wet of coffee as they will absorb it slowly.

Spread in a baking dish (30*20cm) one layer of savoiardi biscuits and one layer of the creamy dough. On the top of the last dough, sprinkle the cream with cocoa powder and keep the tiramisu in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours. You can keep refrigerated and defrost it 2-3h before consumption.

Torta alla ricotta & nutella (Ricotta cheese & nutella cake)

Preparation around 10 min

Cooking around 35min

Ingredients:

  • White flour 200g
  • Ricotta cheese 200 g
  • Sugar 200 g
  • Butter 100g
  • Eggs 3
  • Vanillina 2 bags
  • Baking powder 1 bag
  • Nutella (1glass jar)

Preparation:

Put the eggs and the sugar in a bowl. Mix with the electric whisk. Add the ricotta cheese, previously crushed with a fork. Mix for 2-3 minutes. Pour the flour and the vanillina with a small colander in the bowl, in order to avoid flour clumps. In the meanwhile, warm up some water (2 cm) in a small pot, put the butter in a glass jar and dip it into the warm water (bagno maria technique) until the butter melts.

Add the liquid butter to the dough while mixing with the electric whisk. Mix the dough for 2 minutes and add the baking powder with a small colander. Keep mixing for 2 min more.

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree for 10 min.

Take a baking dish of 24cm of diameter and butter it. The butter should be everywhere in the baking dish. Now add some flour. You need to rotate the dish in order to let the flour cover the butter. In this way, the dough will not stick when baking.

Now pour the dough in the baking dish. Keep some dough apart.

Use bagno marie technique with nutella as well. This way nutella becomes easier to spread. Pour some spoons of nutella on the dough. You can decorate it with circles (spoons) of nutella. Pour the remaining dough on top of the nutella spots.

Bake the dough for about 30-40 minutes, checking if it is cooked with a toothpick.

 

 

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