venerdì 26 novembre 2010

focaccine veneziane - perfect for tea time on a rainy day like today!

Dear guests, weather today in Venice doesn't inspire long walks and outdoor tours, rain cold and acqua alta make us only wish to stay comortably at home, so why don't prepare some traditional Venetian cakes, ideal for breakfast and tea time? There are hundreds of versions, but this is a lighter and quicker one.

250g 00 wheat flour
50g whole wheat flour
50 g durum wheat semolina
50 g melted butter
1 egg
160 cc warm milk
half a cube of yeast
1 teaspoon salt
80 g brown sugar + a pinch to decorate

Melt the yeast in warm milk, add sugar, salt and melted butter (not too warm in order not to "kill" the yeast), then start adding the 3 flours with a fork first and then by hand until you obtain a soft dough which you can easily work with your hands without it gets too sticky. Work the dough, make a ball and let it raise in a warm place, covered with a cloth, for about 1h. When the dough has doubled its volume, work it again and divide it in 6 smaller balls, let them raise again for another half an hour, then brush their surface with milk or egg yolk and spread with brown sugar. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes at 200°C. Buona merenda!

giovedì 25 novembre 2010

The first recipe: pasta con la zucca (pasta with pumpkin)!

I would like to share as a first recipe a delicious and easy-to-make pasta dish, perfect in this season as nearly each stall @Rialto Market offers bags of peeled and chopped pumpkin, here it goes:

for 4
1 bag of chopped pumpkin,
1 garlic clove;
20gr butter and 1 tbsp olive oil;
a few ladles of broth;
parmesan or pecorino cheese.
I calculate about 80gr pasta per person

Melt the butter and oil in a pan and add the garlic clove, without making it burn; then add the pumpkin (for a faster cooking, you may chop it in finer pieces than the ones you find in the bag) and let it fry for a few minutes. Lower the fire and cover the pumpkin with a couple of ladles of broth, add salt according to taste. Cover with a lid and let it cook until the pumpkin melts if you press it with a fork; add broth during cooking if you see it gets too dry.
Meanwhile, boil water for pasta (approx. 1 lt per 100g, if water isn't enough pasta will stick all together...) and add salt when boiling. Cook pasta (al dente please!:-)) according to instructions. When it's ready, drain the pasta but keep a glass of its cooking water. Pour pasta in the pan with the pumpkin, stir and add grated parmesan cheese. If the sauce is too dry, add and stir some pasta cooking water.
If you like, you can also add some grated nutmeg.

Buon appetito!
Et pour nos amis francophones:
pour 4 personnes
1 sachet de potiron en morceaux (en vente au marché de Rialto!)
1 gousse d'ail
20 g de beurre et 2 cuillères d'huile d'olive
quelques louches de bouillon
pour les pâtes, je calcule 80g par personne
parmesan ou pecorino rapé

Faites fondre le beurre et l'huile dans une poêle, faites y dorer le gousse d'ail sans le brûler; rajouter le potiron (pour une cuisson plus rapide, vous pourrez couper les morceaux plus petits) et faites dorer. Baissez le feu, rajoutez le bouillon et couvrez avec un couvercle. Rajoutez du bouillon de temps en temps si vous voyez que ça devient trop sec; le potiron doit cuire jusqu'à quand il fond sous la fourchette. Rajoutez du sel selon vos goût. Entretemps, faites bouillir l'eau pour les pâtes (normalement, 1l pour 100g), salez et cuisez les pâtes selons les instructions. Egouttez-les (al dente!) mais conservez un verre de l'eau de cuisson; versez les pâtes dans la poêle et remuez; si l'ensemble vous semble trop sec, rajoutez de l'eau de cuisson des pâtes. Terminez avec du parmesan ou pecorino rapé et, si vous voulez, de la noix de muscade (rapée aussi).
Buon appetito!