Ricotta and spinach gnocchi

An alternative for the classic gnocchi made with potatoes. You can give this as a starter or a main dish. This recipe is for 4 persons. It seems difficult, bu trust me it is veeeeery easy

What you need:

For the Gnocchi

  • 400g fresh spinach
  • 150g flour
  • 400g ricotta (fumicato would be better, but the regular will also do fine)
  • 35g parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 40g potato flour
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg

For the sauce

  • 1 tin of peeled tomatoes
  • Handful basil leafs
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • White wine (drizzle)
  • ¼ chick stock cube
  • Teaspoon sugar (or 1 carrot if you don’t want to use sugar)
  • Sage ( 1little branch)
  • Salt & pepper

Get started:

  • Remove the leafstalk from the spinach

  • Put a big pot of water to the boil with a teaspoon salt
  • Throw the spinach leafs in the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes
  • Drain and immediately refresh with cold water. Let the water drip out of the spinach  and cool down(press the spinach sometimes to remove water)
  • When spinach is cooled down chop up the spinach (you can also do this with the food processor)
  • Put the chopped up spinach in a bowl and add the ricotta, parmesan, regular and potato flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix all and start knead it like a dough for bread until the mix is soft

  • Let the dough wrest while you make the tomato sauce
  • Put a pot (doesn’t have to be a huge pot as you only use 1 tin of tomatoes) on the heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and a peeled glove of garlic
  • Once you see that the garlic starts to sizzle, you add the tin of tomatoes, drizzle of wine, fill the tin of tomatoes until the middle with water and add to tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, stock cube and the basil.
  • Let cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes
  • Mix the tomato sauce and drain through a sieve (into another small pot)
  • Put the pot with tomato sauce on very low heat and add a branch of sage in the pot (which you’ll remove right before serving). This doesn’t have to cook, it is just to add a bit of sage taste!

Now we continue with the gnocchi

  • Cut the dough in 4 horizontal pieces
  • Put some flour on your worktop and take one of the dough pieces
  • Make a long sausage from the dough (or if you would have one of those old fashion machines to make croquettes  to make the sausages from the dough)

Manuel way

With the machine

  • Cut the sausages in small pieces from 2 max 3 cm

  • Put all the cut ‘Gnocchi’ on a tray
  • Once the water starts boiling you throw the Gnocchi in the water one by one

  • Once the gnocchi start floating you leave them 1 minute and drain them

To serve them you have 2 options

  • You either put some tomato sauce on a plate  and put some gnocchi on top
  • Or you put the gnocchi back in the pot and mix tomato sauce under them  and then serve on a plate

Enjoy!

Fancy Lasagna

Lasagna is without any doubt my favorite dish! The best are the ones my Zia Livia makes with fresh asparagus or just with sugo di carne (just the thought of it makes want to eat them).But mine are also good :-).  I want to share a fancy lasagna recipe also known as ‘Vincisgrassi alla marchigiana’. A typical recipe from the’ Le Marche’ region. Why fancy, well because there are truffles in this lasagna (not the chocolate truffles).  For the sauce I would just buy truffle puree and if you feel like it buy 1 fresh truffle to scrape on top of the lasagna when serving it. (Buy the black one, this is cheaper than the white)

This is a very easy to make recipe with few ingredients and cheap (the truffle puree will only cost around 5EUR). Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy it

Ingredients:

For the Crespelle:

  • 60 g flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 150ml milk
  • 30ml Vinocotto you can buy this in Italian deli shop (alternative balsamic syrup)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (pepper)

Sauce/filling:

  • 1,2l milk
  • 150g lean minced beef
  • 250g ham (try to buy good artisan ham)
  • 90g butter
  • 60g flour
  • 50 truffle puree
  • 1 truffle (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Other:

  •  Parmesan cheese 60g – 100g

Get Started:

For the ‘crespelle’ or vincisgrassi’

  • Put all the ingredients (except the Olive Oil) for the ‘crespelle’ in a bowl and give it a good stir until you get a nice fluid batter. (best first flour and milk – add eggs one by one)

  • Bake the pancakes like you would bake normal pancakes (using the olive oil to grease your pan)

For the sauce/stuffing:

  • Cute the ham in cubes and bake it together with the minced beef in the butter (yes, all the butter) for about 10 minutes.

  • Add the flour (basically you are creating the Roux effect, once you add the milk you’ll be making béchamel) and let the meat become crispy ‘isch ( keep stirring)
  • Add the milk and let is simmer on medium heat for at least 30 min  (you will see that the sauce starts to get thicker )

  • Add the cream (as if it wasn’t rich enough on calories) and let it cook for 3 – 5 more minutes
  • Add the Truffle puree and give a last good stir
  • Grease your oven tray and start making your lasagna. Layer 1 are the pancakes, followed by the sauce (if wanted with some parmesan)

  • Finish by spreading the parmesan over the top layer

  • Put in a preheated oven  of 180°c (356°F)  for 20 min + 2 min to brown under grill

  • Let it cool and reheat a minute before serving it  (Personally I prefer my lasagna to be tepid)

  • If you want to make your lasagna even fancier, once you have given everybody a piece of lasagna, scrape some fresh truffles over it…. I’m sure everybody will like eat

Gnocchetti Frasca

This recipe is actually a piece of nostalgia! Gnocchetti frasca was  one of the most requested pasta’s at my dad’s restaurant. It is simple to make, with few ingredients and very quickly made. Ideal for an evening, after a busy day. I know the spicy salami might scare you, but it won’t be too spicy at all 🙂

In case you wouldn’t find gnocchetti sardi, you can always use other dried gnocchi (not the gnocchi di patate!!!)

  • 10 slices of spicy salami (like Chorizo, or Salame piccante calabrese, …)
  • A cup of peas
  •  1 portion of saffron (you know, one of those little plastic thingies)
  • 150g of mushrooms
  •  2 tomatoes
  •  Salt & pepper
  •  ½ cube of chicken stock (, but veggie stock of beef stock)
  • Cup of cream
  • 40cl white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Gnocchetti sardi (but you could also use regular dried Gnocchi (NOT the same as gnocchi di patate!)

  • Slice the mushrooms, cut the tomatoes and salami in cubes
  • Put some olive oil in a pan and start heating your pan. Put all the vegetables and salami in the pan and let it simmer for a few minutes until most water from the tomatoes is gone

  • Add the white wine to deglaze

  • Add the cream, ½ chicken stock , salt, pepper and the saffron

  • Let it cook on lower heat for 10-15 minutes until your  sauce is thickened a bit and yellow

  • Cook your pasta ‘al dente’ and add the cooked pasta to you sauce
  • Mix it and let leave it on the low heat for a few minutes (2-3)

Only 2 things left to do and that is serve it and enjoy some good food 🙂

Grey Shrimp Risotto

I’m a grey shrimp lover! Guilty as charged…  So let me share one of my own recipes. Please when making this recipe or any other recipe with grey shrimps, BUY THEM FRESH and unpeeled… I know the peeling takes some time, but first of all they are cheaper unpeeled, but most importantly the taste is much much better!!   Don’t add any Parmesan cheese!! (this is not done with fish risotto’s or pasta’s)

What you need to get started: (for 2-3 people and even 4 people if you are tiny eaters)

  • 1 Shallot (finely chopped)
  • 500g grey shrimps
  • 2 cups of risotto rice, I prefer Carnaroli , but Arorio or Vialone Nano will also work(regular coffee cups)
  • Pepper
  • White wine
  • 1l fish stock (made from the shell of the shrimps)
  • Butter (farm butter, NO Margarine)
  • Olive oil

Get Started:

  • We first start with peeling the shrimps (you can look at one of my previous blog posts to see how you have to peel them) DO NOT throw away the shell, we’ll be making fish/ shrimps stock with them

  • Making the fish/ shrimp stock is very easy, you heat a pot with a little lump of butter  and braise the shells for a few minutes. Add a bit of wine and fill the pot with water until all shells are under water. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes (if you want , you can add a fish stock cube or other fish if you have some, to give extra flavor, but not to many otherwise the stock will become too salty). Sieve it and your stock is ready to use.

  •  Now we have our whole basis ready, so we can start with the actual risotto.
  • Heat  a pot with some olive oil and the shallot in it. Let it braise until you see the shallot starts to become a bit glassy

  • Add the 2 cups of rice (don’t worry, 2 cups is more than enough, as the rice swells a lot)

  • Keep stirring (that rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of pot)
  • Add a half glass (or whole glass , depending how big your glasses are) of white wine . and stir it.

  • Now put the heat on medium, when you see the rice almost absorbed all the wine , you can add 2 soup spoons and stir the rice
  • From now you keep adding stock whenever you see the rice absorbed almost all the stock  (1 or 2 spoons at a time) until your stock is finished. This will take about 25-35 minutes. It is important to keep stirring  (not the whole time, but just every 2-3 minutes) to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot

  • At the end you add a few lumps or good old farm butter (no Light products please) and stir .
  • Right at the end you can season with Pepper ( NO salt, as your stock is already salty. If somebody might want it saltier, they can add it afterwards). And add some shrimps (keep some for decorating your plate) and give a last good stir.

The finished result will look as follows

Buon appetito!

A sunny recipe with asparagus and grey shrimps

On such a sunny day, I really have to share a sunny recipe with you guys. Something simple and yummy 🙂

A recipe that fits these requirements is one of the recipes from Lisa Calcus (restaurant Les Gribaumonts), who won the 2012 BRU lady chef award.

You can already taste spring in the plate, she combines  asparagus , grey shrimps, Parma ham and emulsion of peas with tarragon.

 

What do you need to get started? (for ca.4 pers.)

  • 400g gray shrimps  (FYI, buy them unpeeled, this way you save money and you can use the peels to make  shrimp stock to use in sauces or a shrimp risotto)
  • 20 asparagus (white and/or green)
  • 8 thin slices of Parma ham (make sure it gets cut thin!!!)
  • Fresh tarragon (1 or 2 branches)
  • 150 g peas
  • 50 cl cream
  • 15cl vegetable stock (fresh made or bought)
  • 1 tomato (peeled, for decoration)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Siphon (tool)

Getting Started

  • Blanche the peas together with the tarragon (chopped tarragon) and let it cool down
  • Boil the cream together with the vegetable stock (until it gets thickened, no toooo liquid )
  • Add the peas and tarragon to the cream and mix it (keep a few peas for decoration) + add salt and pepper
  • Sieve the pea creamy mix and put in a siphon
  • Peel the asparagus (keep the peels) and boil them in salted water. To get a maximum flavor you also add the peels when cooking the asparagus. When The asparagus are ready (us top of a knife to check) , you can use the stock to make risotto or tastemaker for another dish…
  • Put the asparagus on a plate. Decorate your plate with some of the tomatoes (best is to slice them or cut in little cubes)
  • Add some peeled shrimps and the Parma ham
  • Finish the plate with the emulsion of peas

Only one thing left to do, or maybe 2, eating and enjoying 🙂

Spaghetti alla norma

Today I want to share again a very simple recipe and can be made in just 15 minutes

Ingredients: for 4 people (if you only take one portion)

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped garlic glove
  • Tablespoon of flour
  • Drizzle of wine (white or red)
  •  Olive oil
  •  Salt
  •  Pepper
  • Basil (handful)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Get Started:

  •  Cut the eggplant in small cubes. If you have time (20min), you can put the cubes in a drainer with some salt on them, to drain the water in the eggplant. If you have no time just proceed with step 2 🙂
  • Put some olive oil in a pan.  Once the oil is hot you put in eggplant cubes and top them with a tablespoon of flour. Bake it until you see some of the cubes are a little bit colored
  • Put them on plate. Again put some olive oil in pan, fry the onion and garlic for a second and thrown in the eggplant again
  • Season with salt, pepper and chopped basil
  • Add the tomatoes, a drizzle of wine (if you want you can also add a very little bit of chicken or vegetable stock, but not mandatory)
  •  Let it cook on low heat for 10 minutes while you cook you spaghetti

Serve and you’ll see that the simple things are always best 🙂

Friday fishday recipe

For a lot of people in Belgium , Friday is a day you eat fish … So as promised, I share a fish  bordelaise recipe with a twist 🙂 and is easy to make and only in 30minutes… and served with a Leek puree…

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pieces of white fish (pangasius(it doesn’t always have to be expensive fish), cod fish, cat fish, etc…)
  • Olive oil

For the topping:

  • 1 tin of tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard (you can also add 2, if you like is more spicy)
  • Handful of Basil leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Breadcrumbs  (chapelure)

Side dish:

  • 2 leeks
  • 6 medium/big potatoes
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Butter
  • milk
  • Olive oil (optional, you can also bake the leek in butter)

Let’s get it on :

We first start with the fish:

–          Put the tomato puree in a little mixing bowl, add the mustard, chopped basil, salt, pepper (and if you would want some paprika powder . mix all

–          Take a baking tray and put some olive oil in it. Turn your fish in this olive oil and season with some salt & pepper.

–          Put a table spoon  of the tomatomix on each piece of fish and spread

–          Put some breadcrumbs (chapelure) on top  and a drizzle of olive oil

–          Put in a preheated oven at 185°C (365°F)for about 15minutes

As you all know I really like leek, so a leek puree would be nice to serve with it.

–          Peel your potatoes and boil in salted water

–          Wash and cut the leek

–          Put a drizzle of olive oil in a pan (but also be done with butter) and ‘stew’ (bake) them on low heat for 10-15 minutes.

–          When potatoes are done, drain them and add to leek

–          Mash all together, add a few pieces of butter (about 30gr), salt, pepper, nutmeg and a drizzle of milk

Now all is ready to serve 🙂

I served this with a nice white Sauvignon-blanc from Les Salices