Cook n Bake Italian Series: Spaghetti al nero di seppia

Cook n Bake Italian Series: Spaghetti al nero di seppia

Lately two main topics have been dominating my socially engaging conversations: how people spend the Summer months in Italy and the importance of recycling, in the sense of avoiding wasting. Apparently, there is nothing that connects the two, however the dish that I am going to present this week surprisingly links them together.

Spaghetti al nero di seppia (squid ink spaghetti) immediately catches one’s eyes because of the unconventional black glow that comes from the squid black ink used to savor the spaghetti. If you can go past the fact that they are black, you will find yourself adventuring into a culinary experience that you will never forget. With the first bite you will savor that special, concentrated yet very refined seafood taste, which immediately will transport your mind to that magical atmosphere of the Mediterranean coast. If you have been traveling in Italy during the Summer months, you might have noticed that Italians escape from the cities to migrate towards the coast, towards the sea. It’s during those much awaited couple of weeks that the magic happens: people regenerate, fall in love, and relax while sipping on a fresh drink and stocking up on seafood. Spaghetti al nero di seppia is not just a dish, it’s a memory of the fun times spent at the seaside, under the sun, on a golden sand, caressed by a gentle Summer breeze.

Now, dear Reader, you are probably still wondering where the recycling part is in the dish. It’s hidden in the history of the condiment itself. Squids were a common food back in the day in this wonderful, landscape-breathtaking Italian isle called Sicily, however using the black ink to dress spaghetti or linguine was of humble origins. At the time, in fact, people were so poor that they avoided wasting any part of a food source, so the sicilian “massaie” (women that spent lots of time taking care of the house duties, something in between housewives and housekeepers) started experimenting the ink as a condiment.

I love this recipe because it reminds me of my Summers in Italy, and the “sapore di mare” (sea taste) brings me back to the happiness of those Summer nights.

Spaghetti al nero di seppia can either be made with black spaghetti, which means you add the black ink to the homemade pasta so that the spaghetti are actually black, or with regular spaghetti dressed with a black ink sauce. To make it easy for those who don’t like or don’t have time to cook from scratch but would love to indulge in this delicious recipe, I am using the black ink sauce recipe version.

Ingredients:

12 oz (350 gr) spaghetti

17.5 oz (500 gr) squids

salt

red pepper if desired

4 tablespoon of Extravirgin Olive Oil

1 glass of dry white wine

1 garlic clove

1 small shallot

2 tablespoon minced parsley

1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste

0.40 oz (10 gr) di nero di seppia

Mince the shallot and the garlic and sizzle them in a pan with some olive oil. Take the squids, remove the heads, eyes and interiors but keep the ink sacks on the side. Cut the squids in small pieces and add them to the pan with the shallot.
Add the wine and stir the sauce for a few minutes, then you can add, if you like, the tomato paste, salt, red pepper, and the black ink. Turn the gas on low and stir every now and then.
Cook the spaghetti in a separate pan, and when they are ready (if you like you can cook them al dente, tender crisp) drain them and add them to the pan with the squids until they become black.
Spread the minced parsley on top, add a little lemon slice to decorate (and the lemon juice is amazingly complementary to seafood) and serve with a big smile on your face.

ENJOY! ~

image taken from http://www.italianfoodnet.com/ita/ricette/spaghetti-al-nero-di-seppia

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Happy Hour Tuesday: Lemon Highlander

Rometti Lemon Highlander

Who would have ever thought that a sweet liqueur like Rometti Limoncello would divinely combine with the classy, smoky-flavored whisky in a drink called Lemon Highlander? Well, it does.

The recipe that I am about to guide you through involves two types of whiskies, Scotch and Drambuie. If you don’t know much about Scotch, you will be surprised to learn of its rich history and true glory of this liqueur which in a time of calamity, substituted brandy in the 1880s France, survived the Prohibition, the revolutions and became one of the most popular gentlemen’s drink in America.

The base for the Lemon Highlander is scotch. Scotch is the name used to identify a certain type of whisky that is made in Scotland, where, thanks to St Patrick, the Scottish became very proficient with the distillation process dating back to the fifth century AD!

Drambuie (its original name means “the drink that satisfies”) is a blend of Scotch whisky and is made in the Speyside and Highland regions of Scotland. It has a particular floral, full bodied, sweet taste, due to the infusion of blended Scotch with honey, herbs and spices. It pairs deliciously with limoncello and balances out the sharp, smoky flavor of Scotch whisky.

Cheers to a savoring, evergreen, old-fashioned drink with a modern twist.  This Lemon Highlander with its smooth flavor will surely satisfy your palate.

Ingredients:

1/2 oz Rometti Limoncello

1 oz Scotch

1/2 oz Drambuie

Pour Rometti Limoncello, Scotch and Drambuie into an old-fashioned scotch glass over ice. Stir and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

ENJOY! ~

image taken from http://www.thirstyinla.com

Cook n Bake Italian Series: Suppli’

Cook n Bake Italian Series: Suppli'

When I cook I am usually pretty good with measuring ingredients, except for rice, and sometimes pasta. For some obscure reason, rice always tries to flee the container and jump into the boiling water, leaving me with too much to eat for one meal, and not enough for the following day.
Lately I got the habit of increasing my regular portions so that I will have enough rice to use for Suppli’, a life-saver yet fun dish that kids love, but adults crave too!

Suppli’, originally of Rome, Italy, is little ball of rice, plain or with tomato sauce, raw egg and a piece of mozzarella in the center. The ball has to be soaked in egg and coated with breadcrumbs before putting it into a pan of hot vegetable oil and fried (or baked, if you prefer). If you add mozzarella, when you bite into the suppli’ it forms a sticky string, and gives it the name of Suppli’ al telefono (Suppli’ on the phone, because the string reminds of a phone cord!). Suppli’ is very similar to the Sicilian arancini, usually filled with peas, meat sauce, mozzarella and slightly bigger than suppli’.

Whether you are hosting a kids birthday party or a more sophisticated cocktail reception, a family dinner or a filling snack to eat in front of the tv, Suppli’ is much appreciated as an appetizer, and one that pairs well with a fresh cocktail or a Limoncello Bellini!

Ingredients:

10.5 oz (300 g) Rice

about 2 cups (1/2 l) Milk

Salt

3 Eggs

0.35 oz (10 g) Parmesan

Grated Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 spoon Flour

1 cup Breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil

Bring the rice to a boil in a pan filled with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of milk. Add some salt. Let the rice cook for 12/14 minutes, drain and let it cool down. When the rice is cool enough add 2 eggs and the grated Parmesan cheese, the lemon zest and one spoon of flour. Work the rice into small rounded or elongated balls, pass them into some flour, then egg, and finally breadcrumbs. Fry them into a pan with hot vegetable oil until they turn golden brown.

ENJOY!~

 

Happy Hour Tuesday: Limoncello Bellini

Rometti Limoncello Bellini

At only two days from the official beginning of Summer, this week under the spotlight we have another popular drink that perfectly suits the season, Limoncello Bellini.

Originated in Venice as a mixture of Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) and white peach puree’, Bellini in Italy is often served at celebrations. Cocktails like the Bellini and Mojito, are linked to Ernest Hemingway, as the Harry’s Bar in Venice, place of origin of Bellini, was one of his favorite spots. Its founder, Giuseppe Cipriani, named the drink after Giovanni Bellini, a Venetian painter who gave the toga of the saints he painted a gracious pink color, similar to the color of the drink (the pink tone was actually given by the original addition of a splash or raspberry or cherry juice). New York was the first American city that adopted Bellini as its popularity grew.

The availability of white peaches and Prosecco, determines the variations of the drink. Yellow peaches and nectarines can also be used, as well as flavored French champagne instead of Prosecco, as long as it is served in a champagne flute glass that gives it that sophisticated elegance, typical of Venice.

Limoncello Bellini uses the original ingredients to which adds a splash of Rometti Limoncello that enhances the sweetness of the peach flavor and balances it out with a little bit of sourness.

Ingredients:

2 oz White Peach Puree

2 oz Prosecco

a splash of Rometti Limoncello

Into a champagne flute glass pour the peach puree and the Prosecco. Add a splash of Rometti Limoncello. If you like, you can garnish it with a couple of raspberries or cranberries.

ENJOY!~

image taken from http://cucina.corriere.it/ricette/cocktail-e-aperitivi/36/bellini

Cook n Bake: Italian Series; Crostata alla frutta

Rometti Crostata di Frutta

Hello Everyone,

From now on every Thursday, Rometti is going to have a brand new weekly blog called Cook n Bake which will include different series on specific counties and their cuisine. This blog will provide you with familiar and unfamiliar dishes from many different parts of the world.  You absolutely cannot miss some of these delicious recipes we’ll guide you through week after week. This will also be a great place for you to share your recipes, please share your thoughts ideas and recipes with our readers!

Let’s start with Italian cuisine which I am very familiar with being Italian myself. There are many chain Italian restaurants in the US  that try to pass their food for authentic Italian. Well, don’t be fooled! Just because they’re putting together some pasta and meatballs on a plate, doesn’t always mean they are capturing the true essence of Italian preparation, fresh ingredients, and cooking.  Our goal will be to show you that balance for all palates,sometimes rich, sometimes delicate flavors will work their magic and let you savor the true taste of Italy.

Our first dish is the Crostata, which is a baked dessert tart that can be made with either fresh fruit with pastry cream, as well as jam with ricotta. The Crostata di frutta, popular throughout the year but especially in the Summer, is a fresh, sweet bite to top off a light meal or to simply enjoy with a cup of tea (or, if you prefer Rometti Limoncello which pairs very well with this kind of crostata because of that lemony hint from the cream).

Ingredients:

for the shortbread (pasta frolla):
10.6 oz (300 g) superfine flour (farina “00”)
7 oz (200 g) integral baking flour
9 oz (250 g)unsalted butter
4 eggs: 3 yolks + 1 whole egg
7.5 oz (220 g) sugar
lemon zest

for the cream:
3 oz (80 g) cornstarch
7 oz (200 g) sugar
juice from 1 lemon
7 oz (200 g) water
1 knob of butter
4 teaspoons of cherry jam

In a bowl mix the two kinds of flour. Add the butter let to soften at room temperature. Mix everything together until it’s a crumbly mixture. Add the eggs (3 yolks and 1 whole), sugar, the lemon zest and mix until you get a soft and homogenous mixture.
Let it set in the refrigerator for about 30 min, which will give you some time  to start preparing the cream.

In a pan, mix the cornstarch with the sugar, slowly add water, the lemon juice and the knob of butter. Put the pan on the stove at a low temperature and keep stirring. As it thickens add the jam, and once everything is mixed take it off the stove and let is cool down.

Flat the shortbread in a 10″ pan (26cm) of diameter, make some holes in it with a fork, cover it with some baking paper, lay on it some rice or dry beans and put it in the over for 20 min at 356 F (180 C). The rice serves to keep the shortbread down during the baking.

Take the crust out of the oven and let it cool down for a little bit. Remove rice and baking paper.
Lay the cream on top of the shortbread and decorate with fresh fruit as you like. Use some fruit jelly to keep the fruit in place when you cut it.

Refrigerate the crostata before serving it.

Recipe credit: http://www.lacucinaitaliana.org

ENJOY~

Happy Hour Tuesday: Limoncello Cosmopolitan

Rometti Limoncello Cosmopolitan

If you have been watching the controversial tv show Sex and the City, or if you happened to watch it because your girlfriend forced you after that one night you made her watch for the tenth time your favorite action movie, well.. Then it’s very likely that you might have noticed Carrie Bradshaw and her friends are often sipping on a pink cocktail served in a martini glass, which thanks to the show has become one of the most glamorous, girl-popular cocktails, the Cosmopolitan.

The Cosmopolitan is a classic sour cocktail that seems to have originated in South Beach, Florida. It was in Manhattan though that a girl named Melissa Huffsmith introduced the recognizable pink color to make it look like pink lemonade.

The original recipe combines two parts lemon vodka to one part triple sec (often Cointreau) with the addition of lime juice and a splash of cranberry juice to give it a pink color.

The Rometti Limoncello Cosmopolitan is a variation of the classic Cosmopolitan, it enhances the lemon taste by adding a fresh, sweet flavor that brings down a little bit of the sourness. Although girls have to say goodbye to the glamourous pink color, Limoncello Cosmopolitan with its orange tones is a delicious, fruity drink equally appreciated by both men and women.

Ingredients:

3/4 oz Vodka
1/4 oz Cranberry juice
1/4 oz Rometti Limoncello
A splash of fresh lime juice
Ice cubes

Pour the vodka, the cranberry juice, the lime juice and the Rometti Limoncello in a shaker filled for three fourths with ice. Shake well, and pour the mixer into a martini glass. You can garnish it with fresh cranberries, lime or lemon wedge or twist.

ENJOY! ~

Happy Hour Tuesday: Blueberry Limoncello Cooler

Here it is, the first week of June, and we all know that in less than 20 days the summer solstice will mark the beginning if a great season!

This Tuesday we would like to pair Rometti Limoncello with a delicious fruit that grows during the Summer months, blueberries. The recipe, this time, was suggested by one of my favorite chefs of Food Network, Giada de Laurentis.

What we like about this fun drink is that it combines three distinct flavors that once brought together blend exquisitely while tingling your palate. The syrupy sweetness of the limoncello is delicately enhanced by the fresh aroma of blueberries. The addition of mint with its peppery, cool flavor and sparkle of  soda give it a kick of freshness.

Blueberry Limoncello Cooler is not only pleasant to your palate, but the contrast of its bright color with dark purple accents will also visually inspire your senses.

Ingredients:

750 ml Rometti Limoncello, chilled

1 cup sparkling water, chilled

1 cup fresh blueberries

5 fresh mint sprigs, lightly crushed, plus extra for garnish

Crushed ice

Combine Rometti Limoncello, sparkling water, blueberries and mint in a pitcher. Fill the highball glasses halfway with crushed ice. Pour the limoncello mixture over the ice (about 1/2 cup for each glass). Use some mint to garnish and serve.

Enjoy!~

Image: courtesy of Food Network.