My special pizza toppings (Condimenti speciali per pizza)

As told in the post before it's time for my special pizza toppings.

The first two com from my husband's family (grandma and mum), they're great for buffets and parties because the pizza must be room temperature so you can prepare it when you want and just add topping minutes before serving.

Consider just a piece for each person because these topping are really really "heavy" and you can't really have a full meal only with these so prepare something else or more different pizza's type. :P

The third is great hot from the oven but is really easy to prepare and so tasty!

First topping:

for a rectangular baking tin

2 tin canned tuna

1 red onion

mayonaise ( enough to mix ingredients and have a creamy mixture)

a little ketchup

Ina a bowl put the tuna (drain exceeding oil), break it into small pieces, cut the onion in thin slices, add it to tuna then add mayonaise enough to make a creamy mixture.

Along with mayonaise add ketchup enough to make cream pink coloured.

Spread this mixture on a pizza base at room temperature baked with only tomato sauce (no mozzarella cheese).

Cut small squares and serve.

Second topping:

for a rectangular baking tin

a bounch of fresh arugola washed and dried



Cut arugola to reduce leaves in pieces, mix mayonaise with ketchup (some more ketchup than in the recipe before).

Put arugola on a red basic pizza at room temperature then pour the "cocktail sauce" on .

Cut in small squares and serve.

Third topping:

for a rectangular baking tin

1 potado

1 pack robiola cheese (if you can't find it you can use any kind of creamy cheese like philadelphia)

4-5 slices smoked cooked ham

Before baking the pizza put on top, instead of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, thin slices of potado (use raw potado, at least pass the slices some minutes into microwave) then add creamy cheese (it's not important if you can't spread it, when it will be hot will be soft enough to be spread easily).

Bake like a normal pizza, once it's out of the oven spread cheese and add smoked ham.

Serve hot!


Pizza dough (Pasta per pizza)

This is the recipe to make your own pizza at home.
This dough could be freezed with success, just take it out of the freezer the morning for the evening.
Please consider I don't make the classic round-shaped pizza but the one here is called "pizza al taglio" (pizza on a cut, take away) that comes in rectangular baking tin then cutted in squares (as you can see in the picture).
The pizza results soft and not really thin but it's how it's made in Naples, where pizza was born.
You can even make different seasoning in the same tin if they aren't too contrasting (like ham and anchovies).
In the next post I'll give you 3 pizza seasoning that are a family's well kept secret, they probably seem strange or even disgusting but give a try then tell me what you think!

For 4 medium oven tin:

2 cups warm water (if you need more add little by little)

7 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 oz yeast

2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil + some to grease tin

Melt yeast in a cup of warm water, then mix all the ingredients together little by little, being sure to have a smooth ball of dough (you have to knead for at least 20-25 minutes by hands, if you have a kneader you're lucky, I usually use my beloved bread machine knead program: here is a quite diffused kitchen appliance).

When you have your elastic and smooth dough you can choose: or you stretch it out in the baking tin (grease it with a little olive oil) then cover with a clean kitchen cloth and let it rest for 4-5 hours in a dark room without air draught or you can put the loaf in a bowl, cover with a clean kitchen cloth and follow the same procedure, after 4-5 hours stretch the dough in the tins and let rise for half an hour more in the tin.

The turn out of rising depends a lot from the enviroment, temperature, air humidity: the more you make dough the better you can calibrate the yeast quantity.

When the time for cooking comes preheat the oven at around 520 F°, drizzle the dough with a little extra virgin olive oil, add tomato sauce (if you prepare it 2-3 hours before using canned tomato pulp, salt, a little basil or oreganon-fresh, freezed or dried-, a little garlic -fresh or dried- and some more olive oil it's perfect, no need to cook it ), mozzarella cheese (finely chopped, not sliced) and the seasoning you've choosen (if it's a delicate topping like parma ham or artichoke hearts add it just 2 minutes before removing pizza from the oven, if it's something more resistent or that needs longer cooking like wurstel (frankfurter) put them on before.

The cooking time dipends on the oven: mine is quite new and heat very well so 10-15 minutes are enough; anyway to see if pizza is ready look at borders and use a knife to look at the bottom, if they're gold coloured pizza is ok.


Cocoa and vanilla liquor ( Liquore cacao e vaniglia)

Another liquor recipe, easy to prepare and perfect as present for adults even for the incoming Easter.
It's ready to drink, no need to wait weeks or months.
If you live in a hot place better store it in a cold place or fridge.

You need:

2 cups skimmed milk

1 cup pure alcool

3 1/2 oz. bitter cocoa powder

1 vanilline bag

1 pound sugar

Heat milk but do not let it boil, add cocoa and mix untill there are no lumps.
Add sugar too and let it melt into milk.
Now you have a sort of "cream" , let it cold then add alcool in which you have melted vanilline.
Mix again and put in bottles, then close.


Beef steak with arugola salad and Parmesan chips (Tagliata di manzo alla rucola e scaglie di Parmigiano)

This is one of the most popular ways to eat beef steaks here in the North of Italy.
Maybe you can't believe that arugola Parmesan and beef is a winning trio but trust me it is!

If you want to give a class touch you can drizzle the completed dishes with some balsamic vinegar.

So tasty now I feel like eating that! ^^

4 medium sized good quality steaks at least 1 and 1/2 inch

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 bunches fresh arugula well washed and dried

sea salt

black pepper if you like

parmesan chips

Grill the steaks sprinkled with pepper and oil on a grill, bbq or on a steak pan for about 4 minutes on each side.

The steak shoul be pink inside, rare.

Cut the steaks into 1/4 inch slices, put each steak on the dish on a bed of arugola dressed with some more oil and salt, put a little salt on the steak too and cover with some Parmesan chips.


Garlic and chiles spaghetti (Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino)

Today "the easier the better": this is a dish that everyone can do, even if he/she knows nothing about kitchen, it's really really cheap and made with ingredients you always have at home.

Not by chance it's a classic " emergency dish" and "student dish" with canned tuna tomato sauce pasta.

For 4 servings you need:

1 pound spaghetti

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 red hot chili peppers, crushed

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (if you like it)

Cook pasta as usual, in boiling salted water.

Meanwhile heat in a large pan olive oil, add garlic and peppers, cook untill the garlic is soft, almost undone but not brown.

Remove from heat, when the pasta is "al dente" drain it keeping a little cooking water apart.

Pour spaghetti in the pan, mix well over medium heat, add a little cooking water if it seems dry, add parsley, mix again and serve.


Shrimps cocktail ( Cocktail di gamberetti)

This is probably a recipe well known worldwide, I'm not even sure it has Italian origins but surely it's a common find in fish restaurants' menus.

To tell the truth sometimes you find places where the shrimps cocktail is made of lot of lettuce, lot of sauce and 3 shrimps...

So why don't do it at home?

For 4 serving you need:

1 pound shrimps, without heads and tails, well washed.

2 spoons finely chopped fresh parsley.

8 1/2 oz. mayonnaise.

1/2 tablespoon cognac.

1/2 tablespoon sugar.

1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce.

2 tablespoon ketchup.

some fresh and washed lettuce leaves.

Mix all the ingredients with mayonnaise, adding cognac at last.

Cook shrimps in salted hot water for 5 minutes, drain them and let getting cold.

Mix shrimps with sauce, put the mixture on lettuce leaves and sprinlke with parsley.

If you like you can also take a mature avocado, cut it in cubes, sprinkle with lemon juice and add it to cocktail mix.

You can choose to serve the cocktail on a dish or, even better, into a glass goblet: really chic and up to date.

It's a perfect entree' for a fish themed dinner, just pay attention to calories because shellfishes and mayonnaise (and avocados) are fatty!


Sweet pastries fried and sprinkled with icing sugar (Sfrappole - Chiacchiere - Cenci)

This is the most popular Carnival sweet here in Italy.

They're known with many different names from North to South, them most common is probably chiacchiere.

They're crunchy, fried, easy to prepare, really loved by children, perfect fot their parties.

You need:

2 oz. butter

12 oz. all purpose flour

2 eggs

1 vanilline bag

1 oz. icing sugar + some to sprinkle on top of sfrappole

milk as much as you need to knead well

frying oil

knead all the ingredients untill you have a smooth and elastic dough loaf.

Let it rests covered by a cleaned dishcloth for half an hour.

Spread the dough with a roll-pin, not very thin, about 1/8 inches and cut stripes of dough of about 4 X 1 inches and with them make "knots" (you can also let them plain or cut bigger squares).

Heat a pan with frying oil, when it's hot fry the dough pieces 3-4 a time, let them cool on blotting paper.

When cold put them on a tray and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Happy Carnival party!!


Roasted tomatoes (Pomodorini confit)

For this easy and budget recipe you need tomatoes at their best: fresh, ripe and flavourful so maybe it's more a summer recipe but if you find some good plum or cherry tomatoes you can do it anyway.

You can use them on pasta, on bruschetta, into salads or just as tasty side dish from informal meals (they're great with grilled meat so bbq's are welcome^^) to formal ones (with tuna fish fillet, for istance).

You need:

15-20 good tomatoes

2 finely minced garlic cloves

1 spoon of sugar

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 275 F°, cut tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and put them on a dish with the skin up (they have to lose some water) for an hour.

Now put them with skin side down on a baking sheet and add garlic, pepper, more salt, sugar and oregano sprinkling, then drizzle with abundant oil.

Bake in the oven for about 2 hours or untill they're dried but still soft.

Serve hot, warm or cold: anyway is a good way for them!


Mussels in garlic butter sauce ( Cozze in intingolo bianco)

Easy way to cook mussels, prepare a lot of plain crusty bread slices to serve with it because you have to sup up in the sauce!
This quantity is intended as a starter dish (the most part of the wheight are shells) but often people here could have a whole meal with mussels and crusty bread so don't worry and abound^^.

So delicious!

You need for 4:

2 pounds fresh and cleaned mussels

2 minced garlic cloves

a bunch of finely chopped fresh parsley

4 oz. butter (unsalted)

salt & pepper

a glass of white dry wine

Put in a large pan the mussels with butter, garlic, parsley salt and pepper and wine.

Light the stove up, high heat, let the mussels stew for about 15 minute.

Turn off the fire, check the mussels and discard the ones that do not open, put the good ones in a serving bowl then filter the sauce with a strain (this is because often moussels, even if cleaned, leave little pieces of dirt/shell/sand and so on) and pour over the mussels.

You can serve also in individual little bowls, in this case divide equally the sauce and add bread crouton aside and a little bunch of fresh parsley to garnish.


Tenerina cake (Torta tenerina)

It's Valentine's day period, everyone is looking for presents, flowers, chocolate.

I read everywhere of women and girls in search of chocolate treats for their men so I decidet to post the recipe of a very particoular cake, Tenerina cake.

It's a typical dessert from Ferrara city (not far from Bologna, I've got there my uncles and cousins, it's a little and quiet city, perfect for a slow kind of life, for bicycles, famous for the ferrarese bread).

This cake remains very short, humid: it's normal, it's quite a sort of brownie to tell the truth.

You need:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup all purpose flour

8 oz. dark chocolate

1 1/2 oz. milk

3 eggs

salt (a sprinkle)

Chop chocolate then melt it with milk "bagnomaria" (in a double saucepan).

In a bowl mix butter and sugar untill you obtain a cream then add 3 egg yolks and flour.

Let the chocolate getting warm then add to the cream mixing.

In a bowl apart whip the egg whites up with a sprinkle of salt (the egg whites should be at room temperature) then add them to the chocolate mixture mixing carefully and slowly.

Pour it in a buttered cake tin and cook for about 25 minutes at 300 F°.

When the cake is cold sprinkle with icing sugar, you can also make or buy a heart-shaped stencil and use it to decor the cake with sugar; you can serve it with whipped cream aside.


Cappuccino cookies (Biscotti al cappuccino)

I saw I post so many sweet recipes...
It's strange to tell you the truth because I prefer salty dishes: pasta, meat and so on.
But maybe it's because making sweets is so funny!
These biscuits are great in the morning, soaked in a creamy cappuccino.
I love cappuccino so much but a lot more "latte macchiato" ( stained milk): it's very similar to cappuccino but there's more milk and not a whole espresso inside.
Unluckly I'm really sensitive to coffee and it turns my stomach upside down if I drink too much :(
You need:
4 ounces dark chocolate chopped

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon grinded coffè

1 teaspoon baking powder

a sprinkle of salt

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup toasted hazelnuts coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, blend together the chocolate and brown sugar until fine.

Mix together the flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, blend the eggs and vanilla until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add half the chocolate mixture and blend at low speed.

Add half the flour mixture and blend.

Repeat blending just until mixed.

Stir in the hazelnuts and mix throughout the dough.

With a roll-pin stretch the dough and cut biscuits of the shapes you prefer.

Bake the cookies for about 25 to 30 minutes or even less or more, it depends on the oven you have: they must results quite dry but of course not burned.

Cool the biscotti completely and then store in a biscuit box or a jar.


Fried custard (Crema fritta)

In Italy, douring Carnival period, there's the tradition of fried sweets: there are many, fried custard is a typical delight of Bologna and surroundings.

Often is served as side dish in a speciality called "fritto misto alla bolognese" (deep fried mix Bolognese style) with fried apples, courgettes, cauliflowers, carrots, onion rings and sometimes other ingredients.

It's a mix of sweet and salty flavours, anyway fried custard could be served alone as dessert.

You need:

4 1/2 oz. all purpose flour+ some to dust

2 1/4 cups of milk

5 eggs

3 1/2 oz. sugar

1 vanilla stick


frying oil

lemon peel

icing sugar

Open 3 eggs in a bowl, add sugar and beat untill the cream is foamy then add sieved flour and mix.

Put milk in a pan with cutted vanilla stick and lemon peel taking it near to boiling point.

Take off vanilla stick and lemon peel and pour milk in the egg cream slowly, little by little, mixing.

Cook the cream on light heat for 5 minutes mixing.

Soak a oven paper sheet then drain and cover a a baking thin.

Pour the cream in it and spread with a spatula untill you have a uniform layer of cream, about 1 inches thick.

Put the baking thin in the fridge for about 4 hours, it must be well solidified.

When it's ready, using a knife, cut the custard in diamond-shaped pieces about 2 x 2 inches, rinsing everytime the blade under cold water.

Open remaining eggs in another bowl and beat them lightly and in two different dishes put flour and breadcrumbs: flour costard pieces, pass them in the beated eggs then in breadcrumbs.

Heat a copius quantity of frying oil in a pan, when it's hot fry the custard turning the pieces untill the're gold and crispy.

Drip the pieces on blotting-paper and keep them warm, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.