Chicken roulade with capers and lemon zest.

It's been a long time...
You know: holidays, too hot weather to cook, a lot of work (and that's a good thing!) and I couldn't post anything.
Today I'm back with a really light recipe that still has a summer taste.
I've tried it in a restaurant in San Marino (an indipendent state inside Italy, you can learn something more about it HERE and about the restaurant HERE ) and I really wanted to try this at home.
The result is good even if not just alike the restaurant one (but I didn't have the recipe, just tried all by myself) so I want to share it with you.
It could be a nice appetizer or a light second course.

2 servings:

4 thin slices of chicken breast

1/ cup salted capers

juice of 1/2 lemon

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 garlic clove

extra-virgin olive oil

The first thing to do is to unsalt capers: leave them in cold water for about 1 hour changing water now and then.
Peel lemon zest avoiding the white part and chop finely with a knife, then do the same with unsalted capers.
Put them in a small bowl with smashed garlic and a generous pour of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.
Mix with a spoon (you shouldn't need more salt due to capers but just try it and see).
Beat chicken breast with a tenderizer then spread some sauce on it. 
Roll it on the longer side and close it in tin foil or any cooking paper than can handle hot temperatures.
Do the same with all the slices then put them in a food steamer or in any pot where you can cook with steam and cook for about 45 minutes.
When the meat is cold cut pinwheels not too thick and cover them with a little sauce before serving.
You can prepare the meat one day in advance and store it in the fridge (same as sauce) but cut it only before serving.
You can decorate with some more lemon zest.


Blue cheese, bacon and peach salad.

This is just a salad, not even a recipe you can say.
It's true but try this mix and you'll make it over and over again!
Peaches with smoked bacon and blue cheese are a perfect match you'll fall in love with it!
Yuo can use lettuce or baby spinach (the youngest and more tender leaves), I prefer spinach.

For each serve:

a bunch of lettuce or baby spinach

2 tbs diced roasted smoked bacon

1/2 peach (nectarine if possible) sliced in thin slices

1/4 cup diced blue cheese (gorgonzola if possible)

extra-virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

1 tbs balsamic vinegar if you like

1 tbs roasted pine nuts if you like

Wash and dry salad, put it in a bowl and season it wih oil then add all the ingredients, mix and taste: then add salt and pepper if needed.


Pollo alla cacciatora, chicken Cacciatore.

This is a really easy recipe quite common in the North of Italy but mainly in Tuscany.
You can cook it in advance and keep in the fridge for a couple of day or you can cook it and serve it.
You can use a whole chicken or just parts: as you see in the photo I used 2 chicken legs for 2 servings.

2 chicken legs with skin

1 garlic clove

rosemary stick


1 celery stick

1 carrot

1 onion

1 glass red wine

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups tomato sauce

Put the chicken, skin on, in a hot pan with oil, rosemary and garlic.
If you're on a diet you can avoid oil, skin is greasy enough to brown on its own, when the chicken is ready you can peel it.
Let it brown on both side then add red wine, let evaporate then add finely chopped vegetable, stir well and cook on medium fire for a couple of minutes, remove garlic and rosemary stick.
Add tomato sauce, cover with a lid and cook for about 40 minutes on low fire, few minutes before you turn off fire add chopped parsley.
Serve hot with a lot of bread to pick up sauce!


White chocolate ricotta mousse with coffee.

I was editing this recipe from my Italian blog for a contest and suddenly I thought I didn't post it here.
It's so simple and delicious I can't avoid to share it with you, it's 6 servings the size of an espresso cup as you see in the photo.

1 cup 1/4 fresh ricotta cheese (better if it's buffalo's ricotta but plain one is ok anyway)

1/2 cup white chocolate

3-4 ladyfingers or plain biscuits you can soak

1/2 cup espresso coffee

Melt chocolate bain-marie or into the microwave at very low temperature, with a beater beat ricotta cheese until fluffy then add melted chocolate while you're still beating.
Taste the cream, I think it's sweet enough but you can add a tablespoon or two of icing sugar to taste, always while beating.
beat until there are no lumps and the cream is smooth then soak biscuits divided in small pieces in cold coffee and put a piece in every cup.
With a spoon or better with a sac-a-poche pour the cream inside the cups.
You can store it in the fridge (1 day max.) or into the freezer (3 weeks max., remove them in advance from freezer before serving).
You can decorate with chocolate coffee beans and coffee powder or cocoa powder but just before serving.


Milk liquor.

This is a liquor made in the South of italy, in a very small and not well-known abroad region called Molise.
You can drink it, I made and tried it but, according to me, it gives its best into cakes and cookies and sweets in general.
It's not difficult to believe, it's made of milk, lemon and vanilla so it gives your sweet a great flavour!

17 oz. whole milk

17 oz. pure liquor alcool

18 oz. granulated sugar

1/2 organic lemon

1 vanilla pod

In a big bottle or airtight container pour all the ingredients (open the vanilla pod and scratch the seeds).
Keep it for 15 days or more (even a month) in a dark place, shake it now and then.
Filter with a very fine sifter and pour in a bottle.
You will see the liquor stratified: the lighter part on the top, the cream on the bottom: it's ok, just shake before use.
Soon I'll post a recipe for cupcakes made with this liquor, honoring the region of Molise as I did with Sicily: stay tuned! 


Orecchiette with anchovies and sun dried sweet peppers.

Few months ago I received a great present from a close friend who lives in Basilicata (deep South of Italy).
I received a lot of dried local pasta like orecchiette and cavatelli, wild boar salami, local cheese and much more.
I received also a big packet of sun dried sweet peppers which are typical of Basilicata.
I still have some of them and I used those peppers in a quick but very tasty recipe combined with some orecchiette left.
If you can't find orecchiette you can use spaghetti, penne, maccheroni of any kind. :)

2 servings:

3 medium sun dried sweet peppers 

2 anchovies in oil

3 tablespoons tomato sauce

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove

2 cups orecchiette (or the serving size you like of the pasta you have)

Let orecchiette boil in a big pot of salted water, if they're dried they should boil for 14-16 minutes (taste them).
In a pan heat extra-virgin olive oil, add chopped peppers (without seeds) and garlic and stir frying for a couple of minutes then add anchovies and let them "melt" with peppers.
Remove the garlic, add the tomato sauce and stir well.
Cook for 2-3 minutes more then use a blender and reduce the sauce to cream.
Season your pasta hot with this sauce and eat immediately, it's sooo tasty!


Creamy onions bucatini.

This recipe is easy, tasty and suitable for vegetarians or vegans (just avoid bacon, use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter).
It's also really quick and you can prepare the sauce while the water is boiling and bucatini cook.
For 6 serves:

21 oz. bucatini

3 big blonde/ white onions

1/2 cup butter or extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups (more or less) water

a small pinch of baking soda

2 cups grated Parmesan (or Pecorino cheese if you prefer)

1 cup diced bacon if you like

Put the water pot on fire, meanwhile slice onions very thin, put them in a pan with the grease of your choice on low fire.
Add the pinch of baking soda, stir well and add water enough to let the onions simmer.
Keep the fire low, onions must melt, not get brown.
You must end up with a sort of onion cream.
In another skillet you can crisp bacon cubes then you can add them to onions and mix: taste and if necessary add salt (and pepper if you like).
Drain your bucatini, save half a cup of cooking water, add it to onions after you poured in bucatini.
Add grated Parmesan and mix well and quickly on fire for a couple of minutes.
Serve this dish hot.
Have a nice meal!! :)


Sicilian cupcakes.

I'm up to something on my Italian site: a "cupcakes project".
It's sort of challenge (with myself and contribution from friends and fans) to create twenty different cupcakes, each one to match one of the Regions of Italy for ingredients and traditions.
Probably you can't name many of these Regions, I can recall some of them to your memory: Tuscany, Lombardy, Liguria and Sicily are the most famous among foreigners I think.
I don't want to post all the cupcakes I'm going to make because it will be difficult for you to find all the ingredients but I made Sicilian ones thinking of Sicilian cannoli which are quite famous worldwide then I thought you would like to try them.
With this recipe you'll have 8 cupcakes.

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tbs Marsala wine (if you like)

1 egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 ts baking powder

1/3 cup melted butter

1 pinch of salt

3 tbs candied orange

milk as needed to make the dough creamy


1+1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese

1/3 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

8 candied cherries

Finely chop the candied orange, mix all the dry ingredients then add egg, butter, Marsala and milk enough to make the dough creamy.
Fill the muffin pan and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 F°.
Beat ricotta cheese with sugar with an elettric mixer untill fluffy then add chocolate chips and mix with a spoon.
If you want to use a sac-a-poche to spread the icing be sure to use a tip large enough to let the chocolate pass.
Yes I did the mistake if you're asking...
I had to cut the sac-a-poche and I had to use it without tip (you can see it from the photo...)
Add a candied cherry on top to decorate.


Condensed milk cake.

I found this recipe HERE, it's easy and really quick, I've just added a step beating whites untill firm.
It's good for breakfast or tea time, you can try it with different kind of flours like chestnut flour or buckwheat to find new tastes and consistences.

1 can condensed and  sweetened milk (400 gm)

4 Eggs

1 cup Flour 

1/2 Teaspoon Baking powder

1/2 cup melted Butter + some to grease the pan

Brush the cake pan with butter, mix all the ingredients in a bowl except egg whites: you have to whip them untill firm then mix them with the rest of the dough.
Pour in the cake pan then bake in preheated oven ( 175 F°) for about 30-40 minutes.
You can fill it with marmelade, jam or chocolate cream.


Artusi's stew.

This is a revisited  recipe from Pellegrino Artusi's main opera " La Scienza in cucina e l'Arte di mangiar bene", 1891 ( " Kitchen science and the art of good eating"). Artusi has been the first to try to write down and classify the Italian cooking tradition, he was born and raised in Forlimpopoli, not far from Rimini and Bologna, where I live and his contribution is still very cherished.
If you want to know more about Artusi you can click HERE to learn more (in English or French) about him, about the Artusi foundation, Artusi's feast and prizes.

This recipe comes from the recipe number 300 of the book quoted, I did it for the New Year's eve and we enjoyed a lot with oven-baked potatoes.

Serves 4.

21 oz. beef (Shoulder clod or any stew cut)

1 onion

1 branch of celery

1 carrot

1/2 cup white vinegar 

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 gal. vegetable broth (made with 1/2 onion, 1 carrot, 1 courgette, 1 celery branch, 1 bayleaf)

10.5 oz. fresh milk cream

salt and pepper

Dice the vegetables and put them in a pot with oil, let them golden and blend with vinegar then add the meat salted and sprinkled with pepper.
Let the meat colour on each side then add some broth and milk cream, cover with a lid then let it simmer for a couple of hours.
If needed add some broth.
When the meat is ready take it off the pan and whisk the sauce untill smooth.
Slice the beef and serve hot with the sauce on.