These days we are all spending a lot more time at home, so I decided to gather some photos I took this year and share 4 simple savoury recipes. Except the crostini, all recipes are by my friend Barbara Grande (who also offers cooking classes in Venice), who cooked them for me with great love! I must confess that I can't wait to go back to her house again, to see her work and savour her delicious preparations!
The recipes are based on vegetables, thus great for this period in which we should try to eat healthy and load up with vitamins. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I did. Meanwhile, stay safe and take good care of yourselves and of your dear ones!
P.S. All recipes serve two.
CROSTINI WITH RADICCHIO, BLOOD ORANGES AND BLACK OLIVES
6 slices of brown bread
1 blood orange
12/15 black olives (I used taggiasche)
1. Prepare your slices of brown bread and toast them a couple of minutes on both sides.
2. Wash the radicchio, dry well and chop roughly. Put in a bowl and keep aside.
3. Slice the orange in half, remove skin from one half and cut into small triangles. Squeeze the other half of the orange and combine the juice with some olive oil.
4. Add to the bowl of radicchio the sliced oranges, the pitched black olives, a pinch of salt and some ground pepper and pour over the orange juice and olive oil dressing. Mix with a spoon and top the crostini.
Alternative: in case you can't find the radicchio, rocket salad is a perfect variation ;-)
8/10 baby onions (or 5 spring onions cut in half with no tops)
1 yellow bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
2 celery sticks
1 broccoli head
1 cauliflower head
3 laurel leaves
30 gr sugar
30 gr sea salt
1,5 lt white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar for a healthier version)
1,5 lt water
1. Wash all the veggies (peel carrots) under fresh water.
2. Cut the celeriac, carrots, and celery into small rectangles about 1 cm thick (0, 40 inches). Cut bell peppers in half, remove seeds and thinly slice lengthwise, then cut in half. Cut the broccoli and cauliflower heads into small pieces. Keep aside.
3. Put water and vinegar into a pot, add laurel leaves, salt, sugar and bring to the boil. Start adding carrots, broccoli and cauliflower and let cook for about 3 minutes at medium heat. Now add the bell peppers, baby onions, celeriac and celery and let cook for another 4 minutes.
4. With a skimmer, remove vegetables from water and let cool. Sterilise your jars and when the veggies are cooled, position them gently in the previously sterilised jars without pressing too much. Filter the cooled cooking water and pour into the jars, covering the veg completely but allowing about 1/2 cm from lid.
5. Close the jars and boil to pasteurise.
To sterile jars properly, I suggest referring to The Spruce Eats guidelines.
To pasteurise, refer to Wikipedia's guidelines.
ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI AND ANCHOVIES
160 gr orecchiette pasta
1 broccoli head
1 small fresh chili pepper
1 garlic clove
1. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add sea salt and cook the pasta for two minutes less than the time indicated on the pack (pasta must be al dente! and you will finish cooking it in the pan anyway...). Important: towards the end, fill half a cup with the cooking water and keep aside.
2. Meanwhile, wash the broccoli head and chop into small pieces.
3. Heat a pan, add a few drops of olive oil, a crushed clove of garlic, the finely chopped chili and the anchovies. Let cook for about a minute, then add the broccoli. Remove garlic and cook at low/medium heat for about 6/7 minutes. Add some water with the tips of your fingers in case the pan seems to become dry.
4. When the pasta is ready, drain and pour over the pan. Stir, add the cooking water and cook at medium/high heat for about 2/3 minutes. Grind pepper and serve.
Alternative: if you are vegetarian, you can substitute the anchovies with other savoury ingredients like black olives, dried tomatoes or capers. The procedure remains the exact same.
220 gr pre-boiled lentils
1 big potato
1 celery stick
1 white onion
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 crushed clove of garlic
3/4 lt homemade vegetable stock (1 lt if you like it more liquid)
1. Peel potato and carrots, wash the rest of the vegetables and chop roughly.
2. Heat a pot with some olive oil, add a crushed clove of garlic (remove after half a minute) and the onion. Lower the heat and let simmer until the onion becomes golden.
3. Add the tomato paste and stir for a minute. Add the rest of the vegetables, the pre-boiled lentils, stir again and cover with the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and add some sea salt.
4. Lower the heat and let simmer for about 50 minutes/1 hour.
5. When ready, grind some pepper, add a few drops of olive oil and serve hot.
Alternatives: if you are tired of black pepper, you can swap with other spices like curry, turmeric or paprika. In that case, add about two tea spoons when the soup is still boiling.