Tag Archives: Italian

Recipe of the Week – 6th June 2016 – Courgetti with Homemade Pesto


I have been experimenting with my spiralizer recently, and up to now haven’t tried the recommendation of making courgette ‘pasta’, or Courgetti, with it. I was initially a bit sceptical that it wouldn’t be quite as satisfying as traditional spaghetti, but was really pleased with the results of this. I think the key thing is not to blanch the vegetables for too long to ensure that the texture and flavour is at it’s best.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 large courgettes, trimmed and cut into spiral ribbons (cut into strips with a peeler is good too)

2 large carrots, also trimmed and cut into ribbons

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice

For the Pesto;

100g fresh watercress

30g grated vegetarian Parmesan Style cheese

1 clove of garlic, crushed

40g cashew nuts

Small bunch of fresh basil

5 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Method

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil then add the potato cubes. Return to the boil for 7 minutes.

2. Add the carrots and simmer for a further 2 minutes before adding the courgettes. Simmer for a further 3 minutes then drain and set aside.

3. To make the pesto, place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

4. Return the vegetables to the dry pan and heat gently for 2 minutes to dry and warm through. Add the pesto and stir well to combine.

5. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and extra basil to garnish.

Recipe of the Week – 26th October 2015 – Aubergine Parmigiana (Take 2!)

  
This is one of my all-time favourite recipes, and as such I keep fiddling with it to try to improve it! This is a variation on one I have posted before, and I think the addition of oregano combined with the revised ratios of existing ingredients gives this more depth and is more satisfying overall.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 large aubergines, cut lengthways into 10mm slices

2 large onions, thinly sliced

8 tbs extra virgin olive oil

100ml red wine

2 x 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbs dried oregano

A large handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

50g white breadcrumbs

50g vegetarian parmesan style hard cheese, grated

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C.

2. In a griddle pan, fry the aubergine slices in the olive oil on a medium heat for approximately three minutes each side to lightly brown and soften. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat until all the slices are cooked.

3. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tbs of olive oil and sauté the onion until soft, then add the chopped tomatoes, wine, oregano and garlic and gently bring to the boil before reducing the heat. Simmer gently for ten minutes until the sauce is beginning to reduce.

4. In a large ovenproof casserole dish, pour a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom before adding the aubergines and basil leaves, and then the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then bake for 35 minutes until golden brown on top.

5. Serve warm with fresh crusty bread and a green salad.

Recipe of the Week – 15th June 2015 – Italian Style Halloumi Wraps

 It’s local festival season in Derbyshire at the moment, and we at Pulse Cafe are lucky to be in a town (New Mills) where there is a lot going on (a carnival and two festivals in the next three weeks alone!). As such, I thought that I would make some simple but filling snacks for people to eat whilst out and about. I made the pesto myself, as unfortunately it’s still very hard to buy a ready-made veggie version. This was a bit of an experiment, but the flavours worked really well. Even I had trouble eating more than one!

Makes 6

Ingredients 

6 wheat tortilla wraps

3 packs of Halloumi

2 red onions, peeled and finely diced

1 large pack of fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped

3 large tomatoes, diced

For the Pesto;

100g raw cashew nuts

50g vegetarian Parmesan, grated

Small bunch of fresh basil, chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

30ml olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Place all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth (I actually prefer it slightly lumpy!)

2. Cut the Halloumi into 10mm thick slices and chargrill on a dry griddle pan until brown, turning once.

3. Spread 1/6 of the pesto on a wrap, then add the Halloumi and remaining ingredients. Fold to form a wrap sealed at both ends and cut in half. Repeat to make six.


Recipe of the Week – 30th December 2013 – Aubergine Parmigiana

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I thought I would end off my blogging year with one of my favourite ever recipes. I have done a variation of this recipe with courgettes, however I think this is probably my favourite after months of tweaking! Hope you all have a Happy New Year…

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 large aubergines, cut lengthways into 10mm slices
2 large onions, thinly sliced
100ml red wine
2 x 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes
6 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
30g white breadcrumbs
50g vegetarian parmesan style hard cheese, grated

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

2. In a griddle or ridged frying pan, fry the aubergine slices in the olive oil on a medium heat for approximately two minutes each side to lightly brown and soften. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat until all the slices are cooked.

3. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tbs of olive oil and sauté the onion until soft, then add the chopped tomatoes, wine and garlic and gently bring to the boil before reducing the heat. Simmer gently for ten minutes until the sauce is beginning to reduce.

4. In a large ovenproof casserole dish, pour a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom before adding the aubergines and basil leaves, and then the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then bake for 40 minutes until golden brown on top.

Serve warm with fresh crusty bread and a salad.

Recipe of the Week – 2nd September 2013 – Aubergine and Courgette Parmigiana

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This is a twist on a classic Italian dish, which I can now make almost as originally intended thanks to my discovery this year of vegetarian Parmesan cheese. Whilst ‘proper’ Parmesan uses calf’s rennet, the ‘value’ versions available in Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and elsewhere are completely veggie, so authentic Italian recipes are back on the menu in our house!

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 large aubergines, cut into 10mm slices
3 courgettes, cut at 45 degrees into 10mm slices
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 x 400g tins of good quality chopped tomatoes
6 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
30g mature cheddar cheese, grated
30g white breadcrumbs
50g vegetarian parmesan style hard cheese, grated

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

2. In a large frying pan or wok, lightly fry the aubergine and courgette slices in the olive oil on a medium heat. Cook in batches until all the slices are light brown and soft. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

3. Next, add the onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, add the chopped tomatoes and garlic to a small pan and gently bring to the boil before adding the softened onions.

4. In a large ovenproof dish, spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom before adding the aubergines and courgettes, a layer of grated cheddar cheese and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then bake for 40 minutes until golden brown on top.

Serve warm with a green or tomato salad.