Saturday, February 20, 2010

Italy - My Kitchen in Italy

Oh Italy. Sometimes I want to run off and live there. There are so many things to entice a woman about Italy – the history, the fashion, the food, the men! Wouldn’t you just love to say, “I live in Florence” or “I live in an old villa in Tuscany.”

That’s it. I’m starting my life over and I’m going to Tuscany. Or maybe I’ll go to Venice, Rome, Sicily, or Milan! My heart palpitates just thinking of all the places I want to go in Italy!

I think I shall become an expert on Italian food. If I did I would cook with such passion. I could become a fat Italian mother who spends all day in the kitchen. Pasta, polenta, risotto, oh my! I would do that if I had a kitchen in Italy.

In my kitchen in Canada, I made an Italian feast. I took my recipes from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook Jamie’s Italy.

Fried Pizza

Pizza dough (I buy fresh dough from our local bakery)
Flour, for dusting
Vegetable oil, for frying
Buffalo mozzarella
Dried oregano (optional)

For the tomato sauce:

Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
Fresh basil
1 14-oz can of plum tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make your tomato sauce. Heat oil in a pan and sauté garlic, then add half the basil, the tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 20 minutes, mashing the tomatoes until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat your grill or broiler to its highest temperature. Pull off a piece of the dough and flatten it onto a floured work surface. Heat a frying pan over high heat, add vegetable oil

and fry each little pizza for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove with tongs and place on a baking sheet.

Once all the pizzas are fried, top each with tomato sauce, leaf or two of basil or dried oregano. Drizzle with olive oil and grill until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is brown and cooked through.

Jamie Oliver wrote that this is how the first pizzas were made. We love these pizzas and have made them a couple times since our Italian meal.

Spaghetti Trapani Style

1 lb dried spaghetti
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 1/2 oz almonds, skins on or off
1 clove garlic
4 large handfuls of fresh basil
5 1/2 oz freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lb. Tomatoes, halved

Cook your spaghetti. Warm the almonds a little in a dry pan, then smash them up in a pestle and mortar or in a food processor until it is a powder consistency. Put in them in a bowl. Smash the garlic and basil in the mortar separately and mix with the almonds, adding the cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and mash them with your hands into the almond mixture until they are all broken up. Add a little olive oil and toss with the pasta. Top spaghetti with the sauce.

Pork Chops with Sage

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
Sea salt and black pepper
4 thick pork chops on the bone
24 fresh sage leaves
1 bulb garlic
4 slices of prosciutto
4 TBSP butter, finely diced
4 dried apricots
Extra virgin olive oil
6 thick strips of bacon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Boil potatoes for only 3 or 4 minutes, then drain them and allow them to steam dry. Lay your pork chops on a cutting board and using a small knife make a pocket into the side.

Set aside 8 of the largest sage leaves. Add 8 more leaves to the food processor with a peeled clove of garlic, the prosciutto, butter, apricots and salt and pepper. After it’s mixed, divide the mixture between the pork chops and put it into the pockets.

Drizzle some olive oil on the 8 large sage leaves. Press a leaf into some flour and then press the leaf, lour side down, onto each side of the pork chops (so you have two leaves on each chop). Leave the pork chops on a plate, covered with plastic wrap, to come to room temperature.

Cut the bacon into thin strips. Put them in a pan with the potatoes, the rest of the sage leaves and the rest of the garlic. Drizzle with some olive oil and put the pan into a pre-heated oven. After 10 minutes, heat up a frying pan and get it very hot. Add olive oil and your pork chops. Fry until golden on both sides, then remove pan of potatoes from the oven, and place the pork chops on top. Put the pan back into the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, or until done. Then serve.

Salad from Caprese

4 5oz. balls of buffalo mozzarella
2 handfuls of mixed ripe tomatoes
White of one spring onion, finely sliced
Extra virgin olive oil
Herb vinegar


A handful of fresh basil leaves
Sea Salt and ground fresh pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Make your dressing first. Keeping a few leaves aside for later, chop the basil and pound with a good pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Add a splash of oil and stir it in to make the basil dressing.

Tear the mozzarella onto a large serving plate. Chop the tomatoes into chunks and put them in a bowl with the spring onion, olive oil, a little herb vinegar and salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes in and around the mozzarella and drizzle the basil dressing over the top. Sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves and serve.

If you want the more complete recipes, and lots of other fantastic Italian recipes, I suggest you check out Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie’s Italy.

One thing I want to mention – that Jamie Oliver mentions in his book – is to eat consciously. Think about where your meats and dairy products are coming from, and buy organic fruits and vegetables. Make sure that the meat and eggs you buy, for instance, comes from free run farms, and try and buy local whenever possible. They will most likely be more expensive, so buy less. But the quality will be better, and healthier too. I hope we can send a message to farmers that we won’t tolerate the mistreatment of animals, or the environment.

1 comment:

  1. hello Jennifer, wow a tuscan ambassador! I love this post would you write on my facebook page it's called tuscanycious lots of people write about their love for Tuscan food! check it out, I'd love to share, oriana of