Showing posts with label Gorgonzola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gorgonzola. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Chain Reaction: Italian Week - Tomato Sauce, Pizza and Lasagne

Sometimes one thing leads to another. I like to have some kind of cooking chain reaction, when the leftovers of a meal come to star in another meal or two or even more. I dreamt of five meals or so. Well, I will be satisfied with less ... for now.
It all started with a tomato sauce. No, not exactly, it started when I found some lovely celery sticks and carrots smiling at me. When celery and carrots smile at a man, the only thing you can do is smile back and ... cook with them.

Meal 1: Pasta with Tomato Sauce (call it vegetarian bolognese, if you like)

Before I go on, I just want to tell you, I couldn't find the photos of the pasta with tomato sauce. Maybe that's because I didn't take any.

I put a large pan with olive oil on medium heat. Then I went about finely chopping two cloves of garlic, an onion, four celery sticks and two large carrots. All the tiny bits of vegetable ... eh, maybe I didn't chop them that fine ... went into the pan in order to be soften. Have patience and enjoy the process.
Next I poured a tin of tomatoes (400 ml) into the pan with some extra water. I better should ave taken two tins or a larger one. That's why I added some fresh tomatoes and a bit of tomato puree later on. Oh, some chopped up red chillies will give the sauce some extra heat, too.
It's important not to forget the seasoning. Good I didn't forget it the same way I forgot the photos and (you will see later) something else.
Anyway, now you want to get the content of the pan boiling and then leave it simmering for 30 minutes.
At this point you check the seasoning again. Better safe than sorry.
Now a splash of red wine vinegar comes in handy and ... you have to make a decision. You could just break up the tomatoes with a spoon or put the whole sauce into a blender and ... let things go. I went with blender. I wasn't in the mood for coarse consistency this time.
Finally I added some chopped up fresh basil.
Cook your pasta according to the package instructions, if you are not doing fresh pasta.
Again, if you don't forget, you could catch up some of the cooking water to add to the sauce.
Whatever the case, have a plate of pasta with the tomato sauce and some parmesan on top. It won't disappoint you.

Of course we have some leftover tomato sauce in order to continue ...

Meal 2: Four-cheese Pizza

I had to do this. It was about time I do a post with pizza again. You can never have too much.
I want some tomato sauce for my pizza before I put the final topping on, no matter what it is. At least that is what I think right now. Well, I can't remember it otherwise right now, I forgot it (with all this forgetting, I reckon I am getting old).

Fine, we already have our tomato sauce for the pizza. What else? Of course, the pizza dough. You can use your favourite pizza dough or have a look here for a recipe.
More? Sure, the four cheeses. I took buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan and a fourth very delicious Italian cheese, which unfortunately I (here it comes again) forgot the name of. The cheese was very creamy and in fact you get the most of that cheese when you eat it just the way it is. Yum!
Once you have all the components read, heat up the oven to 250 °C (unless you have a pizza oven). Roll out your dough and thinly spread on some of that tomato sauce. Then scatter as much of the cheese all over the pizza. Make sure to taste small bits of cheese to survive the time until the food is ready.
If you feel like it, you can finish off the pizza with a splash of olive oil. Since we are having an Italian week here, in fact, you can put a splash of olive oil to anything we are having.
My pizza was ready after 15 minutes ... well, I cut it into pieces ...

... and went for it ...

It was so yummy, I could have had more. Luckily, I already had frozen the remaining pizza dough. In time, that would be meal 4, but until then it is resting in piece.
So, if you love cheese, that's your pizza. At least it's mine. Even now while I am writing this done I am starting to salivate again. Or is this due to the fact I had some of meal 3 ...

Meal 3: Lasagne (do I have to say more)

Still I am doing Italian ... thanks to that lovely tomato sauce. I was so glad I still had that much left over.
Another pan goes onto the oven and again some olive oil is heated up.
I have 500 g of minced pork that needs some browning in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Watch as the heat does it's job. Add the tomato sauce when the meat is ready. Stir through well and heat the sauce up.
Meanwhile you have a sufficiently large tin (mine was 35 cm x 25 cm) ready. Add some - I told you so - olive oil to the bottom of the tin. then lay out a layer of lasagne sheets.
Oh, we would need some kind of bechamel for the lasagne as well, I reckon. Nah, forget about it. We are doing a cheat version. Mix 200 g of crème fraîche with salt, pepper, a large hand full of grated parmesan and an egg.
Next onto the lasagne sheets goes a half of the minced pork tomato sauce, then half of the bechamel cheat, then some lasagne sheets again, followed by the remaining meat, followed by the remaining bechamel cheat. Well, how does that look?
Obviously something is missing. Ah, here we go, I topped the whole thing with 200 g of grated mozzarella cheese and ... you know.

30 - 35 minutes in the oven, which has been heated up to 200 °C, will do. The cheese will turn brownish.
Now you would only need to slice the lasagne up and serve it. Dig in! The lasagne was as delicious as the pizza. Dangerously delicious!

You might get some further ideas and serve a rocket and tomato salad on the side. However, I was satisfied with as it was. After all, I know about all those vegetables hidden in that meal.

When some lovely ingredients smile at you, smile back and get cooking.

Now, what about you, do you have any chain reactions going on in your kitchen? While I don't want to turn this into a blog challenge necessarily, why not share your Food Chain Reaction Stories with us by linking up a post in the comments and ... see what will happen.
Since I also made good use of the leftover tomato sauce, this is a fitting post for Elizabeth's from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary No Waste Food Challenge, which ... what a coincidence ... is hosted by my own self this month.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Into Darkness Basil Gorgonzola Carbonara

No, this has nothing to do with the latest Star Trek movie, although I regret it already. There might be a slight danger, that you don't like me anymore after this post. That is, of course, only if you liked me before this post.
Besides a simple pasta dish, this post is about the darkness of the human mind.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Anti-Rabbit Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

"Hey, are you eating again the food of the rabbit?!" "Poor rabbit, you are eating up all it's food!"
Did you hear a comment like this before, while enjoying a portion of salad?
From time to time I'm getting such comments.
What can we say about this? A lot!
My rabbit like some good fresh green salad leaves. Carrots it appreciates as well. She even gladly goes for some herbs. Well, some days I gave her some Thai basil and ... she absolutely devoured it.
Well, it's true then! Are you eating up the food of the rabbit?

Not exactly! A good salad is more than just a few green leaves of salad.

A keen observer might see a few things in that salad my rabbit for sure would not appreciate at all.

Some of the things you can find in this salad my dog would gladly take, though, but of course there are limits, too.

First of all, my rabbit will never like cheese. Lucy, on the other hand, is mad about it and would be willing to 'attack' me for cheese - especially if the smell is intense enough. Green salad, though, hm ... it's really hard to make Lucy eat it - if at all.
Tomatoes and walnuts, neither the rabbit nor the dog would ever take it, not to mention the dressing for the salad.Therefore, let us go a bit into detail with preparing our Anti-Rabbit Salad. That way, the rabbit for sure would never like it, but I hope you do.

Ingredients (amounts according to taste):
Tomatoes, according to size halved, quartered or even further
Physalis, halved
Gorgonzola, in big chunks
Walnuts ... obviously without shell, broken into smaller pieces

Honey Mustard Dressing:
Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
3 x as much olive oil
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper according to taste

Put the ingredients for the dressing into a dressing shaker (old, empty and clean jam jar) and give it a good shake to bring all the ingredients together.
Put the rocket, tomatoes, physalis and the walnuts in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and mix it through carefully.
The gorgonzola I reserve for the finish in order that it doesn't fall further into smaller pieces because I like big fat chunks of it to get the full blast of the cheese flavour.

Well, a good salad isn't just a few green leaves. You have different flavours: bitter, sweet, sour, peppery, and have different textures: soft, crunchy and so forth.
This time I thought, the physalis would look nice in  the salad and taste nice as well. I have never seen them before in salads or even thought about using them that way, but ... hey, why not! Just use your imagination ...

So, I hope you enjoyed this Anti-Rabbit Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing. 
What is your favourite combination when it comes to salads?

Saturday, 24 March 2012


My mother never cooked a risotto for me. Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is kind of creamy and oozy. It tastes very nice and like with pasta, you can have it in many different ways. Maybe one or two years ago I made risotto for the first time myself. The start is always the same: you heat up some oil slightly and put a chopped onion and a few celery sticks finely chopped. After 15 minutes or so you add the risotto rice (maybe 500-600 g). It  is a special Italian rice - Arborio is one of it. This kind of rice can absorb the liquid better releases starch better, so we can get this sticky creamy thing we desire. 
Right after that you add about 250 ml of white wine or white vermouth. When most of the alcohol has evaporated you can add chicken or vegetable stock. It's best to have it heated up in a separate pot. One litre would be sufficient. You add the stock ladle by ladle, waiting in between until the rice has absorbed the liquid. You do this until all stock is gone or the rice has the right consistency. 
When this is done you can remove the risotto from the heat, add 100 g of butter a handful of grated parmesan cheese and the special ingredients you want to have in your risotto. Today I had it with 200 g Gorgonzola cheese, 80 g goat cheese, and two apples in small chunks. You can season as well with salt and pepper if you need. All went into the pan and covered with the lit it was left standing for a minute or two so that all can melt nicely - or you say sit.
Time to bring it to the plate. A few lightly toasted walnuts on it and some extra parmesan grated on top.

Well I took the recipe for this risotto from the book "Cook with Jamie" (well it would be one down, if I would try to cook through the whole book). You can find the recipe also here:
This was just one kind of risotto. There is much more to explore.

 Bacon and beans risotto

Tomato and basil risotto

And there are many many more options. Just have a go. You will not regret it. By the way, in Italy risotto is normally not a main course, but a first course, a primo. However, do as you please!