Eggplant Caprese Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are great summer food and perfect as a side for a cook out. I like to prepare pasta salads with lots of vegetables, as a cook out or BBQ as we call it here usually involves a lot of meat. For some variation from a Greek style pasta salad, I prepared this pasta salad with eggplant, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar. These flavors go together very well, also without pasta. Continue reading “Eggplant Caprese Pasta Salad”

Homemade Pesto: Man versus Machine

Freshly made pesto is vastly superior to anything bought in a jar, which is why I never buy pesto and always make it myself from scratch. I’ve always used the ‘modern’ way of making pesto: in the food processor or blender. My Italian blogging buddy Tuttacronaca convinced me to try at least once to make it using the traditional method with mortar and pestle. And so I decided to do a side-by-side comparison. The word “pesto” has been derived from the word “pestle”. Making pesto in the food processor takes only a few minutes, whereas by hand with mortar and pestle it almost requires half an hour of hard work. So it’d better be worth it! Is it? Read on to find out! Continue reading “Homemade Pesto: Man versus Machine”

Sous-vide Salmon-Pesto Roulade with Haricots Verts

The inspiration for this dish was provided by Richard McGary’s Salmon Roulade with Cilantro Citrus Pesto on Mango Corn Salsa, but it is quite different. A salmon fillet is butterflied, filled with a basil-lemon pesto, rolled up into a roulade, cooked sous-vide, and cut into slices that are served on haricots verts. Salmon cooked sous-vide to 43C/109F is amazingly velvety, which contrasts nicely with the crispy haricots verts. The round buttery flavor of the salmon is complemented by the fresh taste of the basil-lemon pesto. Continue reading “Sous-vide Salmon-Pesto Roulade with Haricots Verts”

How to Rescue Wilted Basil (or Parsley)

No recipe today but just a simple trick. I tried it on a hunch and was surprised how well it worked! Basil is notoriously difficult to keep because the leaves are not very robust and can’t withstand refrigerator temperatures — they turn black when kept below 12C/55F or so. But outside of the fridge basil wilts easily, as shown in the picture above. If it is only just a bit limp but not completely dry or black, it can be rescued with a very simple trick! Just submerge the wilted basil in cold (not too cold) clean water and wait. … Continue reading How to Rescue Wilted Basil (or Parsley)

Risotto al Basilico

This basil risotto was inspired by a similar risotto we got at a recent dinner at restaurant Bussia in Amsterdam. Their version was lighter and greener, but this was just as delicious. The lighter and greener style may in part have been to blanching the basil leaves to set the color and lighten the taste, something I did not do and may try next time. Ingredients For 2 servings 130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice 1 bunch fresh basil (about 50 grams/2 oz) 1 small onion, chopped 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 glass (100 ml) dry white wine … Continue reading Risotto al Basilico

Home-made Orecchiette with Tomato and Basil

This post is dedicated to Natasha from Come Due Maiali. She was one of the first followers of my blog and is one of those fellow bloggers who has made this journey such a great experience. When I posted about orecchiette with mussels and broccoli almost six months ago, she commented that she’s a huge orecchiette fan and would love to get her hands on wholemeal orecchiette. I then responded that she could always make her own, even though I had never yet made orecchiette by hand. I decided to give it a try myself, and now was the time … Continue reading Home-made Orecchiette with Tomato and Basil

Insalata Caprese, how to improve the taste of Mozzarella

Insalata Caprese is almost too simple to blog about, but I do have some interesting tips to provide. At the risk of writing the same thing over and over, this dish is a classic example of Italian cuisine that relies completely on the quality of the ingredients. Use the best flavorful ripe tomatoes you can find, fresh fragrant basil, the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford, and last but not least the best mozzarella you can afford (and find!), preferably buffalo mozzarella. Real fresh buffalo mozzarella is very hard to find outside of Campania, the region around Naples … Continue reading Insalata Caprese, how to improve the taste of Mozzarella