Duck Orange Ravioli (Ravioli d’Anatra e Arancia)

For yesterday’s post with tips for making homemade ravioli I needed some photos, and prepared a filling with duck and orange. First I braised duck legs in orange juice with the ‘holy trinity’ of onion, carrot, and celery as well … Continue reading Duck Orange Ravioli (Ravioli d’Anatra e Arancia)

Malloreddus Pasta with Fennel and Sausage

I’ve been to most of the regions of Italy, but not yet to the island of Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian). Owen, one of the long time readers of this blog, requested a recipe for malloreddus, the typical pasta shape of Sardinia. At first I thought I had never heard of them, but then I realized that they are also known as “gnocchetti sardi”, and that DeCecco produces a dry version of them. I did some research and talked online to someone from Sardinia and found out that malloreddus are made from semolina flour and water, and that on Sundays saffron is added to the water (as saffron is too expensive to use on a daily basis). Continue reading “Malloreddus Pasta with Fennel and Sausage”

Celeriac Ravioli with Eel Tomato Sauce

Obtaining fresh seafood on a holiday is always problematic, but I wanted to serve seafood for at least one of the courses of the Christmas menu anyway. I’ve done lobster in the past, which you can keep alive in your refrigerator. Then I thought of eel. In Italy eel is prepared for New Year’s eve to ward off evil, so it is traditional for the holiday season. When I saw live eel at the fishmonger’s, my problem was solved. Continue reading “Celeriac Ravioli with Eel Tomato Sauce”

Fresh Pasta Squares with Peas and Prosciutto (Quadrucci con Piselli e Crudo)

On this blog I like to share all my foody adventures with you. More and more often they are inspired by other bloggers, and as you may have noticed if you have been following my blog for a while, I do not mind at all to blog about the results of trying other blogger’s ideas and giving them credit.

Today’s post is about a simple but very tasty Italian dish (aren’t they all): pasta with peas and ham. I’ve already done a post about pasta with (boiled) ham, peas, and cream, which was inspired by CampariGirl. Today’s version is different in a couple of ways: it uses cured ham (prosciutto crudo) instead of boiled ham (prosciutto cotto), it uses fresh pasta, and it doesn’t use cream. It has also been inspired by another of my favorite bloggers: Josephine of My Home Food That’s Amore. She is a wonderful person who shares her love for simple but tasty Italian food on her blog. Thanks, Jo, for introducing me to quadrucci, a type of fresh pasta that I had not seen before. I love them! Continue reading “Fresh Pasta Squares with Peas and Prosciutto (Quadrucci con Piselli e Crudo)”

Pansoti con Salsa di Noci

In Piemonte ravioli are called agnolotti and should contain meat, whereas in Liguria ravioli are called pansoti (or pansotti) and do not contain meat. Instead they are stuffed with a mixture of cheese and greens. The traditional mixture of greens is called “preboggion”, which refers to greens found growing in the wild on the Ligurian coast. Pansoti are often served with a walnut sauce, the same as I used for gnocchi a few weeks ago. The traditional cheese is called prescinsêua and is a fresh cheese that is a cross between ricotta and yogurt. The word pansoti is derived from the Ligurian word “pansa” (pancia in Italian), which means belly or paunch. Pansoti can have different shapes, but they should be ‘paunchy’. Continue reading “Pansoti con Salsa di Noci”


Stuffed pasta such as ravioli can probably be classified as my signature dish. I love to prepare them and I love to eat them. Twice a year I organize a wine & food extravaganza for my friends — two evenings with a multi-course dinner with two different paired wines with each course to compare them and find out which one is the best match. After the Burgundy theme earlier this year, it is now time for the Italian region of Piemonte. Piemonte is the home of great wines such as Barolo and the home of great Italian food. After the Barolo Chinato (which I will serve with the dessert) I wrote about yesterday, today’s post is about the one of the primi piatti (pasta dishes) I will serve during my serata piemontese: Agnolotti.

Continue reading “Agnolotti”

Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale (Fresh Pasta with Wild Boar Ragù)

It is hunting season, which means that game like wild boar and venison are on the menu. A classic recipe from Tuscany is pappardelle al ragù di cinghiale, fresh wide ribbon pasta with a sauce of wild boar stewed in tomatoes. The sturdy pasta and the sturdy ragù go very well together and perfect for this time of year. Continue reading “Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale (Fresh Pasta with Wild Boar Ragù)”

Chicken Ravioli with Sage

I’ve never seen ravioli with a chicken filling before, but I couldn’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t be nice so I decided to give it a try. I used a good quality free-range chicken with a lot of flavor, cooked the legs sous-vide for the filling and used the rest to make a chicken demi-glace (reduced stock) for the sauce. You could also just braise the chicken legs instead, so it is not needed to own a sous-vide cooker to be able to give this a try. The chicken ravioli turned out just like the name suggests, with a good chicken flavor. The concentrated flavor of the sauce helped to get this effect. If you like chicken, you’ll love these ravioli. Here’s what I did… Continue reading “Chicken Ravioli with Sage”

Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Ragù di Agnello e Peperoni (Fresh Pasta with Lamb and Bell Pepper Sauce)

Next time I’ll be visiting the Italian region of Abruzzo I’ll have to watch out, because I’m cheating in this post. Every region of Italy has its own pasta shapes, and for Abruzzo this is the Spaghetti alla Chitarra, also called Maccheroni alla Chitarra. In other regions this type of pasta is called tonnarelli or troccoli.

Spaghetti alla Chitarra are thick square fresh egg noodles, made from semolina flour and with a thickness and width of 2 to 3 mm (1/12 to 1/8 inch). They are called “alla chitarra” because they are traditionally made with a guitar-like device, which has a wooden frame strung with metal wires. The pasta dough is first rolled out with a rolling pin, then arranged on top of the metal wires, and then a rolling pin is used to press the pasta through the wires and thus cut it. You guessed it: chitarra is the Italian word for guitar. The device helps to give the pasta a rough surface, ideal for sauce to cling to.

I don’t own such a device, but since I do own a tagliolini attachment for my pasta roller with a width of 2-3 mm, I figured I can cheat and prepare something very close to spaghetti alla guitarra using the attachment for tagliolini. To get square pasta, the thickness of the dough should also be 2-3 mm. Spaghetti alla chitarra should be served very much al dente, with a lot of bite to them, so it is important not to overcook them.

One of the traditional ways to serve spaghetti alla chitarra in Abruzzo is with a ragù of lamb and bell peppers, flavored with garlic and bay leaf, and that is what I dressed the spaghetti alla chitarra with. It turned out wonderfully and I will definitely make this again. The ragù is made with fresh tomatoes and has a very elegant taste. Continue reading “Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Ragù di Agnello e Peperoni (Fresh Pasta with Lamb and Bell Pepper Sauce)”

Trenette alla Genovese

Each region of Italy has its own pasta dishes. The most famous foodstuff from Liguria is pesto, and the two typical pasta dishes from Liguria with pesto are Lasagne alla Genovese and Trenette alla Genovese. Both are best with pesto made from scratch using pestle and mortar. Trenette alla Genovese are trenette cooked with haricots verts and potatoes, and served with pesto alla genovese. Continue reading “Trenette alla Genovese”

Busiate alla Trapanese

Each region in Italy has its own pasta shape, and in western Sicily around Trapani this is busiate. Like other fresh pasta from the south of Italy it is made from durum wheat flour (semola di grano duro rimacinato) and water only, no eggs. Although it is also available dried, busiate are best when freshly made. Homemade busiate are thin hollow tubes of pasta, about 7 cm (3″) in length and with a diameter of about 4 mm (1/6″). Fancier types have the same dimensions, but resemble telephone cord.

Busiate alla Trapanese as served at U Sfizziusu

The first time I’ve ever tried busiate was at a great trattoria called U Sfizziusu in San Vito Lo Capo, a beach town close to Trapani. There I had Busiate alla Trapanese, busiate with Pesto alla Trapanese. Trapani and Genova are both port towns, and interaction between the two has introduced the concept of pesto from Genova to Trapani. Pesto alla Genovese is made with basil and pine nuts, whereas the principal ingredients of pesto alla trapanese are tomatoes and almonds. Whereas there exists an official recipe for Pesto alla Genovese, this is clearly not the case for pesto alla trapanese. Tomatoes, almonds, and garlic are in all of them. I’ve encountered version with our without (Sicilian) pecorino cheese, whereas thanks to a post by Chef Mimi I found out that Nigella Lawson even adds capers, raisins, anchovies, and chile pepper. I decided to make it as I remember it from U Sfizziusu: with minimal ingredients but great flavor nonetheless. I only left out the eggplant, because I was already serving caponata as part of the same dinner. Continue reading “Busiate alla Trapanese”

Homemade Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese

Pizzoccheri are a short and flat type of pasta from the Valtellina region in Northern Italy, made from buckwheat and flour. I already posted about preparing store-bought dried pizzoccheri with savoy cabbage. This time I decided to make the pizzoccheri myself, and use chard rather than cabbage. I already liked pizzoccheri the previous time I made them, but the fresh pasta and the chard make it even better.

Did you know that buckwheat, despite its name, is not a wheat? It is also interesting that the word buckwheat has been derived from the Dutch word “boekweit”. In Italian it sounds more fancy though: grano saraceno. In any case, in homemade pizzoccheri you can taste the buckwheat better than in store-bought ones, and they are surprisingly easy to make as they do not need to be rolled out as thinly as for other types of fresh pasta. So even though I did use my pasta roller out of habit, you could easily and quickly make them with a rolling pin. The fresh pizzoccheri also have a nicer texture than the dried ones. Continue reading “Homemade Pizzoccheri alla Valtellinese”

Ravioli with Eggplant and Ricotta (Ravioli di Melanzane e Ricotta)

This vegetarian pasta dish is a fancy version of the more rustic Sicilian Pasta alla Norma, and perfectly suited for a dinner party. Although the flavors are summery, the ingredients are available year-round so it is ideal to get a bit of summer in your house while it is snowing outside. The flavor of the eggplant is enhanced in a well-known Italian way called “trifolato”: it is sautéed with parsley and garlic. Rather than sautéing the aubergine raw which would make it very oily, I bake the eggplant first so only a minimum amount of oil is needed. The ravioli are served with … Continue reading Ravioli with Eggplant and Ricotta (Ravioli di Melanzane e Ricotta)

Fresh Pasta with Rabbit (Tajarin al Sugo di Coniglio)

I really liked the fresh tagliatelle with rabbit at Bussia, and so I decided to make a similar dish. Tajarin al Sugo di Coniglio is a dish from the Piemonte region, where narrow tagliatelle (taglierini) are called tajarin in the local dialect. It really brings out the delicate flavor of the rabbit, which pairs very well with the delicate pasta. I decided to enhance the rabbit flavor by using rabbit stock rather than chicken stock. Ingredients For 4 servings 1 kg (2.2 lbs) rabbit legs 1 small onion, minced 1 carrot, minced 1 celery stalk, minced 1 glass (100 ml) … Continue reading Fresh Pasta with Rabbit (Tajarin al Sugo di Coniglio)

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