living and cooking for the planet, for the health, for the animals


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The flavours and colours of Italian Cuisine

Speaking of Italian cuisine is not easy. The richness and vastness of this tasty food is such as to render virtually any incomplete definition or description. However, on the other side, the main characteristic of Italian cooking is its extreme simplicity, such as la pasta. Pasta is probably the most famous dish and one that is universally associated with Italian cuisine. There is a variety of pasta and I’m pretty sure that most Italians can’t even memorize them all.
The fun part of pasta is not also the variety of forms, but also the possibility to vary its basic recipe. You can do coloured pasta, with or without eggs, or pasta with filling. I already tried a lot of things and I’m sharing my recent experiment with ravioli of tomato concentrate.

  • 200 grams of organic flour (type 00 as it is used in Bologna for fresh pasta, it is however also possible to use any other flour, but the more processed the flour the more gluten molecules it has)
  • 1 egg/ 60ml water
  • 60g tomato concentrate

Not all of the eggs (as we have seen here) are equal but an egg is, on average format by 30 g egg white and 20 g of yolk. For coloured pasta, one egg (or the substituted amount of water) can be replaced by 60 grams of vegetables or cooked fruit. Cooked vegetables can be pureed. If it’s blended finely it creates a homogeneous colour, though little pureed or vegetables chopped with a knife will give a colour in patches.
For the filling I used:

  • rucola
  • mix of cheese (leftovers in the fridge)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chilli powder

 

 

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Pasta fresca – let’s do some Italian basics 

Having chickens which provide us with eggs is a bliss. The only thing is: being used to a vegan diet (which lasted 2 years) I’m still not very fond of boiled eggs. However, if you have an average of 3 eggs per day (thanks to Luana, Brigitta, Maria…) you suddenly and up with 12 eggs in the fridge and you have to do some kitchen action!
For fresh made pasta for two people you use 2 eggs, yeah! It’s not only super easy to do but tastes also very good! You can do it more often or once and prepare for more. Once the pasta is dry you can keep it for quite a time. Eccola! You need:

  • 200g organic whole wheat flour 
  • 2 eggs 

With the flour you create a mound on the counter top with a crater in the center. If using a stand mixer, add the eggs to the dough and mix them together with the paddle or dough hook until well mixed. On the counter top, crack the eggs into the center of the flour. Use your fingers to gradually draw the dry ingredients into the center, mixing them with the eggs. The dough will be hard to mix at first but will be smooth. Knead the dough, wrap it and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. With the dough having rested you only need to bring out you pasta machine and here we go!

The pasta doesn’t need to dry if you want to eat it immediately but if you want to keep it stored you leave the pasta (eg Tagliatelle) hanging at room temperature. They won’t stick together and will be done in ca 6 hours. We, fortunately, have a “stufa”, an oven in which throughout the winter a fire is burning and it took only 1 hour to dry.