Welcome to the fourth episode of the Last 7 Days of Cooking series! This time there is no specific theme; the dishes, ranging from first courses to desserts, are mostly Italian with some Asian diversions.
Do you know this kind of pasta? It is called orecchiette which literally means “small ears” in Italian. Don’t they really look like ears? :-D I cooked them with broccoli, Italian sausage, Italian cream (panna da cucina), and crushed red chilies. As you can see from the picture, orecchiette hold the creamy sauce and the other ingredients very well. That’s why I like to cook them like this. As usual, I am curious about how to make orecchiette at home, so I searched the Internet and found a video on how to make orecchiette. I was so surprised by the skill of the lady in the video. Her fingers are amazing! One day I would like try it myself.
What would you do if you have stale bread at home? I usually make bread crumbs with a cheese grater. I then store them in a freezer bag or an airtight container so that I can use them at any time. A few days ago I used them to cook spaghetti with toasted bread crumbs and sun-dried tomatoes – if you wish, you can add some anchovies as well. Bread crumbs give a different and distinct texture to the pasta. Just make sure to add the right quantity with respect to the condiment, otherwise spaghetti will stick together.
Lamb rack is one of the ingredients that I’m getting into. In my last experiment, I marinated it with crushed garlic, herbs, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. I kept the marinated rack of lamb in the refrigerator for about an hour and then seared it in a hot pan with butter. I then put it into a parchment paper pocket with thyme and white wine, and then cooked it in the oven at 220°C for about 20 minutes. I like to eat lamb when it’s pinky and juicy as you can see from the picture. It was very tender and delicious indeed! I served lamb with cabbage rolls filled with barley and porcini mushrooms.
Biscotti are not just as snack. They can be a great breakfast – of course one of my favorites! One day I was thinking to use Korean dried jujube for baking and I eventually made jujube biscotti with pistachio. They are a great combination, also for their colors. How beautiful! Don’t you think so?
I saw the recipe of plumcake with yogurt from one of my favorite Italian food websites long time ago, and I finally gave it a try. What I like the most about this recipe is the presence of yogurt and the use vegetable oil instead of butter. This plumcake turned out incredibly well, even though I was expecting more flavor from the lemon zest. Maybe the lemon I had was not big enough. Anyway, next time I will add more lemon zest and I hope to get a better result.
The traditional ratio of fresh egg pasta is one egg to 100g of flour and a pinch of salt. If the dough is too dry, you can add some water or extra virgin olive oil at a time. I usually use Italian 00 flour for tagliatelle and lasagne. In Italy flour is classified by how finely it is grounded – for instance, 00, 0, 1, and 2 – where smaller numbers mean finer grain. A pasta machine clearly makes the process much easier and faster ;-)