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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Fancy Fettuccine Butternut Bake

This unusual recipe offers a twist on fettuccine Alfredo, incorporating butternut squash into the dish as well as various creamy ingredients and spices too. This unusual dish looks very simple on the plate, but add some fresh herbs as a garnish and you have in front of you something very elegant, something that would be perfect served at a dinner party perhaps, if you are in the mood for great Italian food but something a bit different.

Take one bite and you will be so pleased with the fantastic flavor. You can use leftover butternut squash to make this, or else roast or boil it until tender, then puree it in a food processor or use a potato masher to get it smooth. You can use pumpkin puree instead, if you wish. Fettuccine is perhaps an unusual pasta to use in a baked recipe, and you probably use macaroni, penne or another pasta shape when making pasta casseroles and cheese-topped bakes, but try fettuccine for a change here. As well as the pasta and butternut squash, the recipe features milk, butter and 3 kinds of cheese, for guaranteed creaminess, plus garlic, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sage, to add aromatic hints. All these flavors work beautifully together, bringing a harmonious taste to the dish.

Serve this with a simple baby leaf salad or even some tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar for a flavor contrast. This baked fettuccine recipe is something you may tweak if you want, either by swapping the fettuccine for another kind of pasta, changing the butternut squash for pumpkin puree, or even adding some cooked shredded chicken before baking. Make this recipe your own, choose a tasty side dish, serve it hot from the oven, and you will have something really amazing. Continue reading

Hearty Sausage and 3-Bean Casserole

This hearty casserole features sausages and beans. You can use chorizo-style chipolatas, perhaps pinching and twisting them, and then cutting them in half, so you get smaller pieces. Also in this dish you have 3 types of beans – flageolet, butterbeans and kidney beans. The sauce is made with passata, which is cooked strained tomatoes, as well as balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and dark treacle to add a rich and earthy sweetness, garlic for an aromatic accent, and onion and corn (frozen or canned) to finish it off perfectly.

This is the kind of dish that is lovely served with crusty bread, and you can use the bread to soak up all the lovely juices. It is your choice whether you want to make this one the stove or in the oven. Either way would work. Some people find they cannot get their stovetop burners low enough so rather than risk burning this, you might want to use the oven, and it will take about 30 or 40 minutes to bake in there.

Enjoy this for lunch or dinner. It is hot and hearty, but not only for the winter months. Whenever you are in the mood for Italian food and you want to combine meat, vegetables and aromatic flavors, consider this dish, because it is really nice. It is chunkier and heartier than a soup, but there is plenty of liquid, so serve it in bowls not on plates. The rich caramelized sauce is one of the best things about this wonderful casserole, and you will find the flavors perfectly balanced. Continue reading

Beef and Macaroni Casserole

Do you want to make something easy, cheesy and delicious for your family? If so, this recipe is well worth considering. It is one of the best pasta casseroles you can make. What is a casserole, you might be wondering. It is a French word and the term for both the cooking vessel and what is in it. A pasta casserole is similar to a pasta bake, and is usually topped with cheese and full of tasty ingredients.

The following recipe can be compared to a cheeseburger because it includes both beef and cheese, although the macaroni adds an Italian touch, and the garlic, paprika and oregano add aromatic flavors. The cheese topping is really delicious, and the 2 kinds of sauces add moisture as well as added flavor to this dish. This is made in stages. You need to make the meat sauce in one pan, cook the pasta in another, then combine them. The casserole itself is made by layering marinara sauce with the beef mixture, then more marinara sauce, and finally delicious cheese on top.

This is a bit of a fusion recipe. Although most of the ingredients are used in Italian cooking, this style of dish is American at heart, if you look more closely at it. It could even be termed American-Italian, since it boasts the comfort food appeal of American cuisine as well as the distinctive Italian flavors you would expect from a macaroni casserole. If you want a side dish, consider a baby leaf salad with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar as the dressing. Continue reading

Spaghetti with Black Truffle Sauce

Known as ‘trifolati’ in the Umbrian dialect, truffles add a touch of sophistication to any dish. The following recipe is a classic Italian dish which is known locally as ‘spaghetti al tartufi neri’ or spaghetti with black truffles. This is a lovely dish to make if you are having a dinner party and want to impress everyone without having to make something complicated or use a lot of different ingredients.

This recipe can be made with fresh truffles, if you can get them, otherwise use canned ones or even truffle paste. If you are using the first option, wash the truffles in lukewarm water, then use a brush to clean them. You can then slice them really thin using a truffle slicer or sharp knife. A box cheese grater would also work. For the tastiest result, soak the truffle slices in extra-virgin olive oil for 24 hours before proceeding with this dish.

Alternatively just use the black truffle paste you can get in a jar for a result which works quite well but perhaps lacking the finesse of using fresh truffles. You will not need to do any soaking if you use truffle paste. The truffle slices are soaked in oil and then while the spaghetti is cooking you can prepare the sauce. The garlic is sautéed to make it aromatic and soft, then this is combined with the truffle slices and spaghetti to make a simple yet exquisite dish, which is nice served with freshly grated hard cheese on the side, either pecorino or parmesan. Continue reading

Tomato and Calamari Soup with Garlic

This fabulous soup is based on the classic Italian tomato soup recipe but it also boasts calamari, another delicious Italian ingredient. The squid should be cleaned and sliced into rings, and if you also have tentacles cut them in half lengthwise. Squid can be breaded or battered and deep-fried for a couple of minutes until golden brown, and a lot of people have enjoyed squid prepared in this way. If you are looking for a new calamari recipe though, read on, because this soup is totally worth making.

Use either homemade or canned tomato sauce for the base of the soup, whichever you prefer. Adding a fresh tomato too will add further dimension to the flavor, plus provide some curled up bits of skin which add to the presentation. The soup is flavored with garlic, wine, thyme, and chili flakes, all of which bring out the beauty of the soup and also go nicely with the seafood taste.

A nice side dish for this soup is ciabatta, so slice up a loaf of it, and then toast the slices until crisp in a 350 degrees F oven, rub whole garlic cloves over the toast slices, and serve this tasty snack with the soup. If you want to serve plain ciabatta or untoasted bread you can, but scooping up the soup and squid on toasted bread is a special way of enjoying this dish. Serve this for lunch or dinner, or enjoy smaller portions and serve it as an appetizer. Once you have tasted this you will certainly want to make it again. Continue reading

Traditional Spaghetti al Pomodoro

This classic Italian dish features a lovely tomato sauce served over spaghetti. Add some fresh parmesan and a sprig of basil and you can expect a wonderful result with some much fresh flavor. The main ingredient in the sauce is passata, which is Italian for tomato pulp. You can buy packages or cans of passata or you can make it by pulsing peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned) in the food processor. Passata is thicker than tomato juice because it contains the tomato pulp.

In addition to the tomato pulp, the sauce features onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a touch of basil. We put fresh basil into the sauce and let it marinate in there and then pick it out, so rather than stringy bits of fresh basil or dried basil, which is not so good, you end up with a delicate hint of basil instead. Some cooks like to cook the spaghetti until 2 minutes off tender, then toss it with the sauce for a couple minutes, but we are serving the sauce over the spaghetti, for visual appeal.

Toss the spaghetti in some melted butter or extra-virgin olive oil if you prefer, just to give it a glossy finish and a nice taste. You do not have to use as much as the recipe says if you prefer to just use a small amount. Feel free to swap the spaghetti for bucatini if you wish, which is like thick spaghetti with a hole running through the middle. This is a classic Italian dish which you will find on many dinner tables in Italy every evening. Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi I'm Christine, and I am happy you are visiting. Food is a large part of our family's lives, and we love to try new dishes, especially Italian food which offers so much freshness and flavor, whether you are making a classic Italian dish like lasagna or pizza, or experimenting with new appetizers, entrées or desserts from Italy.

Even if you are brand new to this cuisine, you will be able to find all kinds of tempting recipes here. I have been collecting classic Italian recipes, all conveniently in one place, along with unusual recipes from Italy plus some dishes inspired by Italian cuisine.

When the weather is cold, a baked pasta dish or juicy pork or veal recipe might be ideal. During the summer months, an Italian salad might be your dish of choice. We have vegetarian recipes, Italian soups, and even tips on how to work with Italian ingredients for the best results, whether you are making lasagna, gnocchi or an Italian casserole


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