Spinach & Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin


Spinach Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin The great thing with spaetzle is that it’s a made from scratch type of pasta is quick to prepare and doesn’t need great skills to put together. Continue reading

Personally I love the consistency and taste of spaetzle. For this gratin recipe I’ve added mushrooms and spinach because they are a delicious flavour combination that is easy to find all year round. I served this dish with a simple salad but if you want to serve some meat, a nice piece of chicken would marry well with the rest of the ingredients.

Spinach Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin Spinach Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin

 

Spinach & Mushroom Spaetzle Gratin

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 40-45 min

 

Ingredients

 

Spaetzle:

400 g flour

4 eggs

1.5 dl milk

1.5 dl water

2 tsp. salt

 

Gratin:

2 knobs butter (plus more to grease the baking dish)

150 g chestnut mushrooms

150 g cooked spinach (frozen one are fine too)

200 g sour cream (I used ½ fat)

A splash of cream

80 grams grated Swiss cheese (I used Sbrinz)

2-3 tbsp. breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe

Place the flour and salt in a bowl.

Beat the eggs together and mix them in the bowl with the flour.

Combine the water and the milk and gradually add them to the other ingredients while whisking. The batter should be dense but still a little runny.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and place a large holed colander (or even better on a spaetzle grater) on top. Take about ¼ of the batter, put it in the colander and press down so the better falls in the water. Once the spaetzle come to the surface it means the are ready. Place them in a bowl and set aside.

Finely chop the spinach and slice the mushrooms into 0.5 cm thick slices.

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and add the mushrooms. Once they have browned on both sides remove them from the pan and set them aside. Using the same pan melt the second knob of butter and add the spaetzle to brown for about 7 minutes, tossing from time to time. Add the spinach and mushrooms, mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the fire and add the sour cream, cream and 50g of the grated cheese. After mixing all together transfer to a greased baking dish and sprinkle on top the rest of the cheese and the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 25-30 min at 190°C. Once the top has browned remove the dish from oven and wait a few minutes before serving.

Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta BowlOver the next week I’ll be quite busy so I will take a small break till next Thursday. Continue reading

Besides engagements and a couple of events, on Thursday we’re going wedding dress shopping with my mother. I am so excited (and stressed) about it. Since I’m sort of short on time I thought about making a quick pasta recipe for this post, which is made with common ingredients but I find it has a twist. I quickly roasted some onions in the oven with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This dish is really easy, it’s ready in little time and it’s something different while using few, basic ingredients.

Roasted Onion and Pine Nut Pasta Bowl

 

Roasted Onions and Pine Nut Pasta

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

360 g pasta (penne, farfalle… – I always use whole pasta)

300 g red onions (about 4 units)

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

4 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. olive oil

1.5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 240°C.

Peel the onions and cut them in half first then into wedges about 0.7 cm wide. Place them in a baking tin and drizzle over half of the oil and all of the balsamic vinegar with the salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 7-8 minutes tossing the onions once after 3-4 min. Remove the baking tin from the oven when the onions are slightly charred.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions, then drain and replace in the pan.

Once the onions are done remove them from the oven and add them to the pasta with the rest of the olive oil, the pine nuts parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Combine all the ingredients and serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.

Quick Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Quick Broccoli Rabe Pasta Over the Christmas holiday we visited my fiancé’s uncles. On that occasion, his aunt told me I should give this recipe a try, and so I did. Continue reading

In my version of the recipe I added a little sun dried tomatoes, other than that, I stuck to what she told me. Besides the flavour, this recipe is healthy and so quick to make and a part from the broccoli rabe, the ingredients can easily be found in any kitchen. My favourite pasta dishes are either a pasta bake or pasta with a few simple ingredients. This dish ticks the second box.

 

 

 

Quick Broccoli Rabe Pasta

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 10-12 min

 

Ingredients

360 g pasta (I used whole wheat farfalle but that’s up to you)

12 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

160 g broccoli rabe

2 medium garlic cloves

1-2 red chillies

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

(optional: grated cheese)

 

Recipe:

Finely slice the broccoli rabe. Dice the sun-dried tomatoes and finely chop the garlic and chilli(es).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain.

Meanwhile, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil to a pan with the sun-dried tomatoes, chillies and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for 4-5 min (stirring occasionally), then add the broccoli rabe and cook for another 5 min. Then add the pasta and cook for another couple of minutes tossing now and then. Serve either alone or with some grated cheese.

Pizokel

Pizokel So on Saturday we had my fiancé’s birthday party: it was an absolutely fun and delightful evening. Continue reading

Thanks to the help of my friends I managed not having to run around the whole day… I actually even had time to have a twenty-minute siesta 😉 For the event I knew my fiancé really wanted “pizzocheri” because he loves this dish. This pasta recipe is attributed to the Valtellina in Italy, which is a direct neighbour to the Swiss Canton of Grisons. Grisons also has another recipe which phonetically sounds like the pasta dish and these are the Pizokel, which actually look more like spaetzle that the more usual pasta. For Saturday’s dinner I made a combination and an adaptation of the two. What I really love about this recipe is the combination of the taste between the buckwheat flour of the Pizokel and the cheese…

Recipe adapted from:

stephanedecotterd.com (in French)

accademiadelpizzocchero.it (in Italian)

 

 

 

Pizokel

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 15 min (+ rest time)

Cook time: 25 min

 

Ingredients

160 g flour

250 g buckwheat flour

2 eggs

1 dl milk

2 tsp. salt

Nutmeg

2-2.5 dl water

50 g butter

250 g cheese (a cheese that is fruity and flavourful)

100 g grated Sbrinz or Parmesan

200 g savoy cabbage

230 g potatoes

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp. rapeseed oil

 

Recipe

For the Pizokel mix in a bowl the two flours, salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the centre, add the eggs and start working the batter while adding the milk little by little. The batter should be semi-liquid and should be sticky; to do this, add the water until it has reached such a consistence. Let the batter rest for at least an hour in the fridge.

Meanwhile, cut the cheese in small pieces, pass the garlic clove through a garlic crusher (and set them aside). Dice the potatoes and cut the savoy cabbage leaves into pieces. Bring salted water to a boil and add the potatoes, when they are almost cooked add the savoy cabbage for 2-3 minutes, remove from fire and strain. Set aside.

Remove the batter from the fridge. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Take a wooden board and make sure it’s damp with water. Place a portion of the batter on top of it and with the help of a wet spatula (I used a flat bladed knife), scrape small tbsp. portions into the boiling water. Once the pizokel come to the surface they are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set them aside (add a little oil to keep them from sticking together). Repeat with the rest of the batter.

In a pan heat a tbsp. rapeseed oil and add the pizokel to brown, add the butter to improve browning process. Add the garlic, potatoes and savoy cabbage; continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

In a warm serving plate, place 1/3 of the pizokel, on top sprinkle half of each of the two cheeses. Repeat the layers once more and finally top with the remaining pizokel. Serve without waiting.

 

Beetroot Pesto

Beetroot Pesto I always keep cooked beetroots in my fridge. They always end up being useful in one way or another. Continue reading

Last Friday I wanted to avoid staying too long outside in the cold, so I stayed home and cooked with whatever I had left at home. When I opened the fridge I saw the beetroots and I still had a little goat cheese left; that’s when I decided to give this pesto a try. I made the pesto in the morning and had it with some pasta in the evening. Besides the colour, which I find absolutely beautiful, I really enjoyed this recipe; it was a change from the traditional pesto recipe.

Beetroot Pesto Beetroot Pesto

 

Beetroot Pesto

 

Prep time: 5 min

 

Ingredients

90 g cooked beetroots

35 g dry roasted walnuts

1 tbsp. chopped onions

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

Rock salt and pepper

50 g finely grated hard goat cheese

1.2 dl olive oil

 

Recipe

Cut the beetroot(s) into chunks.

In a food processor place the beetroots, walnuts, chopped onions parsley, salt and pepper. Process the ingredients and rectify taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Add the cheese and the olive oil and mix all together.

Serve with pasta, on crostini and why not with some beef?

 

 

Rolled Lasagne with Radicchio Walnuts and Sbrinz Cheese

Rolled Lasagne with Radicchio Walnuts and Cheese (Sbrinz) Sometimes life is funny. Continue reading

The evening I said “Yes! Yes!” to my future husband’s marriage proposal, I absolutely didn’t think about how things would naturally evolve; I guess neither did he. We haven’t got a date yet, but his father has already told all his brothers, aunts and uncles and cousins we’re getting married. He has also already gone to search for a possible venue and, he told me about it a couple of times already. My mother, on her side, has already gone to two bridal dress shops: on her own. I think it’s absolutely adorable what they’re doing and it makes me smile to see that they’re almost more stressed than we are.

This recipe is adapted from one of the first cookbooks I bought myself over ten years ago when I lived in Geneva. I guess that’s why it has personal value. The book is called “Cuisinez entre copains” (“Cook among friends” in English) and it’s from Sabine Sälazer and Sebastian Dickhaut. I like the appearance of these pasta “treats”. I serve the either as an appetizer or as a side dish.

Rolled Lasagne with Radicchio Walnuts and Cheese (Sbrinz)

Rolled Lasagne with Radicchio Walnuts and Cheese (Sbrinz)

Rolled Lasagne with Radicchio Walnuts and Sbrinz Cheese

 

Recipe for 24 pieces

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 25 min

 

Ingredients

6 lasagne sheets

360g radicchio leaves

60g grated Sbrinz or Parmesan (+ 5-10g extra to sprinkle on top)

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. finely chopped walnuts

40 g sour cream

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

(optional: finely chopped parsley)

 

Recipe

Heat oven at 190°C.

Chop the radicchio leaves into 1 cm pieces.

On a medium fire, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the chopped radicchio, salt and pepper to taste and cook for 4-5 min. Add the sour cream, toss, cook for another 1-2 minutes and remove from heat. Add the walnuts, toss and set aside.

Place the lasagne sheets in pan with boiling water and immerse the pasta sheets to cook for 5 min.

Line a baking tray with wax paper. On a chopping board, place one lasagne sheet lengthwise. Spread 1/6 of the wilted radicchio with sour cream and walnuts on the pasta sheet. Leave a couple centimetres uncovered, as this will be the outer side of the rolled lasagne. Sprinkle 10g of the grated cheese on top and roll the pasta sheet. Cut the roll into 4 parts and place it on the baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the lasagne sheets.

Once all is rolled, drizzle a little olive oil on top and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. Cook in the oven for 18-20 min. Optionally sprinkle the parsley on top and serve.

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon PastaSometimes, finding what to write on a post is already enough of a challenge and then I get the added difficulty of my dog bringing me her toys to play and she can be vocal. Continue reading

At the moment I’m staring down and I can see that two cloth balls and her tiger teddy bear have made their way to my feet. The season of one of my favourite vegetable is coming to an end and I wanted to take advantage of zucchini one last time before next year. Talking about beloved food I paired the zucchini with some goat cheese and to add some freshness I added some lemon juice.

About zucchini…. I guess all regions/countries in the world have names to call their neighbours and here in Ticino, the term we use to call the Swiss Germans is actually “Zucchini”. This name probably has to do with the resonance of the names of the cities of Zug and/or Zurich. I think they call us something like “5 cents”; I haven’t found the exact spelling of the term, which I would spell something like “Chinqueli”. As long as these terms are not offensive, I find them funny and interesting as often there is something historically related to them.

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Zucchini Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

 

Recipe for 4 as a main dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 10 min

 

Ingredients:

500 g zucchini

320 g long flat pasta (e.g. pappardelle, tagliatelle, taglierini…)

Juice of 2 lemons

5-6 tbsp. olive oil (optional: extra olive oil to drizzle on top of the pasta at the end)

salt and pepper

160 g goat cheese log

 

Recipe:

Cut the zucchini by their length into 0.5 cm thick slices. Then cut each slice into 0.5 cm strips.

In a bowl combine the lemon juice with 4 tbsp. lemon. Crumble the goat cheese and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile in a pan heat 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, add the zucchini strips to brown on a medium fire for 5-7 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cooked pasta and the lemon olive oil mix. Toss; add the crumbled cheese, mix (eventually drizzle a little extra olive oil on top) and serve.

The Proposal and Arugula Spaetzle (or Spaetzli)

Arugula Spaetzle
As I wrote last Thursday, my boyfriend and I went to Basel for the weekend. I was quite looking forward to the trip but I wasn’t aware it would turn out to be such a memorable moment. Continue reading

We got there on Friday evening and went to the tapas restaurant we always end up going to. We always enjoy it and anyway, we were so hungry that I think anything would have gone down at that point. After dinner we picked up the dog that had stayed at the hotel and went for a walk. We reached the Mittlere Brücke, a place my boyfriend has been fond of since he was still a student there. We stopped there and that’s where he presented me a ring and asked me to marry him! My heart is beating faster even as I’m writing this. I’m so happy that I can’t contain myself. Well, I guess I don’t even need to tell you my response (which I shouted out while by passers looked at me awkwardly). Little after we went to celebrate with yet another bottle but this time it was champagne. We finished that bottle too, left the dog at the hotel and headed to a club where we danced among the students till three o’clock in the morning. The following day we were in a quite pitiful state and during most of the day we walked around like two zombies; sometimes I actually felt like it was the dog taking us for a walk. Our Saturday evening was quieter and after an aperitif with a tarte flambée we went for yet another round of tapas (we are animals of habit). Our Sunday consisted in traveling back home and getting some rest. What could someone expect more from a weekend? I’d say nothing. Soon we’ll start planning the main event, I want to share the experience. Besides posting recipes I also want to use this blog as a diary.

In the Swiss German part of Switzerland, spaetzli is something often eaten in this time of the year with game dishes. I find it’s something which works just as well with chicken or beef or vegetable… Since we were in Basel I though it would be an appropriate recipe to post. I adapted this recipe from the Swiss Cooking book (from Alfred Haefeli).

Arugula Spaetzle

Arugula Spaetzle

 

Arugula Spaetzle

 

Recipe for 4-6 as a side dish

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 30 min

 

Ingredients

300 g arugula

4 eggs

400 g flour

1 dl milk and water

0.5 dl water

1 tsp. salt

Butter

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

Grated Sbrinz cheese (alternatively use parmesan)

 

Recipe

Place the washed arugula in a pan and cook until they are soft. Place them in a strainer and press to remove excess moisture. Now, either finely chop them or, place in a food processor (like I did).

In a bowl mix and beat the flour, eggs, milk, water and salt with a wooden spatula until small bubbles form then, mix in the arugula. The consistence should be a little like a pancake batter, if it’s thicker just add a little water.

Fill a pan with high sides with salted water and bring to a boil.

If you have a spaetzle make use it by placing the batter on its surface and push down the mass so that it falls into the boiling water. Alternatively use a wooden board and form the spaetzle by scraping the surface with a knife and letting the dough drop into the water. Once the spatzle rise to the surface remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

In a non stick pan melt some butter and add the spaetzle to brown on a high heat for a couple of minutes (you might have to do this in more batches). At the end add the pine nuts, toss place in a serving dish and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

 

 

Stuffed Aubergine Pasta Bake

Stuffed Aubergine Pasta Bake Pasta bake is something I can’t resist. Continue reading

I have been making them for over ten years and whether it’s for a simple meal or for a dinner between friends it always has its success. I made this pasta bake thinking about my mother who, up to a couple of months ago, never dared to give it a try. Since I’m writing this blog, as I already wrote it, she has been facing some of her fears in the kitchen such as risotto, croquettes and now the pasta bake. I told her just to give it a try and that it was easy; the following day she phoned me and told me how much her and her boyfriend enjoyed it (when he takes a second refill it means he likes it). For this recipe I didn’t even look up a recipe, I just went with what I had at home and thought it would be nice to have the dish already portioned. Actually I also gladly noticed that it makes the washing up quicker… which is always on the plus side.                             I wish you all a great weekend, I’ll be off to beautiful Crans Montana with my boyfriend for the weekend. For two days I’ll be setting the healthy life style on the side since we’ll surely party and will be eating rosti, Argentinian meat, dried meat and if it’s chilly why not a cheese fondue!

 

Stuffed Aubergine Pasta Bake

 

Recipe for 2 as a main meal or for 4 as a first course

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45 min

 

Ingredients:

160 g short pasta such as elbow macaroni, orecchiette, pennette…

2 Aubergines

Olive oil

4-5 thyme sprigs

2 garlic cloves

1 egg

120 g cherry tomatoes quartered (roughly 8 pieces)

60 g grated cheese

¼ – ½ tsp. dried chillies

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions and once done, add a little olive oil and leave it to cool.

Meanwhile cut the aubergines in half lengthways and incise them deeply (without piercing the skin) making diagonal lines about 2-3 cm between cuts. Brush the cut side with olive oil.

Quarter the garlic cloves and push two pieces in the cut flesh for each aubergine half, do the same with the thyme sprigs. Season the aubergines with salt and cook in the oven for 30 min or until the flesh has softened. Once the aubergines are out of the oven, remove the thyme sprigs and set the garlic aside. With the help of a spoon scoop out the flesh, just be careful not to break the skin, as you will soon need it.

Chop the aubergine flesh and the garlic and let them to cool for 5 min before adding them to the pasta along with the egg, the cherry tomatoes, ¾ of the grated cheese, dried chillies, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all together and evenly spoon the preparation in the aubergine skins. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. Replace them in the oven and cook for 15-18 min.

Friar’s Spaghetti

Friar's Spaghetti When I read about recipes I am always interested in knowing where the name or history of such or such recipe comes from. Continue reading

The names and the ingredients that make up the traditional dishes of my canton Ticino, many times come from two strands of our past society: the first are the peasants and second are the friars/monks.

As I read today’s recipe I began wandering through this book and found 6 recipes that contain the word peasant or shepherd (Peasant’s Soup, Peasant’s Polenta, Peasant’s Rabbit…) and almost as many containing the word friar/monk (Friar’s Spaghetti, Friar’s Pie or the liquor called Nocino which is allegedly attributed to the monks’ savoir faire, this drink is also very common in Northern Italy). These two categories of our past society reflect a humble lifestyle, in fact the recipes are usually simple and the ingredients used are the most common ones (pasta, polenta, tomatoes, spinach, cheese, herbs, garlic…)

I’m a true history fan and when it comes to my places of origin (canton Ticino and canton Vaud) I can’t seem to get enough. That said I am enthusiastic to say that I’m gently going back to writing the novel I began a couple of years ago. The story I have in mind takes in consideration the historical facts about Ticino and my Maggia Valley so as I get a grip on new curiosities I want to share them with you. Today as we’re on the religious subject, I remember reading that during the witch burning times, which were regulated and controlled by the catholic Church, in Ticino people were such fanatics about burning people (mostly women) at the stake that even the authorities in Milan at a certain point in time recommended to calm down the fires. And if I remember well the name of the last woman sentenced to be burned at the stake in Ticino was Barbara Fontana in about 1704.

Today’s recipe is the Friar’s Spaghetti, in fact the ingredients used for the pasta are incredibly simple but nonetheless delicious: tomatoes, chillies, breadcrumbs, garlic and olive oil. My twist to this recipe is that instead of using canned tomatoes I used fresh cherry tomatoes and I added the chives, besides these the procedure is basically the same.

Friar's Spaghetti Friar's Spaghetti Friar's Spaghetti

 

Friar’s Spaghetti

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 13-15 min

 

Ingredients

400 g spaghetti (I used wholemeal ones)

400 g cherry tomatoes

2 heaped tbsp. breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves

¼ tsp. dried chillies (if you like it more spicy just increase the amount)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 tbsp. chopped chives

 

Recipe

 

Halve the cherry tomatoes and finely chop the garlic.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the breadcrumbs, garlic and chillies. Cook for 3-4 minutes on a low-medium fire, until the bread becomes crisp. Add a couple tbsp.. olive oil and the cherry tomatoes and leave them to cook until they have coloured and are starting to break down. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.

Cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Once you have removed the water, add them to the sauce. Mix well and sprinkle with the chopped chives before serving.