Absolutely everyone knows the classic Caprese Salad (or should).
The quickest, easiest and most delicious starter you can serve with an Italian meal and I can hardly call this a recipe. However, it is the little touches that make a big difference and I do love my version the most so I thought I would share my tips. Freshness is the key, so you should aim to reduce the time from garden to mouth (or from packet to face), to as little as possible. Make this right before serving and do not dress the salad until you are just about to eat it.
Arancini means “little oranges” and I first tasted this marvel in Agrigento, Sicily, about five years ago. Although the one I had was more of a “massiccia arancione”, it was slightly larger than a cricket ball with a rich bolognaise filling, but it was love-at-first-bite.
Delicious! Remarkably easy to make, but this really should simmer for at least 3 hours to get the fall-of-the-bone effect just right. It is really fun adding the bitter chocolate at the end and watching the dish transform from an orangey colour to a deep brown. I used 90% Cocoa Lindt which is perfect. My camera is no match for the Woolies guys, but I was impressed that the dish came out exactly as planned.
Things I had to google:
– How to stud an onion. So you actually keep the onion whole, just peel and chop of the ends, then simply press the cloves into the uncut sides of the onion, like studs. Pop it like this, cut side down, into pot.
– A whole head of garlic, actually means the entire bulb. I had gotten used to gratuitous amounts of garlic lately but even this took me by surprise. My own tip – rather peel about 4 cloves and pop into the pot whole, otherwise you will be fishing garlic skins out of your otherwise delicious oxtail later.
– What is pancetta? It is Italian cured belly of pork.
I just love that the dish is really just meat and tomato based, feels pretty healthy, tastes great and wholesome. They didn’t recommend what to serve it with, so I recommend risotto for a really rich dish.
We just ate it with normal rice to keep it a bit lighter.
Candied Citrus peel – really not the easiest thing to find! I had to substitute with castor-sugared orange-zest. I would actually like to try this with candied citrus peel as I think this would be great. Traditionally gremolata (this topping for oxtail / osso bucco) is just parsley, garlic and lemon zest, so I found the blanched celery a bit gross (I prefer this cooked into my food and unidentifiable) but enjoyed the pine nut addition. They don’t mention flat leafed parsley in their recipe but had this in their picture, luckily I had some in fridge and could recreate exactly.
Effort : Low
Time : 3 hours cooking, 15 mins prep
Appearance – 8/10
Taste – 8/10
Would I make this again? Yes! I would have reservations about the celery next time but am looking out for candied citrus peel so I can give it another go.
Finally! A recipe that had my man licking his plate, my plate and the saucepan!
This is fresh, creamy, delicious and really quick and easy to prepare. I changed the Kale to Baby spinach, the Walnuts to Pecan nuts (Walnuts were out of stock -Pecan nuts were still delicious) and I changed Porcini to normal brown mushrooms. I didn’t make the Fazzoletti either, but I did use lasagna sheets and broke them into little “handkerchief” shapes. The nuts really add an earthy taste and extra layer to the dish and makes it look pretty cool too. Next time i will prepare my sauce first and only then get the pasta on the boil after this to make sure that it is ready just as my mushrooms are browned. I had my pasta ready from the start which made it all stick together and I think it would be better to smother it in the sauce immediately to prevent that. The recipe suggests adding the salt and pepper afterwards where next time I would rather add it to the sauce. Go easy on the pepper to maintain the delicate flavours.
Can’t wait to try this with Porcini which should add a richer flavour.
Effort : Low
Time : My way = 20 mins
Appearance : 7/10 for it’s simplistic earthiness that just makes you want to dig in
Taste : 8/10 – wholesome and creamy yet fresh and perfectly balanced.