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Showing posts from June, 2010

Pasta alla Norma

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Pasta alla norma is a traditional Sicilian dish, most popular in the city of Catania, Italy. There are various theories as to its name, meaning "standard or normal pasta" in English. One revolves around playwright Nino Catania Martoglio, who when referring to the quality of the dish and its ingredients, stated "è una norma!". I must give credit to my Italian friend Francesco for creating this recipe, though he refuses to claim it without the essential ingredient of ricotta cheese that is normally present in the dish.
Serves 5
What you need:
1/2 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp olive oil 2 eggplants/aubergines, sliced 10 tomatoes, diced 2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper fresh basil 1 box tubular pasta
Prepare the eggplants by slicing them and rubbing them with salt. Lay the slices flat between two cutting boards or plates and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Press down on the cutting board, squeezing any excess liquid out of the eggplants, and rinse. After rinsing, dice the eggpl…

Risi e Bisi

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Risi e bisi is a pea risotto from the Venetian region of Italy. The dish is traditionally prepared on April 25th, the feast day of Venice's patron saint, St. Mark.
Serves 4
What you need:
1 onion, diced 4 tbsp margarine 1 tbsp parsley 1.5 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 2 cups fresh or frozen peas 1/2 cup white wine 2 cups short grain rice, dry 7 cups vegetable broth, hot
In a large pan on medium heat, melt 3 tbsp margarine and add the diced onion. Sauté for around 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the salt, pepper, spices, and peas and sauté for another 5 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan and stir for around 3 minutes. Add the dry rice and stir until it has soaked up all of the liquid. Add the broth, cup by cup, while continuously stirring for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add 1 tbsp of margarine after removing the risotto from heat and serve immediately.

Catalan Escalivada

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This is a very typical and easy Catalan dish. Escalivar in Catalan means to "cook in hot ashes" and refers to its traditional method of preparation, where it is grilled on an open fire. While this method is still in use, many people now make it in the oven. You can find escalivada in pretty much every bar and restaurant in Catalonia. It is usually served as a tapa on top of bread.

What you need:
Eggplants/Aubergines Red bell peppers Sweet onions Tomatoes Olive Oil Salt
Preheat the oven to 500 F (260 C). Brush the whole vegetables with olive oil and set them on an oven tray. Place in oven for 35-40 minutes, turning twice while baking. The vegetables should be charred when you take them out. Let them cool and remove the skin and seeds of all the vegetables. Slice into strips, drizzle with a lot of olive oil and salt and serve.

Catalan Trinxat

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Trinxat, meaning "chopped and shredded" in Catalan, is a potato pancake fried in olive oil. This dish comes from the Pyrenees, where Catalans prepared it for cold winters.
Serves 3-4
What you need:
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped 1/2 head of green cabbage, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tbsp olive oil 1.5 tsp salt
In a large pot, boil the chopped potatoes and cabbage for 30 minutes. In a small pan, fry the minced garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil until lightly browned. Strain the potatoes and cabbage in a colander and place them in a large bowl. Mash the potatoes and cabbage with the garlic until smooth. Form the mashed potatoes into patties and fry in a non-stick pan in olive oil until browned on both sides.