Category Archives: Italian

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Herb Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce

20767787_1513524002069579_4701809300335231268_nA classic dinner favourite that can be made ahead of time and re-heated when its time for dinner. Any leftovers are great for lunch the next day or as a brunch on Sunday morning with a nice seasonal salad on the side.

Ingredients

Meatloaf

1/3 cup Fogdog crumb (use gluten free as required)
2 tbsp olive
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 tsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, lightly chopped (if using dried, 1/3 tsp of each)
1 small to medium carrot, grated
500g lamb, beef or pork mince
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup sharp cheese of choice
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Sauce

1 400g tin diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp each fresh rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme, lightly chopped (if using dried, 1/3 tsp of each)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp oil
1-2 whole dried chillies (optional)

Method

In a large bowl combine all of the meatloaf ingredients and combine well. Roll into shape, cover and rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

In a pot heat the oil on the stove on medium and add the onion. Cook the onion for 5-10 minutes until they are soft. Add the garlic and dried chillies and cook stirring for another 2-3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the tomato, paste herbs and stock. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce can be made ahead and stored, sealed in the fridge for a couple of days until needed.

Take the meatloaf from the fridge and rest for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 170C. Place the loaf in a high sided oven dish and cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove any fats and oils that have come out of the loaf.

Cover with the sauce and cook in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Remove and rest for 5 minutes and serve with your choice of sides.

Horopito Seasoned Aged Rump Steak

bal-steakwebRump steak is for me a delicious choice and there’s no need to splash out on an expensive cut. You can mix and match your sides with this recipe and for a crowd its easy to scale. Using the Rhayne Horopito Wild Herb Seasoning takes this tasty piece of meat to the next level.

For me its very important that the steak is well aged and a thick cut. Have a chat with your butcher, they will be able to help.

Serves 4

13465967_1042309265856270_989460586271929302_n½ teaspoon Rhayne Horopito Wild Herb Seasoning

600g (1.5lb) thick piece of rump steak

2 cloves of garlic, halved

2 tbsp sweet balsamic vinegar reduction, plus a little extra

Put the beef in a wide shallow dish and rub it all over with the garlic halved and then chop the garlic roughly. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and  the sweet balsamic vinegar. Leave to marinate for 2 hours or covered over night in the fridge.

Make sure your barbecue or grill is really hot before starting to cook.

Barbecue (or grill) the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on how thick it is. Take off the barbecue and season with the Rhayne Horopito Wild Herb blend and cover with foil for 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain and serve with the meat juices.

Serve with sweet potatoes roasted with rosemary and garlic and fresh salads on the side and also seasoned with some Rhayne Horopito Wild Herb right before serving.

Pan Seared Salmon on Grapefruit Salad

Salmon-gfruitServes 4

Ingredients

2 Ruby grapefruit
4 cups mixed salad greens
2 cups snow peas tipped and cut into three
1 cup micro-greens of choice
2 ripe avocados, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tbsp sweet balsamic reduction
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Olive oil for cooking salmon
3 150g (5-ounce) salmon fillets (skin off)
1/2 cup honey toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Method

 Peel and segment grapefruit with a sharp knife on a cutting board; reserve juice in a bowl.

In a bowl mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic so its combined.

In a large bowl add salad greens and pour the dressing and turn to combine.

Divide salad among 4 serving plates. In a small bowl.

 Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over both sides of salmon. Coat a large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add fish to skillet, and cook until skin is golden and fish releases easily from pan (about 4 minutes). Using a spatula, gently flip fish and cook about 3 minutes more. Once salmon is cooked rest for 2 minutes and then break each fillet into 8 pieces .

While the salmon is cooking place slices of avocado on top of each salad and then place equal amounts of grapefruit pieces on the avocado to form a bed for the salmon to rest on.

Place the salmon pieces on the grapefruit  and dress with honey walnuts and micro-greens.

Sweet Balsamic Braised Beef Cheeks

beef-cheek-webBeef cheeks are a cut that has come into flavour in the paste couple of years. This aside it’s a wonderful cheap cut to cook with and with a little bit of effort plates up looking like you and friends are dining out.

This cut is a very heavily worked muscle so long and slow cooking lets all of the connective tissue break down and allows the meat to impart its great flavour.

Once cooked it will fall apart and is great to serve on potato or sweet potato creamy cheese mash.

Ingredients

4 by 250g (1/4lb) beef cheeks

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 medium onion, halved and diced

2 rashers of smoked bacon, sliced into pieces

3 gloves garlic, crushed and diced

2 bay leaves

1 sprig rosemary

1 sprig thyme

1 800g tin diced tomatoes

200ml red wine

200ml beef or chicken stock (broth)

150ml Sweet Balsamic Reduction

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season

Method

Preheat oven to 160 C

Season the beef cheeks on both sides with salt and pepper. Rest for 10 minutes.

In a heavy based Dutch oven or oven and stove top casserole dish heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high. Once hot add 2 of the beef cheeks and brown on both sides. Place on a warm dish and then brown the final two and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil and the onions. Reduce the heat to medium and brown for 5 minutes. Add the bacon and garlic and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, diced tomatoes, red wine, stock (broth) and bring to a simmer.

Once simmering add the beef cheeks back and make sure they are covered by the juices and add the Balsamic Reduction. Lightly stir.

Cover and place in the oven for 3-3 ½ hours. Stir a couple of times making sure the beef cheeks are covered with the sauce.

Once cooked and falling apart serve on a creamy mash and salad on the side.

Fresh Gluten-free Pasta

Fresh-gfpastaI love pasta and this meets my needs for a gluten-free option that I can have whenever I want.

Ingredients

1∕3 cup white cornflour

1∕3 cup tapioca flour or potato flour

1∕3 cup buckwheat flour or millet flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp fine sea salt

2 whole eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

1–2 tbsp filtered water, if needed

Sift the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a food processor, and process until well combined.

Combine eggs and oil in a bowl and slowly pour into the food processor, holding back some of the liquid until you can check the consistency of the dough (it is easier to add more liquid than to add the right quantity and mix of flours). Pulse gently until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, adding water if needed.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured bench (white rice flour works well) and knead gently until dough is smooth and elastic. You don’t have to knead too much as you are finishing the dough off rather than having to work the gluten.

Cut the dough into rectangular mounds for easy handling. If you are using a pasta machine, make the mounds a little narrower than the width of your pasta roller so they will be easy to put through the machine. Cover each mound with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Take each mound and roll out thinly with a rolling pin (about 2–3mm, depending on the shape you wish to make). Form dough into the required shape or feed through your pasta machine. Make sure you keep flouring your bench top and roller so the pasta does not stick and glue together.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Fresh pasta requires a lot less cooking time than dried pasta. The cooking time will depend on the shape you have chosen and how thin your pasta is – usually about 2–3 minutes.

Easy Seafood Stew

seafood-stew-webIngredients 

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

½ cup white wine (optional)

½ cup stock (any kind)

1-2 cloves of garlic

½ red capsicum, sliced into bite sized pieces

Dry or fresh chilli to taste (optional)

1 can of canelinni beans

Juice of ½ lemon

1/3 cup chopped parsley

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Aprox 300 grams seafood sliced into bite sized pieces (fish, prawns, squid, etc) 

Method 

Combine the tomatoes, wine, stock, garlic, capsicum and chilli in a dutch oven or heavy based saucepan and bring to a simmer. 

Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes then add diced seafood and beans to the sauce. 

When the seafood is cooked (should be only 2 or 3 minutes), add lemon juice, cracked pepper and parsley. 

Serve in warm bowls with crusty bread (optional).

Spiced Chicken and Capsaicin (Bell Pepper) Soup

Chicken-Pepper-Soup-webItaly is well known for its light and fresh soups and this recipe is inspired by my love of the food from the south of Italy. 

Serves 4 

Ingredients 

1 tbsp olive oil

1 each of orange and red capsaicin’s (bell peppers), thinly sliced

1 small onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp dried basil

2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp dried crushed red chilli pepper (more or less to your taste)

5 cups chicken stock (broth)

1 can Italian style (Roma) diced tomatoes

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

200g (8 ounces) button mushrooms, quartered

2 tsp capers

1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (leftover from a roast is great or rotisserie chicken from market)

Grated Parmesan cheese 

Method 

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. 

Add capsaicin’s (bell peppers), onion, garlic, basil, fennel seeds and crushed red chilli  and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add carrots, canned tomatoes and stock (broth). Simmer until the carrots are tender, another 10-15 minutes.  Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil.  Add chicken and capers and cook just until heated through, about 2 minutes. 

Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup into warm bowls. Serve, with a light sprinkle of the cheese. Don’t add too much cheese and this can make it taste too salty.

Canter Valley Turkey Meatloaf – Italian Flavours

Loaf-webThis easy-to-follow meatloaf recipe makes a perfect main for a traditional family meal or an informal dinner party. 

Ingredients 

Meatloaf 

2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 small red capsicum, de-seeded and finely chopped
1.5 kg (3.3 lb) lean lamb, beef or pork mince (ground meat)
1/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs or ground, dry shiitake mushrooms for paleo 
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

Filling 

2–3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
6 button mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 tbsp each chopped fresh basil, rosemary and Italian parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
100 g (4 oz) mozzarella, sliced 

Topping 

1 400-g (16oz) skinned and chopped Italian (Roma) tomatoes
60 g (2 oz) fresh Parmesan, grated
100 g mozzarella, grated 

Method 

Preheat oven to 175 °C. (350 °F) 

First prepare the filling. Heat oil in a frying pan. When it’s almost smoking add mushrooms and sauté for 1–2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Add fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. 

Next make the meatloaf. Discard any mushroom juices from the frying pan and add the oil. Once hot add the onion, garlic and capsicum and sauté until lightly coloured about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool. 

Add the mince, bread crumbs or ground, dry shiitake mushrooms and eggs. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.

Lightly oil a loaf tin. Place half the meatloaf into the tin and pat into shape, forming a hollowed-out section for the filling. 

Spread mushroom and herb filling into the hollowed-out section and cover with mozzarella slices. Carefully pat the remaining meatloaf over the top. Press down lightly to seal it fully. 

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and tip off any oils that have gathered during the cooking and then pour the topping tomatoes over it, top with the cheeses.   

Return to the oven and bake for a further 15–20 minutes. Once cooked, allow to stand for 10 minutes before turning out.

Easy Chicken Bites

Chick-bites-webChicken breast seasoned with sage and Italian seasoning, rolled in prosciutto, then skewered.

Makes about 30-36 

Ingredients 

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
12 strips prosciutto or streaky bacon
120g (4oz) cream cheese, room temperature
6 basil leaves, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stalk and chopped
3 parsley sprigs, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced 

Method 

Preheat your oven to 175C (350F)

In a medium bowl mix together your whipped cream cheese, thyme, basil, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on each piece of bacon and then cut into thirds. Then wrap 1 piece of chicken with the piece of bacon. It will only wrap around one time, secure with a skewer.

Place on a flat baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.

Sicilian Herb and Tomato Fish

herb-tom-fish-webThe recipe sounds simple and it is, but there are a couple of elements in it that add that little bit extra. Ideal when you are entertaining that special person and want to impress. 

I use Monkfish as its firm fleshed and available all over the world. A flaky fish will fall apart in this recipe. 

Ingredients 

1kg (2.2lb) fresh Monkfish fillets or other firm white fish
50g (2 oz) salted butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 400g (12oz) tin Italian (Roma) peeled, crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree (concentrate)
1 white/brown onion
2 shallots
½ tsp each dried parsley and thyme, combined

1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of plain white flour of choice
Half a bottle dry white wine
1 cup fish stock
60ml (2oz) cognac
½ handful fresh chopped coriander or basil, you choose
Small pinch cayenne pepper
3-4 threads saffron, (in New Zealand I use Mrs Rogers saffron available all over the country)
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Juice of half a lemon 

Method 

Coat the fish fillets lightly in flour, shake off excess. 

In a heavy-based cast-iron pan over a medium-high heat add the oil. When its warming up, about 30 seconds add the butter . Don’t let the butter burn.

Place the monkfish fillets in the pan then add the cognac after about 30 seconds. 

Light the cognac with a flame and flambé for 1 minute or until the flame dies down, 30 seconds each side. 

Take the pan off the heat, place the fish aside in a separate, warmed dish/plate and set aside to rest. 

Reduce the heat to medium and finely dice the garlic, onion and shallots. Gently cook the garlic and onions in the flambéed saucepan for 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fish stock, white wine, herbs, cayenne pepper. Stir to combine and simmer gently until the sauce has reduced by half for about 20 minutes. 

Finally, add the pieces of fish to the sauce in the pan and cook for only a further 5 or so minutes. Just before serving, add fresh coriander and saffron, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rice or cauliflower rice for Paleo. 

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