Pasta & Pizza

Focaccia

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Here is a wonderful recipe that everyone will love: focaccia. This italian bread is a real pleasure for the taste buds and eyes. I’ve made this bread so many times in so many ways and it always turns out great. And it goes well with pretty much everything so it’s impossible to go wrong. Use sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic or just keep it simple with olive oil and herbs. Serve it for breakfast, as a side dish or appetizer. It always works great. I made this bread for my hungry friends and they loved it 🙂 Traditionally a lot of olive oil is used, but if you don’t like it oily then use less. Also try to use fresh herbs but if you don’t have any, dried are fine too. Oh so delicious…

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Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 3 cups flour (450-500gr)
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water

For the topping

  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • chilli flakes or paprika powder

In a bowl, mix water, yeast and sugar. Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it up. Knead the mixture for 5-10 minutes or until the dough doesn’t stick anymore (add more flour when necessary). Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and set aside for 30 minutes. Oil the bottom of a baking tray and transfer the dough to it. Spread the dough with your hands. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Press your fingertips in the dough and make dimples. Brush the top with olive oil and herbs and bake your focaccia in a preheated oven at  225°C for about 20 minutes.

Buon appetito 😉

Couscous

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If there is a dish from the Maghreb which is known worldwide, then it is definitely couscous. It is also one of the most requested recipes on my blog. It’s very delicious, very easy to make, not to mention very healthy. People often confuse couscous with tabbouleh but tabbouleh is made with bulgur, which is a whole grain whereas couscous is made with semolina flour like pasta and thus is not a grain.  Couscous can be prepared with all kinds of meat but traditionally it is prepared with lamb or chicken. I’m not very fond of meat myself, so I skipped the meat but feel free to add whatever you like. I know this is not the proper way of making couscous but it’s certainly the easier way so give it a try!

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Ingredients:

  • 1,5 cup couscous (300 gr)
  • 1 zuchini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 1 or 2 potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 4 cups of water (2 for the couscous, 2 for the sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron powder
  • 1 handful parsley (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop up the vegetables. In a large pan heat 3 tablespoons of oil and sauté the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir. Add the potatoes and carrots and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (the chickpeas and spices at the end). Season with salt and pepper and pour 2 cups of water over it. Let the mixture cook for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl add boiled water to the couscous. Set aside for 10 minutes and let it fully absorb the water. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix well. Use a fork or your hands to separate the grains. Place couscous on a plate and pour the mixture on top of it. Garnish with parsley if you like.

Good to know:

  • don’t cook the vegetables too long
  • don’t put in too much cumin

bon appétit 😉

Penne Arrabbiata

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I love pasta (all kinds of it) but there is nothing so good as a good penne Arrabbiata. It is one of my favourite pasta recipes. A good penne Arrabbiata is hot (very hot in my case). The name actually explains why it’s eaten hot and spicy. In Italian, arrabbiata means ‘angry’, referring to the added chili peppers or chili flakes in it that gives its nice spicy taste. I prepared this dish yesterday to a friend of mine and she just loved it. Now it’s up to you…

Ingredients:

  • 500g penne
  • 3 garlic cloves  (4 for garlic lovers)
  • 2 onions (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (or passata di pomodoro)
  • 2 teaspoons sambal (optional)
  • 1 chili pepper (or 2 teaspoons chili flakes)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan cheese (or any other cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in salted water, drain it and put it back in the same pot. Chop the onions, garlic cloves and chili pepper into small pieces. Take a saucepan and put olive oil in it, let it heat and add one by one your chopped vegetables (starting with the onions). Let them fry for a few minutes and add the tomato paste and sambal to it. Season with salt and pepper (and chili flakes) and mix. Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir for a few seconds on high heat. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese (I forgot to take a picture with the cheese, but I’m sure you get the picture) on top and garnish with fresh basil.

Serve with salad!

Buon appetito! 😉

Pasta al pesto

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This will probably be my last post this month before heading to Spain. I promised a friend that I would post a pasta recipe. So, to keep my promise behold the first pasta recipe of my blog: Pasta with pesto. The picture isn’t pretty but hey I’m not a professional photographer 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Pasta (I prefer linguine or tagliatelle)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves
  • bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • handful of pine nuts
  • salt and pepper
  • pasta cheese (optional)

Mix the pine nuts, garlic cloves and basil leaves in a food processor. Mix until you get a smooth consistency. Take your sauce in a bowl and add olive oil and salt and pepper to it. Cook the pasta. Drain it and place it back on the heat. Mix with the pesto mixture. Stir a couple of times (to cut the overwhelming smell of garlic) and add the parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and remove from heat. As you wish you can garnish it with pasta cheese (a mix of mozzarella, emmental and gouda).

Serve with salad!

Buon appetito!

Homemade pizza

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There is nothing like a good homemade pizza. It’s easy, cheap, healthy (ok maybe it’s not that healthy but it’s healthier than the ones you buy outside), but above all it’s delicious 🙂 Since the picture I took wasn’t really good, I used an old picture that a friend of mine took months ago.

Ingredients

  • For the dough: 21gr of fresh yeast, 2, 5 cups of flour, 1 cup of lukewarm water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, oil.
  • For the sauce: 1 clove of garlic (optional), olive oil, tomato paste or tomatoes , salt and black pepper.
  • For the topping: Whatever you like! I used onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, black olives and basil.

Dissolve the yeast in a bowl with water. Add the flour, salt, sugar and oil to the mixture and knead for about 15 minutes until you get a smooth dough. Cover the dough with a towel and leave it to rise for 30 minutes. Divide the dough in 2 balls. Roll them out into pizza shapes and cover with tomato sauce.  Sprinkle some cheese, put your preferred toppings on it and before you put it in the oven sprinkle more cheese on it. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for about 20 minutes. Don’t overload your pizza with toppings otherwise it won’t cook.

Buon appetito! 🙂