Tagliatelle al Ragu’!

Hi friends!

Again (for like the 4th post in a row..), I apologize greatly for making you all wait eagerly for my next post…here it is!

So, quick update: I have been super busy the last two weeks! My spring break was two weeks ago and my mom visited for it! It was SO great to have her here (and I’m not just saying that because I know she will see this…hi mom!). We travelled Italy, stopping over briefly in Bologna and Piacenza and spent two nights in Venice. Then, we drove over to Nice, France for two nights and then concluding the trip in Florence. It was all so beautiful! Venice is one of my favorite cities – so different from anywhere else in the world! They use boats for EVERYTHING – ambulances, delivery, taxis, everything.

And then there’s Nice, with it’s luxury hotels, beautiful beaches, and great shopping. We climbed up through this really cool park with a waterfall that led us to awesome panoramic views of the French Riviera. Breathtaking!

One of my favorite things, though, was being able to show my mom around Florence. Take her to my favorite spots, but experience some new places at the same time! We ate waaay too much food, but I wouldn’t take back a single bite. We were laughing the whole weekend and having a great time.

Then, last weekend, I spent Easter in the Amalfi Coast. We visitied Mount Vesuvius, Capri, Positano, and Pompei. Capri and Positano were so beautiful, and Pompei and Mount Vesuvius were just unreal. The fact that Pompei has been in ruins since 79 AD but still stands as much as it does just leaves you in awe. An awesome trip and one I will always remember!!

So, onto the recipe… this was my first go at making fresh pasta, so I basically took that over so I could learn. I was so surprised at how easy it is! I’m definitely purchasing a pasta maker when I get home. We used a manual one in class, but it was super quick and easy!

For the PASTA:

Ingredients:

  • 400g flour (you can use all semolina, we used 1/2 semolina, 1/2 regular flour)
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • pour the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the center, and break in the eggs.
  • mix the flour and the eggs with a fork and continue with your hands until the ingredients are well mixed
  • add more flour if necessary
  • knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, wrap it in transparent paper, and leave to rest 20-30 minutes
  • in the pasta machine, break into smaller pieces and pass through the pasta machine
  • cut the dough using the pasta machine or by hand

Directions for the SAUCE:

Ingredients:

  • 300 g of minced ground beef
  • 5 chopped ripe tomatoes, without skins or pips (or half a litre of tomato sauce)
  • one onion finely chopped
  • one carrot finely chopped
  • one stick of celery finely chopped
  • one cup of vegetable broth (made from boiling water with an onion, a carrot, and a celery stick)
  • 5 spoonfuls of EVOO
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Saute the chopped vegetables in the oil.
  • When they start to soften, add the minced meat and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often and adding broth little by little
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally
  • In the meantime, boil the pasta and when half cooked drain and pour together with the sauce
  • Cook on a low flame for about 10 minutes

Enjoy!! Look forward to checking back in soon!

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Risi e Bisi (Traditional Tuscan rice and peas soup)

Before I get into the food, I have to tell you all about VENICE (or Venezia, as the Italians call it). It is so amazingly beautiful I still can’t get over it. We went for Venice Carnivale, which is basically this long celebration before Lent where people dress up in fun and crazy costumes and masks and parade around Venice taking pictures with tourists, competing with other costumed people, and having a good time. Literally all my life Venice has been the one place that I have been dying to go to. So, when I found that my friends here wanted to go also and that we would be in Italy during Carnivale, I was beyond excited. Venice did not let me down, in fact it exceeded my expectations. My only complaint was that it was super crowded and the prices are a lot higher than in Florence because it’s mainly a tourist location.

Before going, I got a mask at the Central Market here in Florence and accidentally stumbled upon the indoor food vendor portion of the market. I was in awe! They have all sorts of meats and cheeses, every single type of dried fruit you could ever think of, fresh pasta, breads, produce, prepared foods, everything you could ever want. I’ve heard their sandwiches are really good, so I’ll definitely be going back for that sometime soon!

So, anyways, in my Italian Vegetarian Cooking class, we made two types of traditional Tuscan soup. We were split into groups and each group was assigned a soup to make. My group was assigned Risi e Bisi and it came out so so well and was really easy to make! The recipe probably made a solid 8 servings, so I would definitely cut the recipe if I make it again at home. Also, I apologize to my American followers for the metric measurements..it’s how the recipe came.

photo (7)

Ingredients:

  • 400 g Originario rice
  • 1 kg frozen peas (unless they’re in season, then use fresh)
  • 50 g EVOO
  • 50 g butter
  • 100 g parmesan cheese, grated
  • vegetable stock, as needed
  • 100 g white onion, diced
  • parsley to taste, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • saute the onion in a half of the oil and add half the butter
  • add peas and 1 ladle of stock, simmer for 2 minutes
  • and the rice and cover the mixture with stock
  • season with salt and pepper and simmer to cook the rice completely (it will be consistency of more of a risotto or a thick soup)
  • once the rice is soft, take it off the heat and add the parmesan cheese, parsley, and the rest of the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the butter is completely melted and everything is evenly mixed.
  • Serve it hot in bowls and enjoy!!

Tuscan Rice and Peas Soup

I’ll check back in very soon to post about some of my favorite places in Florence thus far! And I’ll keep the recipes coming!