Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guest Post: Orrechiette al Forno

It is with great pleasure to introduce you all to Justyna from Love Lives in The Kitchen and so it does. She is delightful, She is Polish married to an Italian and lives in Milan. Her blog is filled with great food and family recipes long passed down and great pictures of life, its food for the soul.

A while back Lisa did a great guest post using Orrechiette pasta (little ears) and Italian Sausageand Justyna told me this pasta is made in her husbands home town. So of course I asked her for a recipe, what a treat to learn from her and her Husband about this wonderful pasta. I can't wait to make this and I know you will all be doing the same!!

Hello, this is love lives in the kitchen or Justyna, the editor of love lives in the kitchen. I’m honoured to post a recipe on one of my favourites food blogs – chow and chatter… just yummy and very inspiring J

I prepared for you something typical form the south of Italy, more precisely form Apulia. I’m not Italian (Polish) but married with an Italian (from Apulia) who doesn’t cook at all but loves (and always asks for) the Italian traditional food. For that reason when I came to Milan 4 years ago I just had to learn starting from scratch… and here I am to cook pasta everyday. Thanks heavens I love it too J

So, today’s recipe is “orecchiette al forno” (orecchiette from the oven) with tomato, mozzarella and grana padano (or parmigiano) cheese. You can also use gnocchi if you prefer: both are perfect for this recipe.

You will need (for 4 portions):

- 400g (14 oz.) of fresh orecchiette

- 500g (17,5 oz.) of fresh tomatoes or a tin of tomato sauce

- 200g (7 oz.) of fresh mozzarella

- 5 tablespoons of grated grana padano or parmigiano + some more at serving

- garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

- few basil leafs

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). If you use fresh tomatoes immerse them for few seconds in the boiling water and take off the skin.
  2. Cut mozzarella in small cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil together with few garlic cloves. When the garlic becomes brown remove it from the pan.
  3. Add the tomatoes (fresh or tomato sauce) to the oil and cook under cover on a small fire for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and few chopped basil leafs (if you wish). Cook orecchiette in salty water less than you would cook them usually (for fresh orecchiette 4 minutes will be enough, for the dry ones about 10-11 minutes).
  4. The orecchiette must be “al dente” (not too soft) as they will soften in the oven. Mix strained orecchiette with the tomato sauce and add mozzarella cubes.
  5. Put the pasta in the baking pan (I always use the ceramic one) and sprinkle generously with grana/parmigiano (I prefer grana, it’s sweeter and more delicate). Put in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve very hot and sprinkled with grana/parmigiano.

Enjoy the orecchiette with a glass of good red wine. What are you waiting for? A tavola!

and the lovely Claudia of Journey of an Italian cook and Mimi of Mimi's Kitchen both gave me this award love to you both, Rebecca

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