Sunday, 30 June 2013

Neapolitan Spicy Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

The first Gino book I brought was entitled Buonissimo and I was enticed by the low sale price at WH SMITH (was £5 at the time) and that Gino was very popular Let's Do Lunch on ITV serving up delicious Italian meals on his show with Mel Sykes. I now have three Gino cook books (The Italian Diet and Gino Pasta) and can honestly say that I have not cooked a recipe that did not taste delicious. What intrigued me about this recipe, is the use of salami in the meatball mixture and how this would taste as I have only made meatballs using one meat before. The meatballs were delicious and very easy to make. Here is how they turned out:
Neapolitan spicy meatballs.

Neapolitan spicy meatballs.

Recipe for Neapolitan spicy meatballs in tomato sauce.

500g minced beef
100g salami, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
70g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 x 720g bottles of passata (sieved tomatoes)
4 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper

Combine the minced beef, salami, garlic, breadcrumbs, chili flakes and Parmesan in a large bowl. Season with salt and break the egg. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with your hands and shape into 8 balls. Place on a plate and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the passatta into a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs for about 5 minutes until golden brown all over.
Place the meatballs in the tomato sauce and continue to cook on a medium heat for around 30 minutes with the pan half covered. Stir occasionally and, if the sauce gets too thick add a little water.
Serve the meatballs with the sauce and some freshly cooked pasta or plain rice.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Filetto al pepe con patate al forno and Rigatoni al Ragu Bianco

I love Gino D'acampo, he's amazing (and really good looking), and have been watching him over the last few years cooking up fantastic Italian food. I brought three of his books last year (The I diet, Buonissisimo and Pasta) with the hope of recreating authentic Italian food, similar to the food that I have eaten when I was in Italy. I have cooked several recipes from Buonissimo and the I diet, but not so much from his Pasta book (well I have only brought the pasta book in the Autumn). I prefer Gino's Buonissimo as the Italian food in this book is rich, tastes fantastic and filling, whereas the recipes in the I diet always leaves me hungry ..........
Here are my favourite three dishes from Buonissimo, filletto al pepe con patate (steak and chips) and Rigatoni al Ragu (rigatoni in white sauce) and Italian toad in the hole. 
Steak and chips
Pasta with white ragu
Italian toad in the hole
I remember WH Smith selling this book for £5 and think it makes an excellent addition to a cookbook collection. Here is the recipe for filletto al pepe con patate (Serves 2)
For the oven chips
2 Baking potatoes scrubbed and cut into chunky chips
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, un peeled and slightly crushed.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper

For the steak
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 fillet steaks, about 150g each
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 knobs of butter
2 tablespoons of Brandy (I skipped this ingredient)
2 tablespoons dry white wine (I skipped this ingredient)
50 ml of beef stock
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained
70 ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 220c/450f/gas mark 8
Place the potatoes, rosemary and garlic on a large non-stick baking tray. Drizzle over the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes until the chips are cooked through and crisp. Check and turn occasionally.
Meanwhile, rub the coarsely ground black pepper all over the steaks.
Heat the oil with the knob of butter in a medium frying pan. As soon as the butter stop foaming, add the steaks. Cook for 4 minutes on each side for a medium steak, or for 3 minutes if you like it rare. Transfer the steaks to a warm place, season with salt and set aside in a warm place for 3 minutes.
Pour the excess fat from the pan then add the brandy. Using a match or lighter, flame the alcohol. Allow the alcohol to burn off, then stir the pan, scraping the meat juices off the bottom of the pan. Pour the white wine and reduce by half.
Add the stock and continue to cook over a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is well reduced.
Stir in the peppercorns, the cream and the remaining butter. Cook for a further 2 minutes stirring continuously.
Pile the chips in the middle of two serving plates and top each one with the fillet steak. Pour over the sauce and serve immediately with a glass of dry red wine.


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