There is nothing quite like Italian. It’s comfort food done right and it warms the soul whether it be with a simple salad or a generous bowl of pasta. Food is an Italian’s way to celebrate life and the moments it’s made up of. Their dishes are steeped in tradition and no other cuisine has quite the same passion, charisma and story behind it.
Discover how our friend and credible cook, Justine Schofield creates, delicious Italian dishes and get all the tips and tricks to make the perfect pasta!
So, hop in the kitchen, create some magic, gather the whole famiglia and celebrate life the Italian way.
An Italian kitchen is incomplete without a good quality mortar and pestle.
Justine’s tips to buying the right mortar and pestle:
Choose carefully when buying. It needs to have a smooth yet slightly rough interior to easily crush the ingredients.
Choose one that is rounded and the bigger the better! These are great for crushing spices, making guacamole, and my fave… bruising herbs to make pesto and salsa verde.
This mortar and pestle by quality brand David & Waddell is one kitchen essential I cannot live without!
Roasted chicken drumsticks with pesto beans
Time: 1 hour
8 chicken drumsticks
¾ cup white wine
6 garlic cloves, bruised
1 chili, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
2 knobs butter
2 cans of white beans, such as cannellini
3 spring onions, white part finely sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
½ cup green olives, halved
salt and pepper
1 bunch basil, leaves picked
1 clove garlic
1 good handful pine nuts
30g Parmesan, grated
70mL olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Pre heat the oven to 180C.
2. In a large baking dish add the chicken, wine, garlic, chili, bay leaves and butter. Season the dish with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Add the tomatoes 15 minutes before the chicken is cooked so they keep their shape.
3. To make the pesto, bash all the ingredients together using a mortar & pestle, grinding it until it forms a paste. Alternatively, you can use a food processor.
4. Drain and wash the beans. Add to a large bowl and combine with the onions, olives, avocado and pesto. Check seasoning.
5. Once the chicken is cooked. Rest for 5 minutes before serving with the bean salad, pan juices and the roasted tomatoes.
For the authentic look, try serving this dish using the CASA DOMANI 5PC FIRENZE PASTA SET.
How to make the perfect pasta:
• For the pasta dough, you can use both normal household flour as well as wholegrain flour, gluten free flour or flour made from durum wheat semolina. Different types of flours will require different amounts of liquids. Set some liquid aside and add it slowly for best results. Document your process so you can repeat it in the future.
• The dough is too moist if large lumps of dough remain stuck to the kneading spiral. Add flour by the teaspoon until it has formed a smooth, malleable dough that does not stick to the sides or the kneading spiral.
• The dough is too dry if it has a powdery, grainy consistency and breaks into small chunks. Add more liquid (water or vegetable juice) by the teaspoon until it has formed a smooth, malleable dough that no longer sticks to the sides or the kneading spiral.
• The dough should be evenly kneaded, and slightly moist to form a soft malleable dough. The dough should have a consistency which is not too dry or too moist.
• Vegetable juices made, for example, from spinach, carrots or tomatoes are ideal for adding colour and nutrients to your pasta.
• If you add a little bit of olive oil to the pasta dough, it will slide better through the pasta machine.
• Sprinkle flour on your pasta directly as it emerges from the pasta machine and place it separated on a smooth floured surface to dry. This will prevent the pasta from sticking together.
• Cooking time for fresh pasta is much shorter than for dried pasta from the supermarket; 2-4 minutes is usually sufficient. Thinner pastas, however, may require an even shorter cooking time. We recommend you check the pasta at regular intervals until the pasta is “al dente”.
• Fresh pasta can be kept for 1-2 days in the fridge and frozen in the freezer for as long as 6 months.
• To stop the pasta from sticking, you should lay the pasta out to dry for 1-2 hours before you store it in the fridge or freeze it.
SMITH+NOBEL PASTA MACHINE
And to finish, we have the perfect way to serve all things Italian…