HOW TO COOK POLENTA

The typical way to prepare polenta is using the bramata yellow flour, a powder obtained from the grinding of coarse grain corn. The polenta bramata, typical of all of Northern Italy and in particular of the Bergamo and Verona areas, is made with this type of flour which exists, both yellow and white, also in a pre-cooked version designed to speed up preparation times. It is a velvety polenta, excellent to accompany meat, sausage and mushroom dishes on the table, but the long-cooked maize flour is rather hard and coarse-grained,

the so-called “fioretto”, typical especially of Veneto and Friuli is used to make polenta, creamy, soft and delicate, but also to prepare cakes, biscuits and breadcrumbs, it is made through a very fine grinding. The maize used can also be wholegrain or mixed with buckwheat, as in the recipe of polenta taragna, characterized by a slightly acidic taste given it by dark flour: its heterogeneous grinding gives it a rustic consistency and a flavor particularly suitable for seasonings based on of butter and cheese.

Finally, white corn flour is obtained from white corn and its delicate taste is perfectly combined with less robust flavors, such as fish. its heterogeneous grinding gives it a rustic consistency and a flavor particularly suitable for butter and cheese based sauces. Finally, white corn flour is obtained from white corn and its delicate taste is perfectly combined with less robust flavors, such as fish. its heterogeneous grinding gives it a rustic consistency and a flavor particularly suitable for butter and cheese based sauces. Finally, white corn flour is obtained from white corn and its delicate taste is perfectly combined with less robust flavors, such as fish.

These flours can be found quite easily on the market, at any time of the year, but, unless you can get a pre-cooked one, you may not have the time to dedicate yourself to preparing a good dish of polenta. Maybe some friends came over for dinner suddenly, or you came back late from work and you have little time to cook, but the desire to offer a hot and tasty dish is great. What to do in these cases? You can always rely on a good instant polenta in an envelope, easy to find in supermarkets and quick to prepare, a great meal saver that should never fail in the pantry and with which you can give life to numerous polenta recipes capable of satisfying everyone’s palate !

If you are in 5 or 6 people, boil 1.5 l of water in a non-stick pan together with 1 tablespoon of salt and then, as soon as it begins to boil, pour 300 g of polenta into a bag by rain, mixing it thoroughly with the help of a wooden spoon or a manual whisk to avoid the formation of lumps and continuing to turn the mixture, over low heat and without a lid, for about 10 minutes. When the polenta appears dense, pour it still boiling on a tray and season to taste with 80 g of melted Santa Lucia butter or with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan, or with the sauce or sauces which you prefer. Perfect as a single dish but also ideal to accompany cold cuts or full-bodied meat dishes, the polenta, thanks to its full but at the same time delicate flavor, manages to marry perfectly with many different condiments and ingredients. Seeing is believing!

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Figs are fruits with a summer flavor

To make dried figs at home, first of all you need to have a shelf on which you can crush them, being careful not to break them. Then cover them with a cotton cloth, leave them in a cool place and not exposed to the heat of the sun, turning them around every 6 hours and moving them at night on a shelf indoors and without humidity.

For dehydration it will be necessary to wait from 3 to 7 days depending on the more or less humid climate and until they become dark and dry to the touch.

Dried figs are delicious to eat accompanied by honey or cheese or coated with melted chocolate and left to harden in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

If you want another idea, you can stuff the dried figs with toasted almonds, placing them on a baking sheet and putting them in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes at 180 °.

To prepare dried figs with baked almond filling, follow this simple recipe. After cleaning the figs, make a side cut to insert an almond inside them. Take a baking sheet covered with baking paper and lay the dried figs stuffed after placing them in long wooden sticks. Leave them in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes at 180 ° and serve.To prepare caramelized figs, here is a delicious recipe to try. The necessary ingredients are: 1 kg of green figs; 200 g of cane sugar; 30 almonds; 1 lemon; the rind of 1 lemon; 2 cinnamon sticks.

After washing and cleaning the figs, removing the stem, insert an almond for each fig through a cut made on the side but without dividing the two halves completely.

Put them on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with sugar and grate the lemon rind. Cover the pan with a cloth and leave them to macerate overnight. At this point put the macerated figs in a saucepan and boil them for about 1 minute. Then, cook them in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes at 180 °.

And now it’s time to show you how to make a really delicious cake : the caramelized fig cake .

To make this recipe, just prepare the pastry or use a ready-made one.

The sufficient ingredients for 4 people are: 180 g of semolina; 1 packet of thin 230 g short pastry; 1 l of whole milk; 100 g of sugar; a knob of butter; 2 eggs; 1 lemon; 100 g of almonds; 100 g of fig jam.

Cook the semolina, milk and sugar in a saucepan, mixing everything until it becomes a thick mixture. Chop the almonds after having peeled them and pour them into the mixture together with the eggs, the knob of butter and the grated lemon rind, then continue mixing the mixture to obtain a thick and smooth cream.

Cover a cake tin with the short pastry and pour the cream. At this point, close the cake with strips of shortcrust pastry arranged vertically and horizontally to form a tart and cook for about 40 minutes in the oven at 180 °.

Meanwhile put the jam in a saucepan with the lemon juice. Once baked the cake pour the jam and add the caramelized figs as decoration.

Caramelized figs can also be prepared in the microwave oven set at maximum power for about 7 minutes: put them in a glass dish and wet them with a mixture of water and sugar before cooking them.

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HOW TO COOK WITHOUT OVEN

Among the most popular baked pasta dishes there are certainly lasagna with ragu sauce and bechamel and stringy mozzarella or vegetables. Not only can this recipe be among the unique dishes, but it can also be transformed into an easy to cook preparation, even reducing cooking times.

Take a fairly large pan and get all the ingredients to make tomato, eggplant and zucchini lasagna : 300 g of pastry in sheets; 600 g of peeled tomatoes; 2 zucchini; 1 eggplant; 1 clove of garlic; 1 mozzarella; 1 tablespoon of grated cheese; salt and extra virgin olive oil to taste

Start by browning the garlic in a pan with a little olive oil and then pour the peeled tomatoes, cook for 10 minutes and salt. In another pan cook the washed and sliced ​​zucchini for 15 minutes and the diced aubergine with 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt. Pour 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce into a pan, which will serve as a base for the lasagna, place a layer of pastry on top and distribute a little tomato sauce and some eggplant and zucchini. Continue until all the ingredients are used up and finally sprinkle with slices of mozzarella and grated cheese. Pour a little water along the edges of the pan, then cover with a lid and cook over low heat for 45 minutes.
Especially in the summer season, when the outside temperature is high and the heat is felt, turning on the oven can become a problem since the kitchen is likely to overheat even more. But if you want pizza, why not try cooking it in the pan? Among the fastest and most popular pizzas is the margherita , to be cooked with extra virgin olive oil, tomato and mozzarella.

In a bowl, melt a ball of yeast in about 300 ml of warm water. Add 500 g of flour and prepare the dough, which should be smooth, soft and elastic. A trick for optimal leavening: better not to put a pinch of salt in contact with the yeast. Cover the dough with a napkin and let it rise for at least 2 hours in a temperate environment, away from drafts. When the volume of dough is doubled, lay a thin oval base and place it in a well-oiled pan. Put the pizza on the stove, cover with the lid and cook until the bottom is golden. At this point turn it over and pour 3 tablespoons of peeled tomatoes flavored with a pinch of salt, oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the pizza. olive. After 10 minutes add 1 mozzarella cut into thin slices, then leave the pizza on the stove until the cheese has melted. Enjoy your meal!

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HOW TO MAKE SAVORY CROUTONS

Croutons can be a solution to prepare at the last minute for a dinner with friends or when the fridge is almost empty at home. It is enough to have some bread, it is also fine, and some other ingredients to give life to a tasty dish based on croutons. But the croutons are certainly not a last minute last resort, their combinations can be studied even before an informal aperitif. To serve among the starters of the buffet are in fact excellent finger foods, easy and quick to prepare and can have endless variations, to be combined with bruschetta with polenta and focaccia, savory croutons and puff pastry swivels . Give free rein to your imagination and experiment with all your ideas in the kitchen!

To make croutons you need a kind of homemade bread with a long slice to be divided in half, like bread, just to understand, with which you make bruschetta. Products that are on the market already packaged, such as crumbled bread, can also be used to toast in a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and flavored with garlic or with aromatic herbs such as rosemary and oregano. If you choose to use the slices of bread cut in half or in a rectangle it will be necessary to make them crispy in a preheated oven for a few minutes. If you are in a hurry, take advantage of the toaster. Even in the pan the bread will be crunchy, but it will be a little softer than the bread made in the oven.

Most croutons are seasoned with spreadable sauces or with cheese-based creams, such as ricotta, robiola or stracchino. With a cream cheese based mousse, for example, you can combine ingredients such as sausage and other cured meats, all kinds of pickled vegetables, mushrooms, artichokes, peppers, aubergines and dried tomatoes or even fruit like apples and pears and dried fruit such as the walnuts.

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HOW TO MAKE ROLLED PIZZA

Despite its American origins, the rolled pizza has the typical flavors and aromas of Naples and more generally of Mediterranean cuisine, with a typical pizza dough that will then be stuffed with the most disparate ingredients before being rolled up on itself. Its preparation is simple and quick, especially if you already know how to make pizza at home. Do you need a quick reminder?

In the bowl of the kneader with a hook, pour 300 ml of water, 5 g of crumbled brewer’s yeast and 500 g of type 0 flour little by little, then start to knead. When the mixture begins to uniform and take on the soft and sticky consistency of a batter, add 10 g of salt, a pinch of granulated sugar and 20 ml of extra virgin olive oil, then continue to work with the mixer for 2-3 minutes, until a smooth and homogeneous mixture is formed. At this point let the mixture rest for 15 minutes, covered with a damp cloth, then work it another 1 minute. Repeat this operation again, with another 15 minutes of rest and a last fast turn in the mixer, then transfer the dough into a large container, cover it with its lid, with the transparent film or the damp cloth and place it in a warm place, leaving it to rest and rise for at least 1 hour, if it is summer, and maximum 2 hours, if it is winter, or in any case until it has doubled its volume. After the time necessary for leavening has passed, transfer the pizza dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out finely with a rolling pin, giving it the shape of a rectangle.

Are you looking for some more advice to leave nothing to chance? If you want to replace the yeast with the sourdough remember to add it in a proportion 1: 5 compared to the flour, then for 500 g of flour you will have to add 100 g of sourdough. Let the dough rise at the ideal temperature of 28 °, but if it is not possible, just never go below 25 ° and place the container with the pizza dough in a place away from possible temperature changes. Try to add salt to the dough away from the yeast to avoid the risk of burning it, compromising the success of the recipe. And now start thinking about the stuffing!

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HOW TO USE COFFEE IN THE KITCHEN

Coffee in the kitchen should be counted among the spices rather than drinks, given its ability to create or flavor the most diverse recipes in a truly unique way. But what are the rules to follow to cook with coffee and to experiment with unusual combinations and dishes that amaze your guests?

First of all, always remember that coffee has an intense taste, so it is important to use it and balance it with extreme care together with the other ingredients so as not to risk spoiling the flavor of an otherwise great dish. Start by adding very little at a time and often tasting the recipe in order to understand whether to stop or continue with the addition of this tasty ingredient with a strong and decisive taste.

When using coffee powder consider that its grain is generally coarse and not too finely ground so if you don’t want its intense aroma to overpower the other flavors, grind it again to make it thinner and less intrusive inside the dish go and prepare. Choose a coffee with a more delicate taste and preferably a 100% Arabica type, or a mix with a particularly vigorous taste or a monocultivar product, that is obtained from a single variety of coffee beans: these first basic tricks will be enough to accompany your recipes to coffee to excellent chances of success.

Prefer delicate mixtures with a good quantity of arabica, if you want to use coffee for the preparation of appetizers, first courses or maybe to give life to a delicious coffee mousse with which to brighten the dessert of a dinner with friends. Instead, if you want to make meat with this extraordinary ingredient, choose more intense and robust blends without fear. Do you want to dare a combination with fish recipes? Then opt for a more fruity and aromatic coffee and, in any case, always pay close attention to its toasting level, choosing in this case a lighter and therefore less toasted and less bitter coffee.

In fact, even roasting has its importance in the preparation of a recipe: a less roasted coffee is also more acidic and therefore more suitable for particularly substantial dishes, such as a stuffed pork roast , while a dark and therefore very toasted coffee it goes very well, with its strong taste, to dishes based on game and black meat. And that’s not all: from roasted ingredient, in fact, coffee is easily combined with equally roasted products and foods, or smoked and roasted, such as toasted nuts, speck, crispy pancetta or smoked fish marinated in lemon juice . Now that you have a clearer overview of which type of coffee to choose for your recipes, all you have to do is prepare it!

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