Three Italian Recipes I Cook When I Don’t Know What to Cook

Christmas has passed, New Year is just there.

Lithuania is for me a land for experimenting new things and this blog is part of it. I often noticed that the Italian guy is usually the one who cooks and personally found it so thrilling every time.

Since it is quite I while I live abroad I had the occasion to assess which are the recipes I constantly keep cooking to cherish my Italian side and I decided to post them here. I went for a 50-50 and decided to talk about three different difficulties recipes (no photo of my dishes has been taken in the article).

Pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino

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All around the world, whether you run out of ingredients or you are just simply, genuinely hungry, you’ll boil pasta and pour something on it. Even though Italians are within the best pasta fans ever, they tend to pay much more attention on the something part then the rest of the world.

While your pasta is cooking (we would appreciate as a nation if you could do it like this), take one pan, put it on a soft flame, pour in it some olive oil (enough to gently coat the bottom of your pan). Immediately after add some finely chopped garlic and a pinch of dried chili pepper (I use the one from my family’s garden in Italy, but you could also chop some fresh chili pepper or even dry some and keep it for any starving emergency).

When the garlic gets lightly brown, turn off the flame. In a while your pasta will be ready. You mix all together and ta-dah: pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino is there!

Squid with beans or peas

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Yes, it is hard to find good quality fresh fish in Lithuania, but you can always rely on the good old frozen white squid people eat boiled with lemon when they do not really love themselves. In Italy we do it differently (or my mother does it so).
In a big pot you pour some olive oil with salt and pepper. After having chopped some garlic and onions you mix all together and you light the flame.
When onions get translucent it’s time for the squid to dive in (possibly not cut in rings).
When the squid gets softer (after around 10 minutes) it’s time for a glass of white wine (beer will do the job fairly enough).

After another 5 minutes (good cooks say “when alcohol evaporated”) you will pour in it canned beans or frozen peas. In case you have chosen the latter, be careful, because according to science overcooked peas are the first reason why people do not like peas.

Pumpkin Lasagna

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When we think about how lasagna looks like we all have in mind the classical red pasta brick in a crispy brown coat.  Forget about it. The idea behind all of it is that lasagna is a concept and that, yes, you can interpretate it in so much different ways. Mine is to prepare in a pan olive oil, garlic, salt, chili pepper (and rosemary when my wife is not around) and to cook in it pumpkin in big quantity!

The second ingredient of my lasagna with pumpkin is bechamel sauce (as easy as useful for so much recipes that you could even learn how to make it here).
Now, as every successful thing in life, it will be a matter of repetition.
The third ingredient of my lasagna is dried flat pasta sheets.

The magic can begin.

You butter your baking tin and pour in it a drop of your bechamel sauce (this is like when Michelangelo started sculpting David from a massive marble rock).
Once you the bottom of the baking tin  will be covered with the partly boiled pasta sheets pour your cooked smashed pumpkin, add some of the bechamel sauce and go with the fourth ingredient!
Good cooks would say mozzarella and parmigiano and this is what lasagna academics would accept in a perfect world, but we all live in reality and my recipe says (almost) all the cheese you have in fridge.

Keep repeating the process until you join the top of the baking tin. Then, you will cover the newly born lasagna with loads of cheese and bechamel sauce. Pour this miracle in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees and enjoy.

In case you would like to follow my posts further or to discuss anything with me (ok, almost anything) feel free to follow me on Linkedin or to send me an email on prtg.blog@gmail.com, nobody knows what could come out of it!

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