The Recipes - Main dishes

Aubergine stuffed with pork meatballs
Melanzane ripiene con polpettine

Serves 2
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

4 small round aubergines
100g cooked rice
½ red pepper, cut into 1/2cm dice
200g pork mince
1 slice stale bread
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons olive oil
Bunch of fresh parsley
Salt & pepper

Slice off the tops of the aubergines and with a spoon scoop out the inside.  Chop up the filling of the aubergine into 1/2cm dice and place in a frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and the diced red pepper.  Fry for 2-3 minutes until softened and then mix together with the cooked rice. Set aside until needed.  To make the meatballs, soak the bread with the milk and then add to the pork mince.  Season well with salt and pepper and add a tablespoon of finely chopped parsley.  Mix everything together well with your hands and then form small meatballs (with about one teaspoon of the pork mixture).  Fry the meatballs in a little olive oil until golden and then mix with the rice and diced vegetables. Rub a little olive oil inside the hollowed out aubergine and fill with the rice and meatballs.  Cover with foil and place in a preheated oven at 170ºC for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Serve hot.

Sardinia flat bread ‘pizza’
Pizza al pane carasau

Serves 2-4
Preparation time: 15 minutes + cooling time
Cooking time: 30 minutes

2 sheets of Sardinian flat bread (pane carasau)
125g buffalo mozzarella
½ red pepper
½ yellow pepper
2 tablespoons black olives
Dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil

Begin by roasting the peppers under a very hot grill until the skin begins to blister and blacken.  Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film.  When the peppers have cooled, peel off the skins and slice into thin slivers.  To assemble the pizza, place the two sheets of flat bread on a lined baking tray and top with the slivers of peppers, the olives and thinly sliced mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle over oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes.

TIP: Use ready prepared peppers in olive oil to save time and if you are unable to find pane carasau you could use one sheet of piadina bread.

Pan fried guinea fowl
Faraona in padella

Serves 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes

1 large guinea fowl
125ml dry white wine
1 tablespoons of sugar
A few tablespoons of olive oil
A sprig of sage and rosemary
2-3 cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper

Clean and chop the guinea fowl into pieces. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and add the garlic. Once browned, add the guinea fowl and fry for about five minutes until golden on all sides. Sprinkle the sugar over the fowl, add a sprig of sage and rosemary and season generously with freshly milled salt and pepper. Add the wine, turn down the heat and cover.

Allow the guinea fowl to simmer gently for about 20 minutes, turning every five minutes. The wine will have reduced almost completely by the time the guinea fowl is cooked.

Parsley, parmesan and pine nut crusted chicken breast
Petto di pollo con crosta di pinoli e parmigiano

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes

2 large chicken breasts
6-8 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
2 heaped tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 heaped teaspoon dried parsley
50g pine nuts, chopped
1 small egg
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally.  Do this by placing the chicken on a chopping board and running a very sharp knife horizontally through the meat.  Next, beat the egg in a bowl and add the chicken.  Make sure to coat the chicken well.  In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan and chopped pine nuts.  Remove a chicken breast from the beaten egg and place into the breadcrumb mixture.  Coat each side of the chicken well, pressing the meat down gently to make sure the crumbs stick firmly.  Coat the rest of the chicken. 

Add a little olive oil to a large frying pan and when hot place in the chicken breasts.  Cook the chicken over a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side, ensuring the chicken is cooked all the way through.  If it looks dry when you turn the chicken, add a little extra oil.  Once cooked drain the chicken on kitchen paper and then serve.

Mussels with chickpeas
Cozze e Ceci

Serves 4 as a starter
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

1kg live mussels in shell
450g cooked chickpeas
1 small red onion
150ml white wine
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of chili pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Place the olive oil in a large saucepan with the finely sliced onion and crushed garlic clove.  Sauté for a few minutes and then add the wine.  Once the wine comes to the boil add the mussels and cover.  Cook the mussels for around 2-4 minutes.  Shake the pan a few times during this time and when you take the lid off make sure the mussel shells have all opened.  If they haven’t, close the lid and cook for another minute.  Finally, add the chickpeas and stir through for 1 minute.  Ladle into serving bowls with a piece of crusty bread at the bottom to soak up all the juices and top with chopped parsley and a pinch of chili pepper.

Fish Soup
Zuppa di pesce

Serves 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

700g fish pieces (such as, sea bass, scorpion fish, monkfish, sea bream)
10 prawns
6 squid
500g mussels (already cleaned)
350g clams (already cleaned)
250ml finely chopped plum tomatoes
100g fresh peas
150ml dry white wine
2 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

For this recipe you will need a saucepan large enough to fit all the fish and shellfish with a tight fitting lid.  Begin by cleaning your fish – as above with the mussels.  Heat the olive oil in the pan with the garlic cloves (either left whole or crushed depending on taste).  Next add the fish pieces and the squid, which has been roughly chopped.  Cook these for a few minutes until just turning brown. Next add the white wine and allow this to evaporate for a minute.  Then add the tomatoes and peas, and allow these to simmer for about five minutes. Finally add the mussels, clams and prawns, cover with the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. When all the shells have opened the fish is cooked. Finish by adding the chopped parsley.  Serve immediately with bruschetta or crusty ciabatta bread.

Faraona ripiena
Stuffed guinea fowl

Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15-20 minutes

1 guinea fowl
100g fine breadcrumbs
100g grated parmesan cheese
150g Italian sausage
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 free-range eggs
100ml chicken stock
150ml white wine
1 tablespoon plain flour

First make the stuffing by heating the chicken stock and then pouring it over the breadcrumbs. Stir through and allow to cool.   Once cooled, add the parmesan cheese, Italian sausage which has been skinned and crumbled, the parsley and eggs.  Mix well.  The stuffing should be a little sticky, but if the mixture feels too wet just add a little more cheese or breadcrumbs. If it’s too dry, add a little more stock.

If the breastbone has been removed from the guinea fowl, place the stuffing on top of the breast meat, pull the skin over and secure with kitchen twine or bands.  If you haven’t boned the guinea fowl, simply place the stuffing in the cavity. Season the top of the guinea fowl with salt and pepper.

Place the guinea fowl in an oven dish, cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 1 hour 20-30 minutes. Take off the foil 20 minutes before the end of cooking to allow it to brown nicely.

When the guinea fowl is cooked, remove it from the oven, cover again with foil and allow it to rest while you make the gravy.  To make the gravy, place the roasting pan on the hob over a medium heat.  Add the wine, a splash of water and a roux which you have made by mixing the tablespoon of flour with a few tablespoons of water.  Stir rigorously to remove any lumps and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Finally strain the gravy into a serving jug.