Sweet Potato Italian Gnocchi (or Pumpkin/Squash) – Super easy and egg-free!

These delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage are so awesome and have so much flavour that you might want to make them every week! And they’re so simple with very few ingredients (egg-free!) and quick to make too! A keeper I would say!


Sweet potato gnocchi squash pumpkin italian

In Italy the most common Gnocchi are made with potato (follow this link for my best rated Potato Gnocchi recipe ever) but you can find them made with lots of other ingredients such as spinach, beetroot, squid ink, nettle, chestnut flour, cocoa powder and so on.

My favourite Gnocchi are made with “Zucca” (pron. zouh-kkuh) and that is the word we use to call every kind of pumpkin or squashes. So when you find an Italian recipe with pumpkin as an ingredient you need to remember that we may call it pumpkin but we use only those sweet or super sweet varieties that you mostly call squash (like Kabocha squash or the Italian wrinkled Butternut squash that is sweeter than the smooth one).

So if you are in Italy you won’t have any problem in finding the right one, they are all almost sweet, whether green or orange, and just when we are near Halloween you can find those round and big to make Jack O’ lantern, that are used only as a decoration.

best authentic italian gnocchi

When in January I moved to Brighton UK I was so sad that all the Butternut squashes were not sweet as the ones we have in Italy and I thought I couldn’t replicate all the delicious Italian “Zucca” recipes, until I found the orange Sweet Potato… uh, what a relief! It’s really a perfect substitute! (I didn’t know that kind of variety, because in Italy we have only the white sweet potato that differs from the orange one).

So if you want to make Squash Gnocchi that taste like the Italian ones use orange Sweet Potato, the vitamin A bomb!!!

Ok, now explanation apart, let’s get to the recipe!

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1 1/3 cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1 1/2 cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes. For me this is the best cooking method because most of the water will evaporate in the cooking process and this will prevent to use too much flour in the dough thus avoiding rubbery Gnocchi. If you don’t have a microwave, bake them unpeeled until fork tender.

sweet potato steamed

The puree doesn’t have to be wet so, if needed, you can simmer it over medium heat until the “juices” boil off, but if you follow the microwave method you won’t have any problems.

Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.

sweet potato mashed pumpkin squash

Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and 3/4 flour (150 gr). Do not over mix.

squash gnocchi dough parmigiano nutmeg cinnamon

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky.

It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though! Adding more flour it certainly improves the workability of the dough, but it makes the Gnocchi too firm or can I say rubber ball? Nah, you don’t want that, do you?

sweet potato gnocchi dough

Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form 3/4 inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.

sweet potato gnocchi rope

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation (this is a bit difficult to explain with words but there a lot of videos on the Web so you can watch them until I have time to make one by myself) but for Squash or Sweet Potato Gnocchi I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

sweet potato squash gnocchi italian

Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.

If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.

To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.

Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.

When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.

Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.

sweet potato squash pumpkin gnocchi italian

If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation. What a perfect balance of texture and flavour!

I’ve just finished writing this post and I’m really craving them again. Uh.. the downsides of blogging…

There’s nothing better than sitting in front of a plate of steaming hot Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Gnocchi, is it? And these are delicious pillows of Vitamin A… pure awesomeness!

best authentic italian gnocchi

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin/Squash) Italian Gnocchi - Super easy and egg-free!
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Delicious little dumplings made with sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash mash in the authentic Italian style, served with melted butter and sage.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 gr / 1 lb sweet potato or pumpkin/squash, cooked, well-drained and mashed (about 4 potatoes or 800 gr / 1.8 lbs raw squash/potato)
  • 100 gr / 1⅓ cup / 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese finely grated
  • 200 gr / 1½ cup / 7.0 oz all-purpose flour (preferably pastry flour)
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut the vegetables into little pieces and steam them in a microwave for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Put steamed/cooked vegetables in a big bowl and mash them with a fork of potato masher.
  3. Mix in Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and ¾ flour (150gr). Do not over mix.
  4. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. Add the remainder flour only if necessary and the dough is still sticky. It has to be soft and just a bit tacky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  5. Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form ¾ inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.
  6. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), and if you want you can lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation - I like to skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  7. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  8. If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.
  9. To cook Sweet Potato or Pumpkin/Squash Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.
  10. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  11. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  12. Put your favourite sauce over them, give a little stir and serve immediately.
Notes
If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

These are best served with melted butter and sage sauce (put butter in a pan, add sage, let simmer a bit and add cooked Gnocchi). I love to sprinkle some poppy seeds over for a little crunchy taste and for a lovely presentation.

Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce – the Great Italian Sauce!

AUTHENTIC BOLOGNESE SAUCE

You know that I’m always searching for best/perfect recipes, don’t you? Well, I’ve already told you in my Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce post what my favourite sauce for pasta was and I thought that my Mom’s Ragù was the best recipe ever, but recently I tried another one, just out of curiosity and to confirm my theory, and I was literally amazed!


ultimate best authentic bolognese sauce

This recipe is so perfect, rich and so delicious that I’m asking how couldn’t I ever imagined that? I tried many other recipes but no one satisfied me more than my mom’s recipe even if those were made by great grandmothers.

Now, look at the photo below… do I need to add more words to convince you???

authentic best tagliatelle bolognese sauce

Another reason why I was skeptical before trying this recipe is because it does not contain garlic. And I love garlic in Bolognese Sauce, it gives a wonderful taste. But this recipe is so tasty itself and is balanced in every part of it. So, garlic lovers, before adding some garlic, taste the sauce with pasta (not alone).

This Great Authentic Bolognese Sauce is heavier (more fats) than other recipes I shared with you, but worth everything, even your bikini, trust me. Next time you’ll make Tagliatelle you’ll want to try this one, really!

This is very simple to make too, just few easy steps and some time at home, but you don’t have to look constantly at the stove so you can do other things while it cooks.

best authentic bolognese sauce delicious

I use this recipe just for special occasions, such as when I have guests or on special Sundays, while for “daily” lunchtime I always use my Mom’s recipe because it’s “healthier” (if a Bolognese sauce can be called that ahah!) and has less fats so I can continue in following my diet. That’s why I don’t remove this recipe from the blog, because is still valuable.

best italian tagliatelle bolognese sauce

As I told you before in the other post, the secret for a special Bolognese Sauce, that we (italians) call Ragù (pron. Ruh-goo), is the long cooking time, 6 hours are best.

Yes, it can be ready after 2 hours but it will be just a sauce with some meat in it and very very bland.

People say that the habit of cooking meat for long hours is given by the fact that many years ago it was very tough, so long cooking times ensured a better tenderness to the meat, but I do not agree with that because when a Bolognese Sauce is cooked for at least 4 hours (or as I suggest 6), the meat along with olive oil, vegetables and tomato perfectly combine together to form a unique mouth-watering sauce, so there’s really a huge difference in the taste, not just in tenderness (the pictures below show the difference).

best bolognese sauce before

After 2 hours of cooking the sauce is watery, bland and the meat is whitish.

best bolognese sauce long hours

After 6 hours of cooking the sauce is dense and full of taste!

So this is the best Bolognese Sauce recipe I have ever ever ever eaten, period. If you know another recipe that is better than this one (I’m a bit skeptical but..), please let me know!!! It would be another huge discovery!

Enough said, now let’s move to the recipe!

italian grandma tagliatelle bolognese sauce

Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce *

* (adapted from Beniamino Baleotti’s Ragù alla Bolognese recipe, he works as a cook at Agriturismo Le Ginestre in Pianoro (Bologna). If you ever plan to go near there make sure to visit him and have a traditional lunch there or make a pasta course, he speaks Japaneese too! I made some adjustments to his recipe such as swapped out lard for butter, because for me the first one gives a too piggy taste.)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 4-6 hours
Yield: 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 gr / 1lb / 18 oz ground quality beef (94% lean if possible)
  • 300 gr / 2/3 lb / 10 oz ground quality lean pork meat (chuck/shoulder or loin)
  • 200 gr / 1/2 lb / 7 oz ground pork belly (skinned, raw/no seasoned)
  • 450 gr / 16 oz / 4 1/2 cups soffritto vegetables OR 2 medium onions, 3 carrots and 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 150 ml  / 2/3 cup red wine (no bubbles)
  • 600 gr / 1 1/4 lbs / 20 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 2 sage leaf
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions:

Heat oil and butter in a heavy, bottomed pot and fry ground pork belly until it’s brown and crispy (about 8-10 minutes).

Don’t skip this passage, it’s the key for a tasty sauce!!!

butter olive oil bolognese sauce

pancetta pork belly bolognese sauce

crispy pork belly bolognese sauce

crispy pancetta bolognese sauce closeup

Crispy pork belly

Add vegetables and fry them for about 10 minutes until they start to soften and color a bit (so vegetables are more savoury and sweet), scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally.

soffritto bolognese sauce

Mine were frozen

soffritto pork belly bolognese sauce

Add the remaining ground meat, breaking it up with a fork and cook until it’s browned all over (5-10 minutes) and all the water, that the meat releases, is evaporated.

soffritto pork belly meat bolognese sauce

seared meat bolognese sauce

Add red wine, give a stir and let the liquid reduce for 2-3 minutes or until you no longer smell alcohol.

red wine best bolognese sauce

Add tomato sauce, sage, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and cover the meat with some water.

tomato authentic bolognese sauce

Partially cover with a lid and simmer Ragù for at least 4 hours (6 is better), stirring occasionally (about every 1 1/2 hours). During that time, if you see that the sauce is drying to much add some water (not at the end of the cooking time though!).

Here’s a photo of the sauce after just 2 hours of cooking (watery and bland).

best bolognese sauce before closeup

That’s how the sauce has to look like after 6 hours of cooking:

best bolognese sauce after closeup

As you have read, there’re just few steps to follow. It’s not complicated at all, so on the next rainy Sunday have a try and let me know if it’s your best italian Bolognese Sauce recipe too! And don’t forget that Ragú can be used with every kind of pasta, not just Tagliatelle!

italian ragu bolognese sauce perfect tagliatelle

ultimate great authentic italian pasta sauce mouth watering tagliatelle bolognese sauce

Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce - the Great Italian Sauce!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The most delicious and authentic Bolognese sauce ever.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 gr / 1lb / 18 oz ground quality beef (94% lean if possible)
  • 300 gr / ⅔ lb / 10 oz ground quality lean pork meat (chuck/shoulder or loin)
  • 200 gr / ½ lb / 7 oz ground pork belly (skinned, raw/no seasoned)
  • 450 gr / 16 oz / 4½ cups soffritto vegetables OR 2 medium onions, 3 carrots and 2 celery stalks finely chopped
  • 150 ml / ⅔ cup red wine (no bubbles)
  • 600 gr / 1¼ lbs / 20 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 2 sage leaf
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil and butter in a heavy, bottomed pot and fry ground pork belly until it's brown and crispy (about 8-10 minutes).
  2. Add vegetables and fry them for about 10 minutes until they start to soften and color a bit (so vegetables are more savoury and sweet), scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally.
  3. Add the remaining ground meat, breaking it up with a fork and cook until it's browned all over (5-10 minutes) and all the water, that the meat releases, is evaporated.
  4. Add red wine, give a stir and let the liquid reduce for 2-3 minutes or until you no longer smell alcohol.
  5. Add tomato sauce, sage, bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and cover the meat with some water.
  6. Partially cover with a lid and simmer Ragù for at least 4 hours (6 is better), stirring occasionally (about every 1½ hours). During that time, if you see that the sauce is drying to much add some water (not at the end of the cooking time though!).

Milk-Braised Pork or Veal Loin with Fresh Herbs, Italian Style (Arrosto al Latte)

This is a family favourite recipe, very simple to make but amazingly good! The meat, pork or veal, comes out very tender and, although it takes quite some time to cook (but your constant attendance is not required), the milk, along with sage rosemary and garlic, reduces down to create a delicious brown sauce…. and has low calories!!!


milk braised pork veal loin roast arrosto maiale best italian herbs

Cooking meat in milk is common throughout north Italy because it results in moist meat and a flavorful sauce.
Here it’s called Arrosto al Latte (milk roast – pron. Rr-os-toh) even if it’s not cooked in the oven, in fact here we call something roast (especially meat) when it’s cooked over high heat and browned.

roasted pork veal loin milk italian herbs

In Tuscan the name for roast pork loin with ribs attached seasoned with rosemary, sage, garlic and pepper is Arista (R-east-uh). This derives, as Artusi said, from an ecumenical council held in Florence in 1430 to attempt to settle the differences between the Greek and Roman Churches, during which the Florentines served their guests this dish. The Greeks all began to exclaim, “Aristos!” (“the best” in greek) and the name stuck.
Arista in Tuscany is usually cooked with white wine instead of milk, but you can find both versions.

If you’re using Veal loin for this recipe, when it’s cold, you can cut it in very thin slices and cover them with the appropriate sauce to make a delicious “Vitello Tonnato” (Veal with Tuna Sauce – recipe in a next post)….. but if you don’t mind, you can use pork loin too to do this. 😀

Milk-Braised Pork or Veal Loin with Fresh Herbs, Italian Style (Arrosto al Latte)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking Time: ~2 hours
Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs / 1,3 kg boneless pork or veal loin, tied
  • ~10 sage leaves
  • 1 medium sprig of rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ~1 1/2 cup whole milk (for more info read the instructions)
  • salt and pepper to taste

pork loin italian herbs milk

Instructions:

Ask your butcher to tie the meat correctly before cooking or you can do this, it’s simpler as it seems (look at this accurate video for instructions).
This will ensure that the meat remains constant throughout the cooking process so that it cooks evenly and when you’ll cut the slices they’ll be uniform.

pork loin tied italian herbs milk

Season the loin well with salt and pepper (if you have Salamoia Bolognese or Seasonello Bologna salt use that).

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and brown loin on all sides. This is important for the flavor and for the tenderness of the meat (it will take about 10 minutes to ensure all the edges are golden).

pork loin roast italian herbs

Stir in rosemary, sage and garlic and pour the milk in with the meat until it reaches about half the loin.

pork loin roast italian herbs milk

When the milk comes to boil lower the heat to low and partially cover the pan with a lid.

pork loin roast italian herbs milk lid

Cook the loin for at least 2 hours, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. If you have an instant thermometer, insert it into the center of the meat and it should read 65°-70°C / 150°-160°F for a slightly pink center, while if you want the loin to be well done it should read 165°-175°F / 75°-80°C.
Remember to turn the meat once or twice during the cooking time.

milk braised pork veal loin roast arrosto maiale

I like the meat to be well done, as you can see from the photos below, so I cook it for 3 hours (before cooking, the meat was at fridge temperature).

Remove the meat and put over a cutting board to rest, loosely covered with foil to keep warm.

At this point, the milk sauce should be thick, curdled and in a nutty brown colour. If it’s not so thick or you like a more dense sauce you can add 1/2+ teaspoon of flour (paying attention to dissolve it very well) and boil the sauce for 2 minutes.

arrosto milk juice

Remove and discard garlic, rosemary and sage from the milk sauce.

Now the sauce is ready, but if you don’t like serving the roast with some chunks of coagulated milk in it (it’s not pretty but they will melt in your mouth), you can whisk the sauce with a hand mixer to obtain a smooth sauce.

milk braised pork veal loin roast arrosto maiale sliced

Slice the loin (tip: the meat is easier to cut when it’s fridge cold!), pour over the milk sauce and serve (if you find, upon slicing the meat, that you’ve undercooked it, slip the slices and sauce in a pan and bring to a simmer until cooked through).

milk braised roast arrosto maiale italian best

Usually the roast is better the next day, so that the loin has time to absorb the flavours from the sauce.

If you’re using this recipe to make Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce), just arrange the “dried” slices of roast on a serving plate and cover with the Tuna Sauce (in which you have whisked some milk sauce in – recipe in a next post).

When I cook this recipe I usually put the meat covered with foil in the fridge to chill, because this helps the cutting process, especially if you cut it in thin slices.

This recipe is very easy to follow, healthy and delicious, so it’s a keeper!

What’s you favourite recipe for Pork or Veal Loin?

milk braised pork veal loin roast arrosto maiale best italian

Milk-Braised Pork or Veal Loin with Fresh Herbs, Italian Style (Arrosto al Latte)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pork or Veal Loin cooked in a milky sauce, authentic Italian style.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2½ lbs / 1,3 kg boneless pork or veal loin, tied
  • ~10 sage leaves
  • 1 medium sprig of rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ~1½ cup whole milk (for more info read the instructions)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Tie the meat correctly before cooking.
  2. Season the loin well with salt and pepper (if you have Salamoia Bolognese or Seasonello Bologna salt use that).
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and brown loin on all sides.
  4. Stir in rosemary, sage and garlic and pour the milk in with the meat until it reaches about half the loin.
  5. When the milk comes to boil lower the heat to low and partially cover the pan with a lid.
  6. Cook the loin for at least 2 hours, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. If you have an instant thermometer, insert it into the center of the meat and it should read 65°-70°C / 150°-160°F for a slightly pink center, while if you want the loin to be well done it should read 165°-175°F / 75°-80°C.
  7. Remember to turn the meat once or twice during the cooking time.
  8. Remove the meat and put over a cutting board to rest, loosely covered with foil to keep warm.
  9. At this point, the milk sauce should be thick, curdled and in a nutty brown colour. If it's not so thick or you like a more dense sauce you can add ½+ teaspoon of flour (paying attention to dissolve it very well) and boil the sauce for 2 minutes.
  10. Remove and discard garlic, rosemary and sage from the milk sauce.
  11. Now the sauce is ready, but if you don't like serving the roast with some chunks of coagulated milk in it (it's not pretty but they will melt in your mouth), you can whisk the sauce with a hand mixer to obtain a smooth sauce.
  12. Slice the loin (tip: the meat is easier to cut when it's fridge cold!), pour over the milk sauce and serve (if you find, upon slicing the meat, that you’ve undercooked it, slip the slices and sauce in a pan and bring to a simmer until cooked through).

Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini

Chicken Liver Crostini, in Italian Crostini di Fegatini (pron. cross-T-knee D fay-guh-T-knee) or Crostini Toscani (slices of toasted bread with a rich and flavourful chichen liver patè), is the most classic and traditional dish you can find in Tuscany, usually served as appetizer. Every family or Trattoria has its own recipe but I had this one from a dear Tuscan friend of my parents in law and I think it’s the best I have ever eaten, so it’s a keeper!


tuscan chicken liver crostini fegatini pate

Well, all the recipes I write here in this blog are what I consider the best version of traditional recipes, but this is a recipe you REALLY have to make because it’s ABSOLUTELY delicious, especially if you’ve been to Tuscany and have fallen in love with this Crostini.

As I’ve already told you in a recent post, I don’t like eating any kind of liver except these two recipes in which liver is treated in a way that the bitter and “strange” taste goes away, so this recipe can be delicious for everyone and you could consider to put this patè into some mason jars (sterilized and vacuum sealed) as an original gift for anyone you care about.

Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 70 minutes
Yield: ≈20-40 crostini (it depends on the size of the toasted bread)

Ingredients:

  • 350 gr / 12 oz / 3/4 lbs chicken liver (make sure the bitter gall is removed)
  • 1/2 north italian sausage grounded (pork meat with black pepper, garlic and wine, not fennel, nor chili pepper nor anise) about 50-60 grams / 0.11-0.13 lbs
  • 75 gr / 3 oz ground quality beef or veal (94% lean if possible)
  • 15 gr / 0.50 oz anchovies paste (1/4 tube) or 4 filets
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 big sage leaves (or 4 little)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cup soffritto vegetables (50%onion, 25%celery, 25%carrot), finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vinegar-brined capers, well-drained (if you have salt-packed capers soak them in cool water for about 15 minutes rinsing them in several changes of water or they will be too salty)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • lemon zest of 1/2 lemon (just the yellow part) or few drops of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • thin slices of bread

Instructions:

Clean chicken livers and make sure the bitter gall is removed.

chicken livers

In a skillet over medium heat add butter and sage. Add chicken livers, salt to taste and sauté until brown. Remove from heat.

chicken livers sage butter tuscan crostini

In a large and heavy skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add soffritto vegetables (onion, celery and carrot) and sauté for a minute or two (pay attention not to brown them).
Add ground meat and let it brown few minutes, stirring when necessary. Add white wine, stir a little bit and when it’s reduced add anchovies paste or anchovies filets (in that case mash them with a fork) and capers.

soffritto capers anchovies paste tuscan crostini

At this point you may think that there are too much capers in there, but don’t worry because when everything is cooked and mashed you won’t feel any.

Add lemon zest, parsley and the cooked chicken livers (along with their juices and sage).

soffritto capers anchovies paste parsley tuscan crostini

soffritto capers anchovies paste parsley chicken livers tuscan crostini

Turn down to a simmer and leave to cook, half-covered with a lid, for about 1 hour (if the meat dry too much add some water).

chicken liver tuscan crostini cooking

Turn down to a simmer adding water if necessary.

Adjust with salt if necessary.

Now you have two choices: put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth or, according to tradition, cut everything with a knife or use a meat grinder helping you with vinegar (add vinegar even if you use a food processor).

(As you can see from the pictures below I used a food processor because you know I don’t have so much time…. and above all my husband couldn’t wait to eat it!)

Transfer again the patè to the skillet and cook for more 5 minutes, then it’s done!

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C, then switch it to the broil setting (switch on the grill). Bake bread slices until crisp and golden (few minutes) turning them once halfway.
You can use stale bread instead of toasting it, the important is that it has to be dry.

Spread a generous amount of cold or warm patè onto each bread slice, arrange them on a platter and serve immediately.

chicken liver pate bread

Some people like to soak the bread with hot broth and then spread with patè (I’ve never found that in a Trattoria), but I prefer hot toasted Crostini with warm patè.
Mmmmmmm yummy!!!!

Your chicken liver patè can be stored:
– into sterilized and vacuum sealed mason jars at room temperature for several months (avoid sunlight);
– into glass jars and in the freezer for a couple of months;
– into glass jars and in the fridge for a couple of days (a few more if the surface is covered with extra virgin olive oil).

tuscan chicken liver crostini fegatini pate

Did I tell you I absolutely love this perfect Chicken Liver Crostini recipe??? Did I tell you to try it??? Nooooo? Then HAVE a try!!!! It’s awesome!

Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Authentic Tuscan Chicken Liver Crostini, like Nonna would make. Better than those you eat in Trattoria!
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 350 gr / 12 oz / ¾ lbs chicken liver (make sure the bitter gall is removed)
  • ½ north italian sausage grounded (pork meat with black pepper, garlic and wine, not fennel, nor chili pepper nor anise) about 50-60 grams / 0.11-0.13 lbs
  • 75 gr / 3 oz ground quality beef or veal (94% lean if possible)
  • 15 gr / 0.50 oz anchovies paste (1/4 tube) or 4 filets
  • 1½ tbsp butter
  • 2 big sage leaves (or 4 little)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2½ cup soffritto vegetables (50%onion, 25%celery, 25%carrot), finely chopped
  • 2½ tbsp vinegar-brined capers, well-drained (if you have salt-packed capers soak them in cool water for about 15 minutes rinsing them in several changes of water or they will be too salty)
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • lemon zest of ½ lemon (just the yellow part) or few drops of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 2½ tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • thin slices of bread
Instructions
  1. Clean chicken livers and make sure the bitter gall is removed.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat add butter and sage.
  3. Add chicken livers, salt to taste and sauté until brown.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large and heavy skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Add soffritto vegetables (onion, celery and carrot) and sauté for a minute or two (pay attention not to brown them).
  7. Add ground meat and let it brown few minutes, stirring when necessary.
  8. Add white wine, stir a little bit and when it's reduced add anchovies paste or anchovies filets (in that case mash them with a fork) and capers.
  9. Add lemon zest, parsley and the cooked chicken livers (along with their juices and sage).
  10. Turn down to a simmer and leave to cook, half-covered with a lid, for about 1 hour (if the meat dry too much add some water).
  11. Adjust with salt if necessary.
Now you have two choices:
  1. put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth (add vinegar in the meanwhile)
OR
  1. according to tradition, cut everything with a knife or use a meat grinder helping you with vinegar.
-
  1. Transfer again the patè to the skillet and cook for more 5 minutes, then it's done!
  2. Spread a generous amount of cold or warm patè onto each bread slice, arrange them on a platter and serve immediately.
Notes
Your chicken liver patè can be stored:
- into sterilized and vacuum sealed mason jars at room temperature for several months (avoid sunlight);
- into glass jars and in the freezer for a couple of months;
- into glass jars and in the fridge for a couple of days (a few more if the surface is covered with extra virgin olive oil).

Potato Gnocchi: authentic, best and fool-proof recipe, firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy… simply delicious!

Stop looking elsewhere. Here you’ve found the best and fool-proof Gnocchi recipe ever. Yes, now you can make authentic Italian Gnocchi like a fine restaurant (or even better) with no fuss, I promise. (comments below can confirm that)


Potato Gnocchi best italian soft firm tender not chewy

If you don’t know what they are, Gnocchi (nyoh-k-kee) are a typical italian pasta, they can be prepared with different flours like semolina but the most popular are those made with potatoes.

Here in Italy you can easily find good quality fresh Gnocchi at the grocery store, but making them at home it’s always comforting…. especially when you’re stuck at home with your son ill and you have only some potatoes and eggs in your pantry, like me today 😀 .

I don’t like gum-like Gnocchi, they are too chewy for me, and I like to make them little, so when you eat them you can taste the sauce better, but they’re easy to make so you can choose the size you want – little Gnocchi are also called “Chicche” (kee-k-kay).

Have a try at them because is not the hardest pasta to make if you follow my instructions (as instead many people say that). Those which haven’t been successful in making gnocchi is just because they were in lack of information, trust me!

parmigiano reggiano discount

So here is my best version for delicious Potato Gnocchi!

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 30-40 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • 2/3 cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area

Gnocchi Ingredients

Instructions:

Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes. For me this is the best cooking method because most of the water will evaporate in the cooking process and this will prevent to use too much flour in the dough thus avoiding rubbery Gnocchi.

If you don’t have a microwave just rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don’t absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.

Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.

Let them cool a bit.

(If you cook potatoes in a pot with water wait the next day to make gnocchi or try to dry them a bit in the oven)

Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!

Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form 3/4 inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation (this is a bit difficult to explain with words but there a lot of videos on the Web so you can watch them until I have time to make one by myself) or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

potato gnocchi rolls

Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.

Let them rest for 15 minutes.

potato gnocchi best authentic

If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.

To cook Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.

Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.

When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.

Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

potato gnocchi ragu bolognese

As shown above, I used my Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce but they’re really good too with just a melted butter and sage sauce like I did for my son.

potato gnocchi butter sage

Potato Gnocchi: firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy... simply delicious!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best Authentic Italian Gnocchi recipe, fool-proof, easy and super delicious.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • ⅔ cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes.
OR
  1. Rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don't absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.
  3. Let them cool a bit.
  4. Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.
  5. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it's still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  6. Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form ¾ inch - 2 cm in diameter ropes.
  7. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  8. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  9. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  10. To cook Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.
  11. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  12. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  13. Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

Roast Turkey: Italian tips for a moist tender and flavourful turkey

roast turkey – moist, tender and juicy

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so, why not planning to cook a delicious roast turkey the Italian way with my brine method and secret for a moist, tender and juicy turkey?

Yes, delicious, turkey and tender in the same sentence could sound a little bit strange, but anything is possible at Thanksgiving, right?


roast turkey moist tender secret italian

Oh and I promise you’ll love this recipe! It’s so hearty! My friends loved it and they begged me to give them all the leftovers… well, how couldn’t I?

I know that turkey is a bland meat and it has to be treated perfectly to become good so I read a lot about brine turkey with water, salt and apple cider but I was a bit afraid of putting too much salt in it so I came up with an age-old Italian trick that was used by our grandmothers to tenderize game meat…. baking soda!!!

I’m italian and I’ve never cooked a whole turkey in my life. It was a big tricky for me due to its big size…. and you know how italian kitchens are… small oven, small fridge…. it was 8 kg / 18 lbs and I was thinking to cut it in pieces, but finally I cooked it wholly, it was just the length of the oven… wow!

I put it breast side down and the worst part for me was turning the bird over to brown the breast as well…. it was tooo tender that I thought it would broke, but luckily my mother in law helped me and we were able to turned it over with no harm.
I really think that americans have an appropriate kitchen tool to do this, don’t they???

Roast Turkey: Italian tips for a moist tender and flavourful turkey

Difficulty: difficult
Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 3 hours
Yield: 10 servings or more

BRINE INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey):

  • 3 big rosemary sprigs
  • 8-10 sage leafs
  • few peppercorns to taste
  • 8 garlic cloves cut in half
  • 1/2 tbsp pure baking soda for each litres water / 2 tbsp pure baking soda for each gallon water

BRINE INSTRUCTIONS:

Put the bird in a large food box, cover with water and add all the ingredients. Close with a lid and leave the turkey with the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours.


SEASONING INGREDIENTS:

  • a handful of lard from rendered pork fat (called “strutto” in Italian) – you can use butter instead
  • 10 grams / 2 tsp for every kilo of meat (or 4 grams / 1 tsp for every pound of meat) of fine sea salt
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, 5 sage leaves and 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 north Italian sausages (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine) – about 200 grams – 1/2 pound
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1/4 onion

SEASONING INSTRUCTIONS:

After about 24 hours, remove the turkey from the fridge and drain it well. Leave it at room temperature for at least 1 hour (2 is better).
Spread lard or butter all over the turkey. Season with salt and fresh herbs finely ground.

Stuff the turkey with two sausages, 3 garlic cloves cut in half, rosemary, sage, onion and one tbsp salt (these will flavour the turkey from the inside as it cooks).

Cover the cavity with aluminium foil so that the aromatics won’t fall out while you’re roasting the turkey and if you want to keep the wings and legs close to the body while cooking, truss the turkey with a food string.

Place the turkey breast down on a rack over a roasting pan. That way the breast will be more juicy.

Cook the turkey at 200°C for the first 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160°C for the next 2 hours and then reduce to 100°C until it’s done. Consider 40 minutes for every kilo of meat or 15 minutes for every pound of meat.

When the turkey is almost done, turn the turkey over and put under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the breast (not to much though! or you’ll have a dry turkey breast).

The turkey is ready when clear juices (not pink) come out when you spear the breast with a fork or a knife or when the meat thermometer reaches 75°C.

For the cooking time I followed the post on Simply Recipes Blog, where you can find useful pictures and information on how to tie and close up the turkey cavity.

turkey_moist_tender_best


STUFFING INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey)

  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 800 grams / 1.8 pounds north Italian sausages chopped and case removed (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces chestnuts
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces cranberries
  • 100 grams / 3 cups stale bread cubes (about 3/4 inch)
  • 5-8 fresh sage leaves finely chopped

STUFFING INSTRUCTIONS:

(I like to cook the stuffing into a pan and not into the turkey because the latter takes less time to cook)

Put in a large pan 3 tbsp of butter, a stalk of celery, one onion finely chopped and cook until soft.

Add north-italian sausages and cook until little brown.

Pour white wine and allow alcohol to evaporate, then add chestnuts, cranberries, stale bread cubes, sage leaves finely chopped and water as needed to cover all the ingredients and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Adjust with salt if needed.


 

GRAVY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup onion, carrot and celery mix chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter mixed with 2-3 tbsp flour (roux)
  • turkey stock/drippings as needed
GRAVY INSTRUCTIONS:
 

You can make this gravy during the last 20 minutes of the cooking time of the turkey.

In a sauce pan add 3 tbsp butter and sauté vegetables until soft. After about 3 minutes add white wine and let alcohol evaporate.
Cook vegetables until done (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and blend them with a mixer.

Add the roux (a mixture of equal part of flour and butter) and return the sauce pan to the stove on medium heat. Add some turkey stock/drippings as needed (not too much though because it’s salty) and some water to adjust the thickness as you prefer. If it’s too liquid, add more roux.

Cook for at least 5 minutes and it’s done!

I have to tell you that this gravy was soo good and it made the turkey meat really tasty, so it’s definitely a must for me!Serve the turkey on a serving plate with the chestnut stuffing, gravy and some good old fashioned mashed potatoes and it will be love at first bite!

roast turkey moist tender secret italian brine

Hope my tips could help you preparing a moist, tender and juicy turkey and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Roast Turkey: Italian tips for a moist tender and flavourful turkey
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian, American, English
Serves: 10
Ingredients
BRINE INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey)
  • 3 big rosemary sprigs
  • 8-10 sage leafs
  • few peppercorns to taste
  • 8 garlic cloves cut in half
  • ½ tbsp pure baking soda for each litres water / 2 tbsp pure baking soda for each gallon water
SEASONING INGREDIENTS:
  • a handful of lard from rendered pork fat (called "strutto" in Italian) - you can use butter instead
  • 10 grams / 2 tsp for every kilo of meat (or 4 grams / 1 tsp for every pound of meat) of fine sea salt
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, 5 sage leaves and 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 north Italian sausages (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine) - about 200 grams - ½ pound
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 4 sage leaves
  • ¼ onion
STUFFING INGREDIENTS (for about 8 Kg / 18 lbs turkey)
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 800 grams / 1.8 pounds north Italian sausages chopped and case removed (pork meat seasoned just with salt, pepper, garlic and white wine)
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces chestnuts
  • 200 grams / 7.0 ounces cranberries
  • 100 grams / 3 cups stale bread cubes (about ¾ inch)
  • 5-8 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
GRAVY INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup onion, carrot and celery mix chopped fine
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter mixed with 2-3 tbsp flour (roux)
  • turkey stock/drippings as needed
Instructions
BRINE INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Put the bird in a large food box, cover with water and add all the ingredients. Close with a lid and leave the turkey with the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours.
SEASONING INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. After about 24 hours, remove the turkey from the fridge and drain it well. Leave it at room temperature for at least 1 hour (2 is better).
  2. Spread lard or butter all over the turkey. Season with salt and fresh herbs finely ground.
  3. Stuff the turkey with two sausages, 3 garlic cloves cut in half, rosemary, sage, onion and one tbsp salt (these will flavour the turkey from the inside as it cooks).
  4. Cover the cavity with aluminium foil so that the aromatics won't fall out while you're roasting the turkey and if you want to keep the wings and legs close to the body while cooking, truss the turkey with a food string.
  5. Place the turkey breast down on a rack over a roasting pan. That way the breast will be more juicy.
  6. Cook the turkey at 200°C for the first 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160°C for the next 2 hours and then reduce to 100°C until it's done. Consider 40 minutes for every kilo of meat or 15 minutes for every pound of meat.
  7. When the turkey is almost done, turn the turkey over and put under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the breast (not to much though! or you'll have a dry turkey breast).
  8. The turkey is ready when clear juices (not pink) come out when you spear the breast with a fork or a knife or when the meat thermometer reaches 75°C.
STUFFING INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Put in a large pan 3 tbsp of butter, a stalk of celery, one onion finely chopped and cook until soft.
  2. Add north-italian sausages and cook until little brown.
  3. Pour white wine and allow alcohol to evaporate, then add chestnuts, cranberries, stale bread cubes, sage leaves finely chopped and water as needed to cover all the ingredients and cook until all liquid is absorbed. Adjust with salt if needed.
GRAVY INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. You can make this gravy during the last 20 minutes of the cooking time of the turkey.
  2. In a sauce pan add 3 tbsp butter and sauté vegetables until soft. After about 3 minutes add white wine and let alcohol evaporate.
  3. Cook vegetables until done (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and blend them with a mixer.
  4. Add the roux (a mixture of equal part of flour and butter) and return the sauce pan to the stove on medium heat. Add some turkey stock/drippings as needed (not too much though because it's salty) and some water to adjust the thickness as you prefer. If it's too liquid, add more roux.
  5. Cook for at least 5 minutes and it's done!
  6. Serve the turkey on a serving plate with the chestnut stuffing, gravy and some good old fashioned mashed potatoes and it will be love at first bite!