Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Italian Fiesta

            It’s always good to have a recipe of a dish and to keep it in front of your eyes while you cook. Sometimes, however, it’s better to enter a kitchen door with empty hands: no printed lists of ingredients, no cookbooks or culinary magazines – thus no restrictions whatsoever, just an awesome feeling of liberty and a great opportunity to bring some novel ideas into life.

            Once as I was heading towards my kitchen (the lunchtime was approaching and I had to prepare at least anything for my husband) I didn’t have an exact notion of what I was going to cook that day. I looked at a piece of fish, fresh vegetables and button mushrooms – and instantly decided that I wanted to go Italian: baked fish with mushroom sauce and gremolata, mashed potatoes with red pesto and – pasta! – some home-made egg yolk ravioli on a bed of rocket leaves. The final dish was bursting with flavours and looked stunning on a plate (it perfectly corresponded to the image I had in my mind when I started to cook). Believe me, you don’t need a recipe to bring a real fiesta to your dining table on an ordinary weekday: just follow your culinary intuition and a call of your gourmet heart and you will produce a meal that goes beyond any expectations!


Fish with mushroom sauce and gremolata
600 gm white fish fillet
12 asparagus spears
200 gm button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
50 ml white wine
200 ml light cream
2 tbsp capers
1 lemon, juiced and zested
salt and black pepper to taste
a few spring of parsley, to garnish

Mashed potatoes with red pesto
6 medium potatoes
120 ml warm milk
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp red pesto
6 small red bell peppers

Egg yolk ravioli
100 gm plain flour
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
7 egg yolks
a small bunch of rocket leaves


  1. For the fish, preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the fillets into six pieces and brush them with a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, salt and crushed black pepper. Put on a baking tray in a single layer, cover loosely with foil and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
  2. For the mushroom sauce, heat the remaining olive oil, together with butter, in a pan. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Add wine and let it evaporate almost completely. Add cream, season the sauce and cook it over low heat for 7 – 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut asparagus tips (about 2 – 3 cm long) and chop the remaining spears. Blanch them in salted water for a minute or two. Stir the chopped asparagus pieces, together with the capers, into the mushroom sauce and reserve the tips for garnishing the dish.
  3. For mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes, drain, add butter and milk and mash the mixture till it is completely smooth. Stir in the red pesto. Cut the tops of the bell peppers and discard the core. Cut the bottoms slightly to make the peppers stand straight on a plate. Fill each pepper with some mashed potatoes.
  4. For ravioli, sift flour with salt, make a well in the centre and add a slightly beaten egg and 1 tbsp olive oil. Knead into a dough, cover and leave for half and hour at room temperature. Roll the dough thinly and cut 6 large and 6 smaller rounds out of it. Place six egg yolks on the centre of each of the smaller rounds, brush the edges with the remaining egg yolk, cover with bigger rounds of dough and seal. Bring water and the remaining olive oil and some salt to a boil in a large pan and cook ravioli for a few minutes.
  5. To serve, place a stuffed bell pepper on a plate and arrange rocket leaves next to it; top them with ravioli. Put a piece of fish on the side, spoon the mushroom sauce over it and arrange the reserved asparagus tips. Grate the remaining cloves of garlic and mix them with the lemon zest. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the fish and garnish with parsley.


  1. Make sure not to overcook the ravioli as you want the egg yolks in the filling to be still running.
  2. If lemon and parsley are not available, substitute them with lime and coriander (or any other fresh herb that you like).


            No comments:

            Post a Comment

            Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...