Had a craving for brownies yesterday so I dug up an old recipe. Didn’t even have to go to the store since I had all the ingredients at home.

prep time 10 min     cook time 25-30 min
  • 150g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 75g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 eggs, cold
  • 70g flour
  • 75g walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 20 x 20 cm baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Cut 150g unsalted butter into small cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Add sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

3. Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit the bowl in the pan. Put over a low heat until the butter and cocoa powder have melted, stirring occasionally to mix them.

4. Let cool for a moment.

5. Add the vanilla extract if using and then the eggs, one at a time, beating well. When the batter is thick and homogeneous, stir in the flour and the chopped nuts. Mix well but fast.

6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 180C for about 25 min.

7. Let cool and cut into squares.


Baked pasta with ground beef and veggies

This is a very easy baked pasta or oven pasta recipe where you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey or chicken and use veggies of your choice. This time I chose peas and button mushrooms.

prep time 15 min     cook time 25 min
ingredients for 4-5
  • 500g short pasta of your choice, I used big penne
  • 500g ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, dices
  • 10-15cm piece of celery, diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g frozen or fresh peas
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced or diced
  • 500ml béchamel sauce, I used store bought but you can make your own
  • glass of white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g provola dolce or mozzarella, cut into cubes
  • 50g + 30g grated cheese, Parmesan or other
  • breadcrumbs

1. Pre heat the oven to 180C.

2. In a large pan heat a few Tbls of olive oil. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook for a few minutes. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the mushrooms, let cook for a few minutes and then add the frozen peas and also the bayleaf. Pour the wine and let cook on low for 15 minutes.

4. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions but drain it 3-4 minutes before it’s al dente.

5. If you are making your own béchamel sauce, here is how. You need butter, milk, flour, salt and nutmeg.

6. Mix the drained pasta with the meat sauce in a large bowl. Stir in 400ml of besciamella, mozzarella cubes and 50g of grated cheese.

7. Pour the pasta into a 25 x 35cm oven proof baking pan. Top with the remaining 100ml of besciamella, sprinkle 30g of grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for about 25 min until the top starts to brown. For the last 5 min you can use the grill setting.


Rabbit hunter’s style

Rabbit can be used to make just about any chicken dish but there are many recipes specifically for rabbit in Italian cuisine. Rabbit hunter’s style is one of those dishes in Italy that has as many versions as there are cooks. This recipe is ‘in bianco‘ which means with no tomato sauce. It loosely resembles the Ligurian style rabbit, but without the pinoli (pine nuts).

prep time 30 min     cook time 50 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 rabbit (about 1,3kg – 1.5kg), cleaned, cut into pieces
  •  olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves peeled and gently squashed
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets
  • a few capers
  • handful of olives (taggiasca, Gaeta or other)
  • sage, rosemary
  • peperoncino optional
  • 150 ml dry white (or red) wine
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • salt

1. First wash in running water and then soak the rabbit pieces in water (some add half a glass of white wine vinegar)  for 30 minutes. Rinse the rabbit pieces, pat them dry and season with salt.

2. In a deep frying pan (wide enough to accommodate all the pieces of rabbit without over crowding) warm the olive oil with a couple of plump cloves of garlic for a few minutes. Add the rabbit pieces and cook, turning frequently until they are nicely browned and golden – wear an apron as the oil splatters and spits somewhat.

3. Add rosemary and sage, anchovy fillets and peperoncino if using and and turn the pieces around so they are all coated.

4. Add the vinegar and cook for a minute or two, or until the powerful acrid smell has subsided somewhat.

5. Then add the wine and allow the wine to sizzle and bubble energetically for a few minutes. Cover the dish, turning down and regulating the heat so that the dish simmers gently.

6. Allow the rabbit to braise in the wine for 45 minutes to an hour, turning from time to time and adding some water or broth as needed to keep things moist but not soupy.

7. About halfway through, add the olives and some capers.