Often Italians are not regarded professional in the kitchen. The ability to open the refrigerator and “whip up” a good meal seems to belong to the reign of “pure improvisation”. My answer is: it depends on the result. If the “whipped up” meal is good and balanced this is more than random improvisation: it is deep knowledge of the ingredients, their behaviour in cooking and how they can be matched without destroying the pallet and the stomach.There some ingredients which are “easy pairing”, like pasta or rice.The task is more difficult with vegetables, herbs, spices, meats, cheeses.Here you find a couple of examples of pasta with vegetables “whipped up” from leftovers in the refrigerator.
PASTA WITH SPINACH
Ingredients for 4: 350 gr ( 12 Oz) short pasta ; 500 gr ( 1 Lb) spinach ; 1 garic clove ; 50 gr ( 1 ½ Oz) extra virgin olive oil ; 200 gr ( 7 Oz) ricotta; salt; rock salt ; nut meg
Procedure: wash well the spinach.Brown the crushed garlic in a large skillet with the olive oil. Take it off. Add the spinach, a pinch of salt and cover with a lid. Cook one minute, then stir them. Add another pinch of salt and finish to cook until tender (they would not take longer than 3-5 minutes, depending their size).Bring to boil a pot of water.As it bubbles add I tbs rock salt, then the pasta.In a large bowl, mash the ricotta with a fork and adding a few spoons of the boiling water and a pinch of nut meg.Drain the pasta. Mix it in the bowl with the ricotta and the spinach.Serve immediately.
PASTA WITH EGGPLANTS AND SMOKED SCAMORZA CHEESE
– Ingredients for 4 – : 350 gr ( 12 oz )short pasta) ; 1 large eggplant; a few cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes or caned tomatoes ; 2 garlic cloves ; 6 basil leaves; 60 gr ( 2 oz ) extra virgin olive oil; 150 gr ( 5 oz ) smoked Scamorza cheese or other smoked cheese ; coarse and fine salt
Procedure: Slice the eggplant and place it in a colander. Sprinkle coarse salt and wait for it to sweat off its bitter water. Rinse quickly, squeeze and dry it. Cut in small cubes.Brown the whole garlic in the extra virgin olive oil. Take it out and toss in eggplants cubes.Cook them for about 5 minutes, then add tomatoes and basil and continue the cooking until they are soft.Bring to a boil a pot of water and salt it. Cook the pasta and in the same time dice the smoked Scamorza cheese and keep apart.Drain the Orecchiette and toss them in the saucepan. Mix in the cheese cubes on high heat and serve soon.
Article By : Marcella Ansaldo www.gigliocooking.com