Tag: sausage

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I got my first KitchenAid and I feel like a little girl on Christmas Eve. To call the current mood in my kitchen excitement would be a serious understatement.

After years of seeing – and admiring – these sparkly, polished beauties in the kitchens of my friends and family (my sister has two!), the time had come to get my own. At a certain age, one deserves these special treats. I’m a strong believer that it’s good to wait for things in life, it strengthens your character and makes you deeply appreciate what you have. But 20 years of waiting was more than enough, that’s how long it took me to finally see this powerful stand mixer on my marble counter tops.

In every period of my life, I had my favourite KitchenAid colour. In my young twenties, I loved the creamy white surface, followed by a fascination for the 50s and their soft pastels. Light blue, mint, or pink, I would have taken any of them. Then I got into puristic minimalism and only a black mixer would have made it into my kitchen. In my thirties, I fell for light yellow, but now, all of a sudden, I had to make a decision and decide which colour I would finally get and see for the rest of my life. It wasn’t easy and it took a few visits to various appliance shops. In the end, I had to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of cream, yellow, black, copper (which looks really hot), and brushed stainless steel. This process brought back lots of memories of the different eras of my life connected to each colour. After a couple weeks, my decision was made: brushed stainless steel is the winner! When the large package arrived I couldn’t wait to see my object of desire on my counter tops – I was almost hysterical, which is excusable in my eyes, it’s been 20 years after all. So here it is and it looks amazing. The mixer’s metallic surface fits perfectly to my white marble and brushed aluminium wall panels. I’m totally in love and can’t stop looking at it.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Testing its functionality was the next step, I had never used a KitchenAid before. My unbreakable hand mixer, a gift from my mother when I moved into my first flat two decades ago, has been a loyal partner during all my kitchen adventures. I was a little nervous and decided to start with two easy recipes – Sunday morning pancakes and Sunday evening pizza. This allowed me to get used to the three different attachments. My hand mixer only has two, but my new beauty offers a whisk, a paddle, and a hook –  I needed a conference call with my sister to figure out when to use what.

Before I switched on the power, I had to call my boyfriend for this special moment. And this was our maiden voyage: I – rather the mixer – started beating the egg whites with such calm, persistence, and firm perfection that I thought I’d never touch my hand mixer ever again (sorry hand mixer). My next project – pizza dough – gave me the same satisfaction. The yeast dough was well mixed, smooth, and ready to be kneaded with my hands for a few minutes, which I always do to turn it into a soft and silky ball. I thought I’d use the time while the dough was getting mixed in the machine to prepare the toppings, however, I couldn’t help but sit next to it with a glass of rosé wine in my hand and watch it work with elated enthusiasm.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Our first KitchenAid pizza was such a great success that I made another one only three days later, but this time it was an oily pizza bianca topped with green asparagus, Italian salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala. On our latest Saturday leisure trip, we went to the food market at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg in Berlin and enjoyed a luscious piece of very oily pizza bianca at Sironi. The baker, Mr. Sironi, went for a topping of broccoli, sausage, and mozzarella. It was very minimal and very good and a reminder that it’s time for a white pizza in my kitchen. I find it lighter and quicker to prepare and it tastes just as good when it’s cold, which makes it perfect for summer picnics or easy dinners on the balcony or in the garden. I’m really impressed by the simple combination of greens, mozzarella, and sausage. Asparagus is in season at the moment, but feel free to replace it with broccoli, leek, zucchini or whatever veg comes to your mind. You could also add a little garlic oil, which I don’t find necessary. But we’re talking about pizza, so everybody should just follow their personal preferences. Enjoy!

Click here for more pizza inspiration.

Thank you KitchenAid for helping me make my little kitchen dream come true!

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake the pizza to give it enough time to rise and I bake it on a hot baking sheet, which has a similar effect to a pizza stone.

Makes 2 pizzas

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 2 2/3 cups
fast-acting yeast 1 (7g / 1/4 ounce) envelope
fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
water, lukewarm, 180ml / 3/4 cup
olive oil 6 tablespoons

For the topping

olive oil
green asparagus, trimmed, 14 young stalks
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
large Italian salsiccia sausage (or any other coarse sausage), skin removed and cut into chunks, 1
mozzarella di bufala, torn into chunks, 125 g / 4 1/5 ounces

For the dough, combine the flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the lukewarm water and olive oil and knead on medium-high speed for a few minutes until well combined. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Transfer the dough to a table or countertop and continue kneading and punching it down with your hands for about 4 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. Place the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place, or preferably in a 35°C / 100°F warm oven, for about 60 minutes or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, prepare the topping: Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large, heavy pan and sauté the asparagus, turning occasionally, on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes. Season with flaky sea salt and crushed pepper to taste and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and divide into 2 parts. On a well-floured work surface or pizza peel, stretch or roll each piece of dough into a 28cm / 11″ disc. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes or until puffy.

Place a baking sheet (or pizza stone) on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to the highest temperature, 260°C / 500°F or higher.

Once the baking sheet is hot, carefully take it out of the oven, flip it over, and place it on a trivet or other heat-safe surface. Arrange 1 of the risen dough discs on the baking sheet and spread half the asparagus, salsiccia, and mozzarella di bufala on top. Push the asparagus gently into the dough. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a little flaky sea salt, and crushed pepper and bake on the bottom of the oven for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crisp and the mozzarella is golden. Repeat to make the second pizza and serve hot or cold.

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

Pizza Bianca with Green Asparagus, Salsiccia, and Mozzarella di Bufala

 

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asparagussalsicciapizzabianca21

 

asparagussalsicciapizzabianca19

 

asparagussalsicciapizzabianca12

Homemade Sausage with Herbs and Spices and Baked Fennel with Parmesan

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Our last visitors from Malta brought some of my favourite sausages along, coarse Maltese pork sausage stuffed with lots of spices and garlic. The kind that you can use to spice up a whole pot of soup. When it comes to sausage that’s exactly what I like! When I’m in Malta I fry them for breakfast without their skin and cut in half, like a burger, some fried zucchini (qarabaghli in Maltese) on the side and and I’m prepared for a day on the beach.

The gift from Malta inspired me to make my own sausages, but without skin from the start. I make mine like burgers without egg and bread (apart from a tablespoon of breadcrumbs) and with pork and beef unlike the original. Most importantly they are enhanced with plenty of rosemary, parsley, coriander and fennel seeds (luckily I still have some left from Malta to keep it even more authentic) and my coarse sea salt from Mr. Cini’s salt pans in Gozo, Malta’s sister island. Spices and salt from other parts of the world will work as well, I just like to add the nice memories and to me, they taste best. As fennel already has such an importance in this meal I add the bulbs as well, baked in the oven with onions, garlic and parmesan. It’s the right addition to my Mediterranean sausages which I fry first before I deglaze them with a splash of white wine. This makes a thick sauce of juices, delicious together with the meat and the vegetable.

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

Homemade Sausage with Herbs and Spices and Baked Fennel with Parmesan

This makes a dinner for 3-4.

For the sausage

minced beef 300g / 10.5 ounces
minced pork 300g / 10.5 ounces
breadcrumbs 1 tablespoon
parsley, chopped, a medium bunch
fresh rosemary, chopped roughly, 1 teaspoon
coriander seeds, ground in a mortar, 1 tablespoon
fennel seeds, ground in a mortar, 3/4 tablespoon
black pepper, ground in a mortar (coarsely), 1 tablespoon
garlic, crushed, 2 big cloves
coarse sea salt 1 1/2 teaspoons
white wine for deglazing
olive oil for frying

Mix the ingredients well and shape thick sausages. Heat some olive oil in a large cast iron (or heavy) pan and fry the sausages on medium heat until all sides are golden brown. Deglaze the sausages with a splash of wine  so that the bottom of your pan is covered, the liquid shouldn’t evaporate completely. Turn down the heat, scrape the juices off and close the pan with a lid for 1-2 minutes until the sausages are done inside.

 

For the baked fennel

big bulbs of fennel, quartered and blanched together with 1/2 lemon for 8 minutes, 2 bulbs
(keep the green of the fennel bulbs uncooked and chopped for topping)
medium onions, chopped, 2
garlic, crushed, 2 cloves
olive oil
fresh parmesan, grated, 3 tablespoons (you can add more if you like)
salt and black pepper

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (I used the Rotitherm roasting setting) and brush a medium sized baking dish with olive oil.

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil on medium heat until golden brown.

Put the fennel in the baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil and the green of the fennel. Season with salt and pepper, add the fried onions and garlic and cover with parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and crisp.

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

 

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

 

Maltese Sausage + Baked Fennel

The taste of Summer in my Mediterranean Sandwich

Maltese Sandwich

Maltese sausage, tomatoes, capers, olives, basil, red onions, garlic and olive oil on Maltese Ftira bread – as soon as I started to make this sandwich the sun came out, literally! You can’t really put more of the taste of summer into a sandwich than in this one. In Malta, this is a local hero, the famous Ftira, enjoyed by everyone on this island. It’s a celebration of their specialities combining quite a few different tastes, all strong and honest, and creating one of the best sandwiches you can imagine.

I made it last weekend when I had all the ingredients at hand, freshly delivered from Malta by Emma. I fried the coarse Maltese sausage with its strong coriander flavour until golden brown, without its skin and cut in half. It looked a bit like a burger stuffed with herbs. You can also use Salsiccia as it’s made with similar spices and herbs as well. I recommend a white bread with a nice crust but soft on the inside to soak the  juices and olive oil like the Maltese bread I used. I cut a few cherry tomatoes, half a red onion, 4 green olives, 1 dried tomato and a few basil leaves into slices and piled everything carefully onto a slice of bread drizzled with olive oil. I finished it off with 1 crushed clove of garlic and a few capers and closed it with another slice of bread. When I took a bite, I was on my favourite island in the Mediterranean again!

Maltese Sandwich

 

Maltese Sandwich

 

Maltese Sandwich

 

Maltese Sandwich

Hobz biz-Zejt u Tadam and more delicious Goods from the Maltese Rock

Malta

Today I will share some special food with you! I got a wonderful gift from Emma, my boyfriend’s sister who lives in Malta and came to visit us for a few days. She put a big smile on my face when she opened her bag and I saw all the nice food she brought for me (well, not just for me actually). Emma knows which food I love and miss so much from her home island in the Mediterranean, especially now that it’s been a few months since I was last there. Her gift reminded me of the taste and smell of this island which I got to know so well over the past years, during so many holiday trips and summers we spent there. Our family and friends, the food, the sea, so many memories connect me to this rock in the Mediterranean (this is what many Maltese affectionately call their home island).

This is a very personal introduction to Maltese food through my eyes and taste buds.

Whenever I’m in Malta, first thing in the morning I go to a wonderful traditional bakery, St. Josephs Bakery in Msida, to buy the most amazing white bread with the perfect crust. Every Maltese is proud of this bread and it’s famous for good reason. There are two different types of bread, the big loaf called Hobz Malti (Maltese Bread) and the round Ftira with a hole in the middle. Usually, I cut thick slices off the loaf, dip them in olive oil and spread the sweetest tomatoes and some crushed pepper on top which makes the Hobz biz-Zejt u Tadam (Maltese bread with oil and tomato). There is also a famous (and quick) beach version which is made with Kunserva, a concentrated tomato paste full of ripe Maltese tomatoes and some mint or basil in between two slices of this amazing bread. There’s nothing better than sitting on the beach after a long swim, this sandwich in your hands and your fingers staining with juicy tomatoes and olive oil – I love it!

Malta

Fruits and vegetables are heavenly in this sun kissed place, strong and honest in taste, ripe, with the flavours of a soil rich in clay. There’s not much water, but the sun and the ground make up for it. My taste buds are always disappointed when I’m back home and have to get used to the store bought quality again. Maltese sausage is another speciality I’m very fond of as it’s full of spices, the meat is coarse, its taste so strong that you can season a meal with it. Dairy products are limited, this rock isn’t really made for cows, but the Maltese make a strong cheese from goat milk which is called Gbejna, delicious tiny round cheeselets. There are two kinds, the hard one which is a bit salty, great for salad and pizza, and the soft one, milky and mild. On the photos you see the hard ones from Gozo, Malta’s sister island.

One of my favourite places is Busy Bee Confectionery where I get my daily dose of delicious cakes and pies. I love their sweet Mediterranean specialities like Cannoli, Cassata Siciliana and Ottijet (figure of 8 shaped tea time cookies with sesame seads). Unfortunately the Cannoli didn’t survive the flight very well so I can’t show them to you. On the savory side there is Qassata tal-Irkotta (a round short crust pie filled with ricotta), Pastizzi tal-Irkotta or tal-pizelli (puff pastry filled with ricotta or peas) and a huge Torta tal-Laham (Beef Pie), filled with tasty beef stew.

The colourful sweets are Perlini, filled with almonds, a traditional Maltese carnival treat.

Go visit and enjoy!

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Malta

 

Spaghetti with Baked Ricotta, Salsiccia and Sage

Pasta, Baked Ricotta + Salsiccia

I love simple pasta recipes which allow you to create a great dinner in just a few minutes – no matter if it is a romantic dinner for two or a dinner party for eight. This is definitely one of them! You just need baked ricotta, Salsiccia, sage (I’m lucky, my sage plant still has a few leaves) and spaghetti. You can use any other coarse-cut sausage but the strong herbs of the Italian sausage fir perfectly to the milky ricotta. The mixture of garlic, fennel, coriander and nutmeg which is used for Salsiccia adds a nice variety of flavours.

If you prefer a vegetarian version you can just melt some butter in a pan and fry a few sage leaves for 1-2 minutes (they should become crisp but not dark otherwise they will taste bitter). Together with spaghetti and sprinkled with slices of baked ricotta, this makes a delicious dinner as well!

Pasta, Baked Ricotta + Salsiccia

Spaghetti with Baked Ricotta, Salsiccia and Sage

For 2 people you need

pasta, around 200g / 7 ounces
baked ricotta, around 100g / 3.5 ounces
Salsiccia, or any other strong and coarse-cut sausage, 2
a few leaves of sage
olive oil for frying
butter for frying, 20g / 3/4 ounce
white wine for deglazing
garlic, one clove, cut in half
pasta water
salt and pepper

Slice the baked ricotta thinly with a cheese slicer.

Rinse and dry the sage leaves and fry them in a small pan in hot butter for 1-2 minutes until crisp but still light in colour.

Cook the pasta and take out a cup of the pasta water after it has been cooking for a few minutes as we need some of this liquid for the sauce.

Heat some oil in a pan, add the garlic, and fry the sausages until golden brown. Deglaze with a dash of white wine and add a good splash of your pasta water. Leave the liquid in the pan but take the sausages out and cut them in pieces. Put them back into the pan together with the spaghetti and add the sage leaves with their butter. Mix and season with salt and pepper.

Divide everything between two big plates and sprinkle with the slices of baked ricotta. Buon Appetito!