Mad & Delicacy Italian recipes

Early Summer Minestrone

Summer is around the corner, and so is the dreaded bikini test ;-)).  Taking advantage of the fact that my children are in a field trip, my husband and me decided that this week would be THE detox week, in anticipation of the upcoming summer.

If you are looking for a light vegetable soup, this is what you need. You’ll appreciate the freshness and the crunchiness of the seasonal vegetables.


Would you want to try? for the recipe take a look here:


Summer Bread Salad: Apulian Acquasala

The Apulia cuisine, inspired by the Mediterranean diet, features a lot of fresh and local herbs, vegetables, fruits, contains a moderate amount of pasta and bread, and includes a little fish and meat. These wholesome ingredients are all topped with extra virgin olive oil.

The Acquasala, a popular dish in Apulia, is an example of this cuisine. It is not only healthy, as it is prepared with fresh ingredients, it is also relatively easy to make. This dish can be enjoyed perfectly after a long day at the beach.

Remember: this recipe has no exact measurements, so you can add as little or as much of each ingredient as you wish.

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings:

4 slices wholewheat bread, stale
∼ 5-6 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
oregano, to taste
∼ 20 cherry or datterini ripe tomatoes, diced
a small red onion, finely sliced

One crucial element of this recipe is to use whole-wheat bread with a thick crust.

Put the tomatoes and the onion in a bowl, season with salt, oil and oregano and stir the mixture. Let rest for about 5 minutes. Then with your hands break up the bread in small pieces and put them into the bowl. Sprinkle with cold water and stir the mixture. Let rest for a few minutes. Check the bread, it has to remain lightly crunchy and not get soggy. If needed, add water a little at a time.

The preparation can be varied by adding basil, cucumber or small peppers.

Lemon Custard Puff Pastry with Fresh Berries

This week we wanted to make a sweet treat and we started thinking about what is served in Italy in summer time. We both came to the conclusion that Custard Puff Pastries are a very popular choice from the North to the South of Italy.

These pastries are easy to make and they will add an elegant Italian touch to your meal. The lemony flavour of the custard will surprise you with a fresh taste. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS for 4 pastries:

1 ready-made puff pastry sheet
For the Lemon Custard:
250 ml (1 cups) milk
2 yolks
65 g (2.5 oz – 1/3 cup) sugar
35 g  (1.1 oz – 1/2 cup) flour
zest of ½ lemon (medium size)
a handful of pistachios, coarsely minced


Pre-heat the oven to 200 ºC.

Slightly grease a baking tin with butter. Cut eight rounds of puff pastry using a round cutter (∅ 8-9 cm). Brush each round with water and sprinkle with sugar. Place the rounds onto the baking tin and cover with baking paper. Place another baking tin over the top to prevent the puff pastry from rising. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden. Let them cool.

Meanwhile prepare the custard.
Place the milk and lemon zest over medium heat. Cook until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk egg yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until well combined. Pour the hot milk mixture over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
Return the mixture to the saucepan over low heat. Cook, while stirring steadily in the same direction, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Do not allow custard to boil, as it might curdle. Pour the custard into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool.

Fill a pastry bag with the custard and pipe it onto a round of puff pastry. Decorate with fresh berries and cover with a second round. Decorate the top with more custard, berries and a sprinkle of pistachios.


Homemade tagliatelle with wild garlic

Tagliatelle with wild garlic: a suggestion for your next recipe...but first you have to go hiking and pick up this miraculous mountain plant.

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings:

3 medium size eggs
40 g wild garlic leaves
300 g plain flour
butter to season the pasta
grated parmesan cheese

Add the eggs and the wild garlic leaves in a food processor and process until obtaining a cream.

Pour the egg cream in a Kitchen aid bowl, equipped with the dough hook. Add flour and mix until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds. If you don’t have a Kitchen aid, knead with your hands to form a dough.

Remove the dough and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Let it rest at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes, covered with a towel.

Cut dough into 5-6 pieces before processing each piece with a pasta sheet attachment, or with a manual pasta machine, like we did.

Take the first piece of dough, dust it lightly with flour and flatten into a rectangular shape, setting the machine at the widest setting (number 1 – My pasta machine goes from number 1 to number 5). Fold the dough in half and run it through the machine again. We did this three times.

Set the pasta machine at the narrower setting (‌number 2) and proceed as before.

Continue to press the dough until the number 3 setting (which is not the thinner).

Repeat the same procedure for each piece of dough.

If the pasta sheets you have obtained are too long, cut each of them in two and dust each side of the pasta sheet with flour.

Pass the pasta sheet through the tagliatelle setting, holding the pasta with your hand as it comes out of the machine.

If you don’t have the tagliatelle setting, tightly roll each sheet, from the short end. Cut the cylinder into 1 cm wide strips. Unroll the strips and sprinkle with flour.

Let the pasta dry on a floured towel or a wooden floured surface for about 30 minutes.

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, for no more than 5 minutes. Drain and season with melted butter (as much as you prefer) and with a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese. Toss well to combine the seasoning.

Agretti savoury pie

These green shoots grow in Italy, from Central to the South. These vegetables are known with different names: lischi in Romagna region, roscano in Toscany region, agretti in Lazio region, barbe dei frati in Lombardia region.

INGREDIENTS for 4-6 servings (a round pie)

1 ready-made round short crust pastry (Brisé dough)
300 g agretti
1 egg
250 g ricotta cheese
grated parmesan cheese to taste
extra virgin olive oil

Rinse the agretti under running water and cut off the thick stems. Let dry on a kitchen rag.
Sauté the agretti in a large pan with olive oil and salt, until tender and crispy (for max. 10 minutes). Take the agretti off the heat, and mix them with ricotta cheese, 1 egg and grated parmesan cheese. The more parmesan you add and the tastier your pie will be.

Heat the oven to 180°C.

Roll the crust pastry out on baking paper and place the pastry on a round pie pan. Fill it with the sautéed agretti mixture and fold the edges (as in the pictures).

Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the pie cool completely before serving.

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