Italian – 1

Butternut Squash Soup (serves 1)

Butternut squash¼ large or ½ small e
Onion¼
Garlic½ clove
Orange¼
Parsleysprig
Vegetable stock150ml / 1/3 pt

Peel and chop the squash. Chop the onion and garlic. Sauté the onion and squash in a pan with a little oil for 3 minutes. Add the garlic. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes. Squeeze in the orange. Put into a blender. Garnish with parsley.

Stuffed Zucchini (serves 1)

Courgette½  or 1 small
Cherry tomatoes3
Spring onion1
Basil2 leaves
Mozzarella30g / 1oz

Halve the courgette longways. Chop the tomatoes, spring onion and basil. Slice the cheese. Scoop out the courgette flesh. Saute all the ingredients (except the cheese) together for 1 minute. Put the cooked ingredients back into the courgette and put the the cheese on top. Cook in the oven at 180 deg C for 10 minutes.

Panna Cotta (serves 6)

Milk3/4pt
Double cream1/4pt
VanillaTeaspoon
Gelatine4 sheets
Sugar200g / 7oz

Combine four-fifths of the milk and all of the cream and the sugar. Heat till simmering. Sprinkle gelatine over the remaining milk. Remove the milk from the heat and stir in the vanilla and softened gelatine/milk mixture. Pour into small cups and chill for two hours.

Chicken Saltimbocca Crostini (serves 1)

Chicken breast½ breast (boneless)
Bacon (or Parma Ham / Proscuitto)1 slice
Sage1 leaf
Butter7g / 1/4 oz
Bread loaf1 thin slice

For the crostini place a sliced piece of bread with a little olice oil in the oven until crusty brown. Melt the butter. Cut your chicken breast in half. Using this half breast, place your palm over the chicken; with your knife gently saw through the chicken half way up. Stop before cutting all the way through. Fold out this cut piece of breast. Lay the chicken on top of the crostini. Place on a flat tray and lay 1 leaf of sage on top. Cover the chicken with a slice of ham or bacon. Pour over the butter. Roast for 10 minutes in oven at 180-200 deg / Gas mark 6 till the bacon is crisp.

Cozze Napoli (Mussels in Napoli sauce)

Garlic1 ½ cloves
Fresh mussels8oz / 225g
Napoli sauce225ml / ½ pt
Onion½

Dice the onion and chop the chives. Heat a thick bottomed pot. In a bowl, put the mussels, wine, garlic and onion. When the pot is hot simply pour the contents of the bowl into the pot and cover with a lid. When all the mussels have fully opened, remove with a slotted spoon. Pour Napoli sauce over the cooked mussels.

Classic Lasagne (serves 6)

Minced beef500g
Chopped tomato2 x 14oz tins
Red winesplash
butter50g
flour50g
Bay leaf and nutmeg1
milk750ml
parmesan100g
Salt and pepper 
Vegetable oil2 tablespoons
Lasagne sheets10
Celery1 inch
carrot1 small

Chop celery and carrot. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy based pot and fry the mince till browned, drain off any excess oil then add the red wine and reduce until evaporated, add carrots, celery and the tomatoes and simmer till tender (approximately 15 minutes at least).

To make the bechamel sauce, place the milk in a large non-stick saucepan, add the bay leaves and nutmeg and gently bring to the boil.
In a separate saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Beat well and cook for two minutes. Remove the milk from the heat and add a little to the flour mixture. Combine well, and when all the milk has been absorbed, add a little more. Continue to do this until all the milk has been added, whisking continually.

Blanch the pasta in salted boiling water for three minutes. Put the bechamel sauce at the bottom of a lasagne dish in a layer, then place some of the pasta strips over the top. Follow this with some of the parmesan, and sprinkle over freshly ground black pepper. Follow with a layer of bolognaise. Repeat this step twice until all the ingredients have been used up. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve.

Author: Brian Hannan

I am a published author of books about film - over a dozen to my name, the latest being "When Women Ruled Hollywood." As the title of the blog suggests, this is a site devoted to movies of the 1960s but since I go to the movies twice a week - an old-fashioned double-bill of my own choosing - I might occasionally slip in a review of a contemporary picture.

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