A Queen In The Kitchen: Nonna Fernanda’s Authentic Northern Italian Cuisine With A Twist Of Me
Italian food writer Ale Gambini presents traditional Milanese and Northern Italian dishes, handed down from her beloved Nonna Fernanda. Nearly a century of authentic Italian recipes, accurately explained step by step, prepared using only the freshest, finest and healthiest ingredients that are native to the region of Lombardy and Northern Italy in general.
This book includes the staples of the Milanese cuisine :
Category Archives: Nonna Nanda’s Recipes
Lasagne are wide, rolled flat, egg pasta sheets but commonly this term refers to a main dish made with several layers of lasagne sheets alternated with sauces and other ingredients. When we (the Italians) talk about lasagne we usually mean Lasagne alla Bolognese, the typical first course (primo piatto) from the city of Bologna (Emilia-Romagna region) made with lasagne sheets, ragù (meat sauce), béchamel sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano DOP (authentic Italian parmesan cheese). Although this dish is worldwide known as LASAGNA and pronounced Lasanya, let’s call it the Italian way : LASAGNE [laˈzaɲɲe].
Pair this beautiful dish with Chianti or Barbera wine.
L.A.-based Italian food writer Ale Gambini presents traditional Milanese and Northern Italian dishes, handed down from her beloved Nonna Fernanda. Nearly a century of authentic Italian recipes, accurately explained step-by-step, prepared using only the freshest, finest and healthiest ingredients that are native to the region of Lombardy and Northern Italy in general. This book includes the staples of the Milanese cuisine such as Milanese risotto, veal ossobuco and Panettone (Christmas sweet bread).
A Queen In The Kitchen is published by SuperOttO publishing:
Recipe by Ale Gambini – Photo by Maurizio “OttO” De Togni
Servings : 4-6
Difficulty : intermediate
Prep Time : 30 min.
Cook Time : 1h 30 min.
ragu’ sauce, see recipe below
9 oz lasagne (rolled flat egg pasta)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 pinch grounded nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
For the ragu’:
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork (for a milder taste use 0.25 lb ground pork and 0.25 lb ground chicken)
1 beef bouillon cube
30 oz of organic tomato sauce (vine ripened tomatoes)
1 cup of red wine
1 pinch of ground black pepper
3 leaves of basil (washed and pat-dried)
For the ragu’:
In a medium sauce pan, place olive oil, butter, chopped onion, carrot and celery and saute’ until the onion turns golden.
Reduce the heat and add both beef and pork ground meats, stirring constantly until browned.
Add the red wine, simmer until reduced by half (about 2 minutes) then add tomato sauce, basil, black pepper and salt to taste.
Reduce the heat as low as possible and partially cover the pan.
Cook for at least one hour and remember to stir very often. If the sauce gets too thick add half glass of hot water.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Prepare the Béchamel sauce by heating the butter until it melts, remove from heat then add the flour by whisking until smooth and pale yellow. Slowly pour in the scalded milk, whisking continuously. Return to a boil, add the nutmeg and stir until just thick. Set aside.
Grease the bottom of a rectangular baking dish with a knob of butter and cover the bottom with a couple of tablespoons of ragu’.
Make a layer with enough lasagne sheets to cover the dish.
Cover the lasagne sheets with ragu’, then Béchamel sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano. Repeat the process (lasagne sheets, ragu’, Béchamel, Parmigiano Reggiano) until you have four layers of pasta. The top layer should be Béchamel sauce sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are browned and the sauces are bubbling.
Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
Frittelle Di Carnevale, the mini documentary film about my amazing Nonna is now on Vimeo !!!
Enjoy Nonna Fernanda talking about food, history and her own life while preparing FRITTELLE DI CARNEVALE (Carnival Fritters) and RISOTTO CON I FUNGHI (Mushroom Risotto).
I’ll never stop to say THANK YOU for having her in my life.
A very special thanks to Mirko “Mirakle” Urania, Raimondo Di Egidio and Maurizio “OTTO”DE Togni for making my dream come true !!!
There are many types of PESTO, but without any doubt the Genovese Pesto , the one made with basil, is the most famous and known around the globe. The original Genovese Pesto sauce is made with only 7 ingredients and the recipe recalls for a marble mortar with a wooden olive tree pestle to work the ingredients. Although it would be to avoid the use of the blender because the blades of steel and the heat could alter the taste, I used a hand blender following a couple of good tricks: – to prevent the overheating, blend the ingredients at the lowest speed possible and intermittently (blend for a few seconds then stop and start again). – Put the bowl and the blades (if using a regular blender) in the fridge for an hour before use. The colder, the better. The Genovese Pesto sauce is the perfect “companion” for trofie, trenette, lasagne and gnocchi. Pair the dish tossed with this delicious sauce with a Colli Di Luni Vermentino DOC white wine. The following recipe has been adapted from “Dining in Genoa”, by M&R Comunicazione, available at the Tourist Information Offices in the city of Genoa (Italy). Buon Appetito!!!
Photo by Ale Gambini – BreadLoveAndDreams.com
- 60 gr of genovese basil PDO
- 45-60 g of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, freshly grated
- 20-40 g of Sardinian pecorino cheese
- 60-80 cc of Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO from Liguria
- 10 g of coarse sea salt
- 30 g of pine nuts (from Pisa or the Mediterranean)
- One or two cloves of garlic (Vessalico garlic).
Wash the basil leaves, which must be soft and come from plants no more than 2 months old. Dry them carefully on a paper towel. Place the garlic into a medium bowl along with a few grains of coarse sea salt and “crush” with the blender. Add the pine nuts and continue to crush until you get a coarse pulp. Add the basil leaves and continue to crush gently, then add the cheese and mix everything together. Soften the mixture by adding olive oil, little by little, until it reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. Add the rest of the oil and mix using a wooden spoon.
The Catholic tradition says that during the Holy Friday all the faithful should not eat meat. This “law” doesn’t prohibit to eat fish, eggs and dairy products so the majority of the Catholics today will have fish for lunch and dinner.
Today in observance to the Good Friday I made the delicate Sole Meuniere, sole fillets floured and cooked with butter, parsley and lemon juice.
For a perfect Sole Meuniere dish use only fresh soles.
4 fresh soles
1 stick + 3 tbs unsalted butter
1 small bunch of fresh Italian parsley
1 organic lemon, squeezed
Remove the skin from the soles on both sides and cut into fillets.
Wash, pat dry on paper towel and dredge into flour.
In a large skillet, melt the butter then add the fillets and let them brown on both sides.
Sprinkle with salt, chopped parsley and lemon juice.
Place the fillets on a serving dish.
Meanwhile add fresh butter to the cooking sauce and melt until dark-brown.
Pour the browned butter over the fillets and serve immediately.
Decorate the dish with slices of lemon, fresh parsley and capers.
Photo by Maurizio “OttO” De Togni
Let’s start the Easter week cooking or baking Italian food.
If you crave for an authentic Italian dish, just check my recipes recently shared on yummy.com.
All these recipes are simple, fresh and delicious as the Italian cookery should be.
Surprise your family and guests with traditional Lasagne made with homemade Ragu’ (Meat Sauce) or bake a Milanese Apple Cake (one of the favorite sweet recipe from my hometown Milan).
Say Buon Appetito and enjoy every bites.
Happy Palm Sunday 🙂