Pascale's Kitchen: Italian delicacies

The organizers of the Italian Food Week put together a program of virtual cooking and baking workshops in which participants will learn how to make popular Italian dishes.

 (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Photos: HAREL SAGI, ROTEM BARAK
For many months now, the pandemic has prevented us from gathering together in person with friends at restaurants or traveling overseas to experience different culinary traditions. We’ve thus been forced to become more creative and meet up with people and hold meetings and workshops over Zoom.
Many amateur chefs have also begun offering virtual workshops from the comfort of their homes. As difficult as this is, presenters go to great efforts to provide personal attention to each participant during these sessions.
Learn more about Pascale's Kitchen here>>
In an effort to adapt to current regulations, the Italian Tourism Association in conjunction with the Italian Embassy in Israel decided not to cancel the fifth Italian Food Week in Israel. This year the event, which will be held November 23-29 in Israel, as well as in dozens of other countries around the world, will be celebrated in a special way that is tailored to the new constraints.
The organizers of the Italian Food Week put together a program of virtual cooking and baking workshops in which participants will learn how to make popular Italian dishes. Although each region in Italy has its own culinary traditions, with differences even between adjacent villages, there are a number of typical Italian dishes that are known worldwide as belonging to Italian cuisine, including pizza, risotto and polenta. The Food Week will also include a special workshop in which children will learn how to make Italian ice cream.
Another part of the event will focus on street food from a number of different regions in Italy. These presentations will be live-streamed from culinary schools in a number of regions around Italy, including Sicily, Napoli, Piamonte and Polia.
Workshops will be offered by famous Italian chefs, including chef Peppe Guida of restaurant Antica Osteria di Nonna Rosa; Franco Pepe, who won the 2019 Best Pizza in the World award; and executive chef Ettore Michele Moliteo of Hotel Raphael in Rome.
The virtual Food Week workshops will be open to the public free of charge, and will also be broadcast on Facebook and Instagram at facebook.com/ItalianCuisineWeek and instagram.com/italian_cuisine_week_2020.
At my request, the participating chefs agreed to send me three recipes of Italian dishes that will be presented during Food Week. Everyone is welcome to try these recipes and also to join any of the zoom workshops with the famous Italian chefs that will take place next week.

BRUSCHETTA
Makes 4 servings.
Simplicity is the key to Italian cooking, which uses basic but high-quality raw materials with light seasoning. Bruschetta are wonderful served as appetizers.
4 slices of whole grain bread
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1-2 tomatoes, crushed and seasoned
Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
10-12 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved (in a variety of colors: red, yellow and brown) 1 red onion, sliced thinly
10 black or Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
50 gr. mozzarella cheese, sliced or torn into pieces
2 spicy red peppers, cut into rings
Handful of basil leaves
For drizzling:
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Spread the pieces of bread on a baking tray and toast to desired crispiness.
Rub the garlic clove on the roasted pieces of toast. Spread a spoonful of crushed tomatoes on each piece. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top then cover with tomato halves, onion slices and olive halves. Add mozzarella, basil leaves and spicy peppers. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and serve.
Level of difficulty: Easy.

Time: 20 minutes.

Status: Dairy.


MARGHERITA PIZZA
Makes 2 medium pizzas.
Dough:
700 gr. Caputo red flour (Italian pizza dough)
500 ml. water
30 gr. olive oil
3 gr. fresh yeast
10 gr. salt
Tomato sauce:
2 cans (350 gr. each) Pelati tomatoes, peeled and whole
Salt, to taste
Toppings:
250 gr. mozzarella cut or torn into pieces
Handful of basil leaves
Ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil for drizzling
Add all the dough ingredients, except for the salt, to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix for 15-20 minutes. Cover and let the dough rise for 10 minutes. Add the salt and knead for another 20 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours. The next day, split the dough into two pieces, flour your work surface and roll into balls.
Roll out each piece of dough on baking paper that has been sprayed or covered with olive oil.
To prepare the sauce, crush the tomatoes and season with salt. Spread the sauce on the two pizza dough circles up to 1.5 centimeters from the edge. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with olive oil.
Heat your oven to 250°C and then bake the pizza until it begins to turn golden brown. Drizzle more olive oil on top and sprinkle with fresh basil leaves. Serve hot.
Level of difficulty: Medium.

Time: 50 minutes + 24 hours in fridge + 35 minutes

Status: Dairy.

MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Makes 4 servings.
Risotto, which is a special way of cooking rice that originated in Veneto in northern Italy, is a high-starch popular dish in Israel that is cooked in broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. To make risotto, you need to use round rice such as Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano.
200 gr. butter
½ onion, chopped finely
300 gr. Arborio or Carnaroli rice
50 ml dry white wine
200 gr. hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Grana Padano
400 gr. mushrooms, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 liter vegetable stock
Topping:
¼ cup parsley, chopped
In a large pot, melt 2/3 of the butter and then add the chopped onion and sauté until it turns golden brown.
Add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. Add the rice and mix well. Cook until the rice has become translucent. Add the wine, stir and cook until rice has absorbed the wine.
Boil the vegetable stock and then gradually add to the rice. Cook for another 15 minutes. When the rice has almost finished cooking, add the rest of the butter and the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the flame and cover the pot. Before serving, sprinkle chopped parsley on top.
Level of difficulty: Medium.

Time: 40 minutes.

Status: Dairy.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.