Tuscan Dish Competition : “I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas!”
Being an Asian living in Scotland for the past 9 years, I have tasted some of the best Italian food. Not only is it delicious but it’s really healthy. When I was invited to join this Tuscany Foodie Blogger Competition 2012, I was so thrilled but yet nervous. I read up and found that some of the best Italian dishes come from the Tuscany region in Italy. For this competition, I am required to use 3 main ingredients which are olive oil, tomatoes and parmesan cheese. These are awesome ingredients.
After much thought, I decided to make a super healthy meal in a dish. It will be homemade carrot pasta served with parmesan cheese coated wild Alaskan salmon, parmesan basil omelette and balsamic mushrooms. The dish came out very delicious. When I served my husband his plate of food, he looked at it with a big surprised smile and exclaimed, “WOW!” At the end of his meal, he said, “It’s SO good. I’m SO satisfied!” That makes my day. All my effort pays off….*BIG smiles*. I’m so proud of myself to have made such a healthy Tuscany meal on a plate!
For a very healthy pasta, I used spelt flour instead of the normal wheat flour and added freshly made carrot juice instead of water or more eggs. This carrot pasta turned out very beautiful in colour and chewy in texture. This carrotcpasta can be easily made with a pasta machine but I want to show you here that you can still make very good pasta even if you don’t have a pasta machine. It’s quite easy to do.
Here is my recipe for my Super Healthy Tuscany Pasta Dish. The recipe below is for 2 person. However there is extra carrot pasta as I only used 400g. You can use the remaining to cook another pasta dish.
Ingredients (carrot pasta)
1/2C pure carrot juice
1 egg (lightly beaten)
2C spelt flour
1t olive oil
Put spelt flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the beaten egg, oil and salt. Mix it lightly. Add the carrot juice and continue to mix. Knead into a dough, but not a soft dough at this stage. Add more flour if it is soft. This is because as the dough relaxes, it will become softer.
When it comes to a ball, I just left it to rest and came back about 15 minutes later to knead further. The dough in this picture is just the first kneading so it’s still quite rough and not smooth. I let it rest again for 15 minutes, knead again until smooth and final 15 minutes rest.
You can of course knead until smooth in one go but it can be quite challenging. Good arm exercise though…*wink*.
I cut the dough into 3 pieces for easier handling.
Roll out 1 piece of dough with a rolling pin until thin. Flour it well. Then fold it over 3 or 4 times for easier cutting.
Cut as thin as you can and flour it to prevent the cut pasta from sticking together.
While cutting, put a fairly big pot of water to boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta. Use a pair of chopsticks to loosen the pasta. Use high fire so that the water comes to a rolling boil quickly. This is to ensure that your pasta is cooked quickly. Once it floats to the surface, pour the whole thing into a colander to drain out the water.
It’s important that you have more water in the pot while boiling the noodles. Too little water will make the pasta gluey. And boiling too long will make the pasta too soft.
Pour the cooked noodles into a big tray or big mixing bowl. Add some olive oil. Mix well so that the pasta looks glossy and don’t stick together. Yay….this is very healthy homemade spelt flour carrot pasta. Now, it’s time to add other ingredients to it.
Ingredients (for frying the carrot pasta)
400g carrot pasta
2 tomatoes (remove seeds and chopped)
handful of coriander (washed and chopped)
1/2 whole garlic (peeled and chopped finely)
1/2 red onion (peeled and chopped)
a few tablespoons of olive oil
light soya sauce to taste
hot Tabasco sauce (optional)
Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped garlic and onions. Fry until fragrant but not burnt.
Add the chopped tomatoes and coriander. Give a quick stir and add the noodles. Mix and fry to mix through the ingredients well. Sprinkle the sugar, soya sauce and tabasco sauce (if using) over the pasta. Keep stirring until well mixed. Adjust seasoning according to your taste. Dish it up onto a plate. Cover it to keep it warm while cooking the following 3 items.
You can use 3 small frying pans to cook the following 3 dishes at the same time if you are quick and can manage that. They are very quick to cook.
Ingredients (balsamic mushrooms)
1 big handful of chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 whole garlic (peeled and minced)
1/2 whole red onion (peeled and chopped)
3-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Heat up some oil in the frying pan. Add the garlic and onions. Fry until fragrant. Add the mushrooms. Use a higher heat because you want any liquid to come out from cooking the mushrooms to dry up. Mushrooms are very quick to cook. Fry about half a minute. Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt and keep frying. Oh, the smell is just so good. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste. It should be a little sour, sweet and saltish all at the same time.
This balsamic mushroom is just SO good. It goes so well with the omelette and the salmon. There’s such a beautiful burst of taste and flavour eaten on its own or in combination with the salmon, omelette or pasta.
Ingredients (basil omelette)
a handful of basil (chopped)
2T grated parmesan cheese
Mix all in a bowl. Heat up some oil in frying pan. Pour in half the egg mixture. When it browns at the edge, flip it over.
When it’s cooked, fold it over twice to make an egg roll. Cut into 4 slices. Do the same with the other portion.
Ingredients (parmesan salmon)
2-4 pcs of wild Alaskan salmon
4T grated parmesan cheese
salt (to marinade salmon)
Fish is also very quick to cook. Sprinkle some sea salt on both sides of the salmon pieces. Mix the cornflour and grated parmesan cheese. Coat the salmon with the flour mixture. heat up some oil in a frying pan and pan fry the salmon pieces. When it turns golden on one side, turn it over and cook till the other side is also golden. Dish up.
Now to assemble it, arrange the omelette at the side of the noodles and the balsamic mushrooms next to it. Place 1 piece of the salmon on top of the carrot pasta. Scoop some balsamic mushrooms on top of the fish and there you go…….a super healthy Tuscany Pasta Dish! Both my husband and myself enjoyed this dish very much. Hope you will give a try.
I am so glad that finally I decided to join this Tuscany Foodie Blogger Competition 2012. I know I may be late as the closing date is just 2 days away, i.e., 27th July, but I do hope that luck comes my way. I really hope that I can win. My favourite UK chef, Jamie Oliver, went to Italy once to learn more about Italian cooking. I would love to go there too. That would be my dream!
Appreciate Your Support
Would appreciate your support very much by going to Foodie Blogger Competition 2012 and vote for me, just one vote to give me a chance to win. You only need to vote ONCE. Scroll down to the bottom and look for my dish. If it’s not there, please return another time just in case it’s not uploaded yet when I post this. Thanks a zillion!!
Take care and hope you have a great, fun day…everyday! Till then, see you in my next post.
Quote of the day……
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”