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Homemade dishes are an opportunity for sharing: here is how to cook some typical Italian recipes with your hands!

Do you have some free time at home but no idea how to spend it? This article suggests some typical homemade Italian recipes. Whether you are an amateur or a chef-to-be, having fun is the goal. Furthermore, involve your loved ones, and you will see how time spent together in the kitchen gives dishes another flavour. Finally, trying the results of your labour is priceless! Ready to put your hands to work?

3. The polenta

The polenta

Here is a typical Northern and Central Italy dish with ancient origins. Polenta recipe requires just water and cornmeal. Nowadays, it is one of the most appreciated Italian dishes, but it was originally the basis of the poor peasant diet. Each region has its own recipe and uses flours of different cereals. Polenta taste tends to be neutral, but this dish is versatile and takes on different flavours depending on the ingredients it is served with: vegetables, pulses, salads, meat, fish. It can even become the basis for a dessert! You can easily cook it at home. Here is how.

Put a thick-bottomed steel pot on the stove and pour in water. When it is about to boil, add salt, pour in the flour by hand, and start stirring with a wooden spoon. Keep cooking at a high temperature, stirring quickly. Add the olive oil to prevent lumps from forming. Keep stirring and wait for the mixture to boil, then turn the heat down to low and continue cooking for about 50 minutes over low heat, taking care the mixture does not stick to the pot bottom. After this time, your polenta is cooked. At this point, carefully turn the pot upside down onto a round chopping board. The polenta is now ready to be served. You can eat it hot and soft, or you can wait for it to cool down and cut it into pieces to be fried or grilled. We recommend you try both versions!

2. Homemade pasta

Homemade pasta

Homemade pasta is a culinary tradition that delights and involves everyone. The preparation of fresh pasta requires time, attention, and patience in order to obtain a dough with the right consistency, a pleasant roughness, and perfect cooking. These are fundamental requirements that distinguish and characterise a good, tasty, and satisfying homemade pasta dish.

An Italian needs a different pasta shape for each sauce: tagliatelle, lasagne, orecchiette, fusilli, trofie, and much more! Making pasta at home is not that difficult, you just need manual skill or... a pasta machine! Typical shapes vary from region to region, as does the dough. Durum wheat semolina pasta is typical of the sunny and windy Central and Southern regions. On the other hand, Northern Italy is the kingdom of egg pasta, often used for tasty fillings, such as ravioli and tortellini

The procedure is the same for both types of pasta. Create a well with the flour on a pastry board. In the central space, add water/eggs and a pinch of salt. Start kneading by hand until you obtain a dough ball. Then, place your hand in the centre and drag the dough outwards. Repeat this process until the dough becomes smooth. Finally, wrap the dough ball in cling film and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes. Then, you can stretch the dough with a rolling pin or a specific machine. Giving it the shape you like will be fun! Moreover, you can vent your fantasy with the seasoning and filling: sauces, vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, mushrooms, or whatever you like the most!

1. Caprese cake

Caprese cake

Italy's confectionery tradition is mouth-watering and endless, so there are plenty of recipes to suit every taste. Here, we suggest you a delicious recipe from the Campania region based on dark chocolate and almonds: the Caprese cake. Do you know its curious origins? At the beginning of the 20th century, the chef of a well-known restaurant on Capri island was preparing a cake to surprise and delight his guests. However, he did not realise that he had forgotten to add flour to the mixture, so he put it in the oven as it was. Fortunately, the cake turned out to be a real delicacy: crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, with a perfect combination of flavours between almonds and dark chocolate. At the time, the recipe was so successful that the chef began to receive numerous requests and, thus, the tradition of this 'wrong cake' was passed down. Here is the recipe!

You will need butter, dark chocolate, almonds, sugar, icing sugar, and eggs. No flour! First, coarsely chop the almonds and set them aside. Second step: melt the dark chocolate in a bain-marie and set it aside. Next, beat butter, sugar, a pinch of salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl with a whisk or electric mixer. Keep the egg whites for later. Once the mixture is ready, add the chocolate and almonds, mixing them carefully. Separately, whip the egg whites until stiff and incorporate them into the mixture, taking care to move the spatula gently and from the bottom up. Otherwise, the egg whites may come apart. Finally, pour the mixture into a buttered cake tin (or lined with baking paper) and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Once cooked, let the cake cool and sprinkle it with icing sugar to taste. The scent will fill your house, and the unmistakable flavour will delight everyone!

Which of these three recipes did you like best? Were you able to reproduce them all? Let us know!

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