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Bruschetta with Rosemary, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Prosciutto

Bruschetta with Rosemary, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Prosciutto

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  • 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), quartered lengthwise
  • 12 1/2-inch-thick diagonally cut baguette slices (each 3 to 4 inches long)
  • 12 tablespoons ricotta cheese, divided
  • 6 thin prosciutto slices, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup microgreens or baby arugula

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Stir 6 tablespoons oil, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend. Add tomato quarters and stir to coat. Let stand 5 minutes. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lift tomatoes from marinade and arrange, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet (reserve marinade for toasts).

  • Roast tomatoes until skin is browned and blistered and tomatoes are very tender, about 35 minutes. Cool tomatoes on sheet. Maintain oven temperature.

  • Meanwhile, arrange bread slices on another rimmed baking sheet. Brush top of each with reserved marinade (including garlic and rosemary bits).

  • Roast bread until top is golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool toasts on sheet.

  • Spread 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese on each toast; sprinkle with pepper. Fold prosciutto halves over and place on ricotta. Arrange 2 tomato quarters atop prosciutto. Whisk lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon oil in medium bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add microgreens and toss to coat. Top bruschetta with microgreens. Arrange on platter and serve.

Nutritional Content

One serving contains: Calories (kcal) 328.3 %Calories from Fat 55.9 Fat (g) 20.4 Saturated Fat (g) 4.6 Cholesterol (mg) 26.0 Carbohydrates (g) 25.6 Dietary Fiber (g) 3.1 Total Sugars (g) 7.0 Net Carbs (g) 22.5 Protein (g) 12.0 Sodium (mg) 885.1Reviews Section

One Chap's Pantry

1 Baguette
1/4 cup Parmesan
6-8 Plum Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 cloves Garlic, whole
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
2-3 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil on your stove. There should be enough room for the tomatoes, but they should not yet be put in the pot.
  • Remove from the heat, and place the tomatoes in the hot water for 1 minute.
  • Using tongs, remove the tomatoes.
  • Carefully remove the skin with a knife and then cut in half and remove the seeds and juice.
  • Dice the Tomatoes and set to the side in a large bowl.
  • Add the minced Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar, Herbs, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper to taste Stir well, and leave to marinate.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Slice the Baguette into 1/4″ thick rounds, on a diagonal.
  • Using a pastry Brush, liberally brush on the 1/2 cup of Olive Oil. You may need more or less, depending on the baguettes.
  • Place in the oven and toast for about 5 minutes, or until the the bread begins to turn golden.
  • Remove the croutes from the oven, and while warm, rub the whole garlic over the tops of them.
  • Sprinkle liberally with the Parmesan. You may use less or more, depending on the size of the croutes.
  • When ready to serve, spoon the Tomato topping onto the croutes.

Serves about 10 as an appetizer.

NOTES: You can use bigger bread pieces and serve this as a salad or meal. With regards to serving as an appetizer, you can also choose to leave the tomatoes in a bowl with a spoon, and arrange the Parmesan croutes on a tray, and allow the guests to top their own. Bruschetta is a central Italian food, that consists of grilled bread with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and other toppings like Prosciutto or grilled vegetables. I prefer the traditional tomato-basil relish, myself. This used to be my favorite appetizer when we would go to Italian restaurants–a special occasion as they were always expensive in Georgia. Who knew the food was so inexpensive and EASY to make!

Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Vegan bread and omit the Parmesan.

Bruschetta with Rosemary, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Prosciutto - Recipes

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Grilled Prosciutto & Tomato Ricotta Toast

Prep: 15 minutes
Grill: 10 minutes • Serves: 4

1. In medium bowl, toss prosciutto, tomatoes and arugula. Makes about 2 cups.

2. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Spray both sides of bread with cooking spray. Place bread on hot grill rack cover and cook 3 minutes or until grill marks appear, turning once. Turn off 1 side of grill.

3. Spread toasts with cheese top with prosciutto mixture. Place toasts on unlit side of grill cover and cook 7 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned. Makes 4 toasts.

4. Serve toasts garnished with pepper, if desired.

Approximate nutritional values per serving (1 toast):
187 Calories, 8g Fat (3g Saturated), 31mg Cholesterol,
758mg Sodium, 17g Carbohydrates, 1g Fiber, 2g Sugars, 12g Protein

© 2021 C&S Wholesale Grocers and Vimax Media unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.

Italian sauces

The Sauces and Basics chapter provides recipes for horseradish sauce, salsa verde, salsa rossa piccante, aioli, borlotti and cannellini, used in many Italian dishes. It also describes techniques, like how to clean salted anchovies.

Bruschetta is more than grilled bread with chopped tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, according to River Cafe Cookbook Easy. Twenty-four bruschetta recipes, with photos, range from asparagus Parmesan to roast zucchini.

It is not always easy to find recipes for game. Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers include recipes for guinea fowl with fennel, grouse with bruschetta, spiced pigeon, pheasant with potatoes, grilled partridge and roast quail with sage.


Salsicce e Finocchio Arancini
Italian sausage simmered in fresh garlic, olive oil and fennel, all rolled tightly inside a parmesan risotto ball, lightly fried and drizzled with Tarantelli's homemade sauce - topped with creamy, melted buffalo mozzarella cheese 9

Salsa Di Spinach e Carciofi
baked roasted garlic and creamy three cheese spinach and Mediterranean artichoke hearts. served warm with Pugliese bread 13

garlic baked crostini, house-made mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, seasoned basil, olive oil, sea salt and garlic 9

Filet Mignon Bruschetta
baked Pugliese bread topped with Wagyu filet mignon, sautéed garlic and shallots. topped with a creamy melted gorgonzola fondue 14

Capesante Scottate
pan-seared sea scallops, juniper berry parsnip puree, balsamic fig reduction, and micro basil 13

Cozze Alla Bianco
P.E.I. mussels sautéed in the shell with Chablis wine, fresh garlic, roma tomatoes, meyer lemon, butter and parsley – served with a warm crostini brushed with olive oil 14 also served alla marinara or diablo.

Calamari All’Insalata
house-seasoned crispy fried calamari seasoned with garlic, lemon, parsley, and tri colored pepperoncini’s – served over a bed of field greens with our homemade marinara sauce on the side 16

Cavoletti Di Bruxelles Con Pancetta E Burrata
charred brussel sprouts topped with creamy buttermilk burrata cheese, fresh peanuts and pancetta 13

Salumi e Formaggi
selection of our Italian imported meats, cheeses, seasonal fruit selections, toasted almonds, pickled garlic, and olive assortment. served with cranberry walnut bread and apricot chutney Choice of four 22 Choice of Eight 36

Nodini All'Aglio
Tarantelli's homemade pizza dough knots baked daily in our authentic Italian stone oven brushed with roasted garlic, fresh herbs and grated parmesan. served with piping hot marina 11

Easy ricotta appetizer (for any season!)

Once you have these whipped ricotta crostini in your playbook, you can whip them up any time of year using whatever is in season. We love the crostini with these slow roasted peppers and onions and this easy roasted ratatouille. Here are some other ideas:

  • asparagus and mint
  • peas and pesto
  • slow roasted peppers and onions (pictured below)
  • tomatoes, basil and balsamic
  • roasted beets with sautéed greens
  • grilled eggplant and Parmesan
  • sliced figs (or peaches) and truffle honey

One last thing! While the crostini are a wonderful appetizer, they also make for a damn fine build-your-own lunch or dinner, perfect for busy weeknights (my kids love them!).

Use a good quality fresh ricotta that doesn't contain any gums or stabilizers - the ingredients listed should be only milk (and/or whey), salt and vinegar.

Yes! You can make the whipped ricotta spread up to 2 days in advance. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

Some easy and delicious toppings for ricotta crostini include: a drizzle of honey, roasted or grilled vegetables, sliced or chopped fresh tomatoes, sautéed greens and/or chopped fresh herbs.

Katie's Passion Kitchen

One of our most requested specials! Stop by and see us this Sunday, June 30th from 10:00 am til' 2:00 pm at the Frankfort Country Market.

KPK VIPs: ask for KPK Gourmet Pecan Shortbread Cookies (with lots of Ghirardelli CHOCOLATE) - we're keepin' em' cool in the truck - in limited quantities for those "in-the-know".

We may have a few other treats up our sleeves too. Can't wait to see you. Rain or shine!

Bruschetta with summer roebuck, asparagus and grilled tomatoes

This is yet another super quick and delicious snack for preparation out in the nature, over a fire, or on the Jiko.

The preparation of the dish, which is extremely easy to make, takes only 15 minutes. And, even better, the bruschetta tastes absolutely fabulous.

  • Bread
  • 600 g venison, silverside or another cut from the haunch
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 20 cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 clove of garlic, cut into halves
  • 1 tbs chopped broad-leaved parsley
  • ½ lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Trim the hard ends of the asparagus. Season the meat with salt and pepper and place it on the grill. Cook the meat till medium rare, 55-57 degrees. This means that the meat must be soft and not “bounce” back when you press it. Leave the meat to rest.

Toss asparagus and tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables on the grill and grill for 3-4 minutes.

Grill both sides of the bread. Rub the serving side in garlic. Slice the meat and put it on the bread. Top with grilled asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Squeeze a little lemon juice over each bruschetta, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with broad-leaved parsley. Serve immediately.

Roasted Plum Chicken Salad

Remember one day I was talking about our plans to visit a grape farm?

The good news is we did it yesterday. We grabbed some amazing concord grapes which smell just irresistible. The bad news is that we slightly overdid that.

One bushel of the concord grapes. Indeed, we’ve got only 2/3 of these grapes which still doesn’t make this situation better.

And the cost. Could you imagine that we got all these gorgeous grapes just for 20 dollars? How many pounds could you buy in your supermarket?

So, apparently, it’s #concordgrapeshavocinthekitchen happening.

All right, I’m exaggerating for some dramatic effect.

But the truth is that there are still some grapes to be utilized. Any ideas? Eating fresh isn’t the option anymore.

But let’s talk about this delicious salad! Roasted Plum Chicken Salad anyone? Delicious honey roasted plums combined with the peppery arugula, salty feta, and herbed pan seared chicken breast. That’s a good seasonal salad.

My searing technique is not the impeccable one, but the chicken turned almost perfect, moist and being lovely golden on one side. You still can choose for any other technique including braising.

All right, I’ve got to leave you with this Roasted Plum Chicken Salad because I have a very important mission #concordgrapes. In a meanwhile, I will always appreciate any piece of advice on how to utilise all these grapes.

And lastly – does anyone need some (5-10 pounds) of the excessive grapes?:)

River Cafe Easy Italian

W elcome to the first of two extracts from River Cafe Two Easy, the second volume of River Cafe Cook Book Easy. In the first book, we featured many of the simple dishes from the restaurant menus in this one, we set out to find the easy recipes from some of our favourite regions of Italy.

The result is a collection of recipes that reflect both place and season. We went to Milan in early spring, and loved the simple and robust soups - many of them meals in themselves later in the year, we were in Puglia, where every seaside restaurant is proud of its own special fish-based pasta.

This week's extract focuses on antipasti, pasta and soup. The opening section on mozzarella, like the one on bruschetta in River Cafe Cook Book Easy, is simply a putting-together of ideas: each dish has just a few seasonal ingredients. The quality of the mozzarella is very important. The best by far is buffalo mozzarella, the fresher, the better you can now buy it from many supermarkets.

Antipasti and salads, for us, are simple combinations of vegetables served at room temperature, be they grilled, boiled, roasted or raw. The pasta section includes two tomato-based pastas, as well as four of the most intriguing fish pastas. We end with some of those thick soups from Milan.

It is in the simplicity of these dishes that we find much of the pleasure and excitement in cooking. We hope you enjoy these easy recipes as much as we do.

Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, 2005

Beetroot, tomato, capers
Boil the beetroot until tender, then peel and slice into 5mm discs. Slice the plum tomatoes into similar discs. Wash the salt from the capers, and drain. Mix the capers with red-wine vinegar and olive oil. Combine the tomato and beetroot, season, then stir in the capers and juices. Place on the plate with the mozzarella, and serve with torn-up basil leaves.

Broad bean, olives
Boil the broad beans until tender. Drain and season, add stoned small black olives. Toss the rocket and mint leaves with lemon juice and olive oil, and season. Tear the mozzarella into four. Put the leaves on the plate with the mozzarella. Sprinkle over the olives and beans.

Raw zucchini, prosciutto
Using a Y-shaped potato peeler, shred the zucchini into fine ribbons. Mix lemon juice with some olive oil, and season. Toss the zucchini in the dressing, adding a few rocket and mint leaves. Place on a plate, add the mozzarella, and lay slices of prosciutto over.

Bruschetta, tomato, olives
Cut the tomatoes into quarters and squeeze out the seeds and juice. Mix with basil and olive oil, and season. Stone the small black olives, mix with black pepper, dried chilli, lemon juice and olive oil. Grill a piece of sourdough bread on both sides, then lightly rub one side with garlic. Season and pour over olive oil. Place on the plate with the olives, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Grilled aubergine, roast tomato
Cut the plum tomatoes in half lengthways, and remove the seeds. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Bake in a 200C/400F/gas mark 6 oven for 15 minutes. Slice an aubergine into 1cm discs, and grill on both sides. Toss with basil, olive oil and lemon juice. Season and place on the plate with the tomatoes and mozzarella.

Salami, cannelini, olives
Drain and rinse a tin of cannellini beans, and gently heat with lemon juice and some olive oil. Season and purée. Stone the small black olives and toss in a little olive oil. Finely slice the fennel salami, and place on the plate with the mozzarella. Put the bean purée alongside, and scatter over the olives.

Asparagus, rocket, parmesan
Cook the asparagus for five minutes in boiling salted water. Drain, toss with olive oil and season. Toss the rocket in lemon juice and olive oil, and mix with the asparagus. Add shavings of Parmesan.

Summer herb, crème fraîche
Boil chard leaves until tender, then drain, cool and roughly chop. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice, and season. Slice the mozzarella into 1.5cm slices and place in a bowl. Add crème fraîche, seasoning and a few crushed fennel seeds. Roughly chop a little fresh basil, parsley and mint, and lightly stir into the cheese mixture. Place on the plate with the chard, and drizzle with olive oil.

Red and yellow peppers, capers
Wash the salt from the capers and drain. Grill a red and a yellow pepper until the skins are blackened. Peel, remove seeds, then tear lengthways into quarters. Toss with olive oil, red-wine vinegar, torn basil, capers and black pepper. Place on the plate with mozzarella.

Marinated anchovy, spinach
Boil spinach leaves until tender, drain and cool. Wash and fillet the salted anchovies, add pepper, then squeeze over lemon juice. Mix together lemon juice and olive oil, and season. In the dressing, toss the rocket and, separately, the spinach, then combine. Put the greens on a plate with the mozzarella. Place the anchovies over the top.

Celery, radish, parmesan
Wash radishes and some of their leaves, then slice finely. Use the pale heart of celery. Finely slice the stem and keep a few of the leaves. Shave the Parmesan. Mix lemon juice with red-wine vinegar and olive oil, and season. Toss the radish, celery and celery leaves in the dressing. Place on the plate with the mozzarella. Place Parmesan shavings on top and drizzle with olive oil.

Grilled fennel, prosciutto
Slice the fennel lengthways into 1cm pieces, and boil until just tender. Drain and dry on a cloth, then grill on both sides. Toss the rocket and grilled fennel in olive oil and lemon juice, and season. Place on a plate with slices of prosciutto and the mozzarella.

Toasted bread, olives, vinegar

We vary the dressings for salads depending on the ingredients. With this salad of bread and olives, use red-wine vinegar rather than lemon juice, because it has a sweetness and sharpness that goes well with the olives.

Ciabatta slices 4
Rocket leaves 100g
Small black olives 4 tbsp
Fresh red chilli 1
Garlic clove 1
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red-wine vinegar 2 tbsp
Thyme leaves 1 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 220C/ 425F/gas mark 7.

Cut the crusts off the bread. Wash and dry the rocket. Stone the olives. Split the chilli in half lengthways, remove and discard the seeds, and chop finely. Peel the garlic.

Put the bread in a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and toast in the preheated oven for five minutes. Turn over, drizzle with a little more oil, and cook until brown - another five minutes. Rub the toasted slices on one side with the garlic.

Combine the vinegar with six tablespoons of olive oil, and season. Put the olives in a bowl with the chilli, thyme and a tablespoon of olive oil.

Break up the bread and put it in a bowl with the rocket. Toss with the dressing. Add the olives.

Cucumber, mint, mascarpone

Look for cucumbers that are unwaxed. They should be firm and rounded to the ends. Avoid any with withered, shrivelled tips or ones that bulge in the middle, because they are likely to be filled with large seeds.

Cucumbers 1½
Mint leaves 2 tbsp
Fresh red chilli 1
Mascarpone 250g
Crème fraîche 5 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon 1

Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthways, remove the seeds. Cut in half again and into 5cm lengths. Chop the mint. Wash the chilli and finely slice on the diagonal. Squeeze the lemon.

Combine the mascarpone and crème fraîche, and season well.

Combine the cucumber and mint with the lemon juice and three times the volume of olive oil, season.

Serve with mascarpone and the chilli sprinkled over.

Crab, fennel, tomato, radicchio

If you buy live crabs, kill them just before cooking - males are best. Turn the crab on its back, and push a skewer or spike into the centre of the belly, where there is an easily identifiable dent. Then put the crab in boiling salted water for eight to 10 minutes, according to size, and pick the meat while the crab is still warm - it will be easier to get the meat out of the shell. If you buy crab meat, get some brown meat, too, and serve a spoonful of each per serving.

Crab meat 500g
Fennel bulbs 2
Radicchio head ½
Lemons 2
Dried chillies 2
Flat-leaf parsley leaves 2 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Plum tomatoes 4

Remove the tough outer leaves and stalks from the fennel. Remove the tough outer leaves from the radicchio. Squeeze the lemons. Crumble the chillies, and chop the parsley.

To make the salad, finely shave the fennel into a bowl. Finely slice the radicchio into the same bowl. Slice the tomatoes across as thinly as possible. Let any seeds and juice drop out. Add to the bowl.

Mix the lemon juice with four times its volume of olive oil, and season. Use half this dressing to dress the salad, and mix the remainder into the crab meat with the chilli and parsley.

Serve the salad with the crab meat alongside.

Smoked haddock carpaccio

The smoked haddock for this recipe should be the Finnan haddock from the east coast of Scotland. Small haddocks are split open, the heads removed but the bones kept in, lightly salted in brine and then cold smoked to a pale straw-yellow. Avoid bright yellow fillets of large haddock as the flavour is too strong for carpaccio.

Smoked haddock 600g
Fennel seeds 1 tbsp
Lemons 2
Extra-virgin olive oil

Crush the fennel seeds. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and cut the other into wedges.

Using a long, flat-bladed knife, slice the haddock as thinly as you possibly can along the length of the fish.

Arrange the slices to cover each plate. Sprinkle with black pepper and fennel seeds. Drizzle the lemon juice over and then sprinkle each plate with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Finocchiona salami, boriotti

Finocchiona is a fat, loose-textured, soft salami typical of Tuscany. Fennel seeds and garlic are combined with pork, and it is then aged to develop the flavour.

Finocchiona salami 300g
Fresh borlotti beans 1kg
Garlic cloves 2
Red-wine vinegar 3 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Plum tomatoes 4

Pod the borlotti beans. Peel the garlic.

Put the beans in a medium saucepan with the garlic and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer until tender, about 25-35 minutes. Drain, season generously, and add the vinegar and three tablespoons of oil.

Slice the plum tomatoes in half lengthways and then each half into three lengthways. Season the tomatoes, then mix with the borlotti beans.

Slice the salami as finely as possible. Divide the borlotti beans and tomatoes between four plates and place the salami over. Serve drizzled with olive oil.

Prosciutto, rocket

This dish is pictured on the back cover. Use broad-leaf, cultivated rocket in this salad it is more tender and less peppery than wild rocket.

There are many other varieties of rocket. Turkish, Greek and Cypriot shops often sell a large-leafed rocket in bunches, which has a strong, peppery taste and is quite fleshy. The problem is that it doesn't keep well.

We actually grow a Turkish variety of wild rocket. This perennial, bush-like plant regrows its slender leaves each time it's picked and is the strongest-tasting rocket of all.

Prosciutto 400g
Rocket leaves 100g
Red-wine vinegar 1 tbsp
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
Extra-virgin olive oil 3 tbsp

Wash the rocket carefully, and dry well.

Combine the red-wine vinegar and mustard. Slowly stir in the olive oil, season.

Toss together the dressing and leaves, and place on plates in mounds. Drape the prosciutto over the rocket to cover it completely.

Spaghetti, tomato, green bean

Vegetables, cooked until soft and then combined with thick tomato sauce, are typical of southern Italian cooking. We were excited by this combination of green beans, tomato and spaghetti. The green beans should be incredibly fine, so they will twirl around the fork with the spaghetti. In midsummer, you can find fine green beans from France and Italy.

Spaghetti 320g
Garlic cloves 2
Dried chilli 1
Parmesan 50g
Extra-virgin olive oil 1 tbsp
Tin tomatoes 400g
Green beans 100g

Peel and finely slice the garlic. Crumble the chilli. Grate the Parmesan.

Heat a thick-bottomed pan. Add the olive oil, then the garlic, and cook until soft but not brown. Add the tinned tomatoes, season, add the chilli and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Top and tail the green beans, then cook in boiling salted water until very tender. Drain well. Combine the green beans with the tomato sauce.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and stir the pasta into the tomato and green beans. Season and toss with a little olive oil. Serve with the Parmesan.

Rigatoni, tomato, beef, red wine

Red wine is traditionally added to meat-based sauces. Here, the wine is reduced with the tomatoes before the beef is added. In sausage sauces from Tuscany, the wine is cooked with the sausage to soften and sweeten the flavour. All'amatriciana is the Roman sauce where red wine is added to a crisp onion and pancetta base used to flavour the tomato.

Rigatoni 320g
Beef fillet 200g
Garlic cloves 4
Parmesan 50g
Unsalted butter 100g
Tin tomatoes 600g
Chianti wine 350ml
Ground black pepper 1 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil 3 tbsp

Trim the fillet and cut across into 5mm slices. Cut the slices into 1cm strips. Peel and slice the garlic. Grate the Parmesan.

Heat the butter in a thick-bottomed pan, add the garlic and fry gently until brown. Add the tomatoes and season. Cook over a high heat for five minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes, then add half the red wine. Continue to cook quite fast, adding more wine as the sauce reduces. Cook for a total of 15 minutes, using up all the wine, then stir in the pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan until very hot. Add the beef pieces and fry very briefly, just to brown each piece on each side. Stir the beef into the sauce with any juices from the pan.

Cook the rigatoni in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce.

Linguine, sardine, saffron

Pasta with sardines is one of the classic dishes from Sicily. As in any beloved regional recipe, the ingredients vary from cook to cook. This version includes the traditional pine nuts and raisins, but has the addition of saffron. Buy the threads, not the powder the colour should be deep orange.

Linguine 320g
Sardines 12
Garlic cloves 2
Flat-leaf parsley leaves 2 tbsp
Dried chillies 2
Saffron threads ½ tsp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pine nuts 50g
Raisins 50g
Lemon 1

Fillet the sardines. Peel and finely slice the garlic. Chop the parsley and crumble the chillies. Sprinkle the saffron threads over three tablespoons of hot water and let stand for 20 minutes. Soak the raisins in warm water for 20 minutes. Cut the lemon into quarters.

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and fry the garlic and parsley. Add the sardine fillets in one layer and fry gently for two minutes or until cooked through, spooning over the garlic and parsley. Season.

In a separate frying pan, brown the pine nuts.

Cook the linguine in boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and return to the pot. Drain the raisins and add to the pasta with the saffron. Toss to combine. Add the sardines and juices from the pan, and check the seasoning. Scatter over the pine nuts.

Serve drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon.

Dittaloni, mussels, white wine

Ditaloni is a small, tubular pasta. Cavatelli or short penne can be used as an alternative. Buy small mussels, so they are the same size as the pasta.

Ditaloni 320g
Mussels 1kg
Garlic cloves 2
Flat-leaf parsley leaves 4 tbsp
Unsalted butter 200g
Extra-virgin olive oil 1 tbsp
White wine 120ml
Double cream 150ml

Scrub the mussels. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the parsley.

Heat half the butter with the oil, then add the garlic and mussels. Pour in the wine, season, cover and cook over a high heat until the mussels open. Drain the mussels, keeping the cooking liquid. Remove the mussels from the shells, and discard the shells and any that haven't opened.

Heat the remaining butter in a pan, and add the mussel juices and the cream. Cook gently to reduce to a rich, creamy consistency, then add the mussels and parsley.

Cook the ditaloni in boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and add to the sauce.

Toss together over a low heat and serve.

Spaghetti, roasted red mullet

Mullet has a strong flavour and firm flesh, so it stays intact when tossed together with the olives, tomatoes and spaghetti. It is the most perishable of fish and should be eaten on the day it is bought.

Spaghetti 320g
Red mullet 2 x 500g
Small black olives 100g
Dried chillies 2
Cherry vine tomatoes 400g
Extra-virgin olive oil
Thyme leaves 1 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Ask your fishmonger to fillet the mullet.

Stone the olives. Crumble the chilli.

Toss the tomatoes with a little olive oil. Season and put in a baking tin in one layer. Prick each with a fork. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Place the mullet fillets in one layer in a shallow baking dish, and sprinkle with thyme and chilli, season. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in the preheated oven for five minutes.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return to the pan.

Add the olives and tomatoes to the pasta with a tablespoon of olive oil, and season. Add the mullet and toss gently. Serve.

Spaghetti, squid, zucchini

Spaghetti 320g
Squid 500g
Zucchini 400g
Garlic cloves 2
Dried chilli 1
Lemon 1
Extra-virgin olive oil
Marjoram leaves 2 tbsp

Prepare the squid by pulling away the head and tentacles from the body. Cut off the tentacles and squeeze out the beak. Open out the body into a flat piece and scrape away the soft interior pulp. Finely slice the body. Separate the tentacles. Wash and pat dry.

Wash and grate the zucchini at an angle on the large side of a cheese grater. Sprinkle with salt and put in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. Wash off the salt and pat dry.

Peel and finely slice the garlic. Crumble the chilli. Grate the rind of the lemon finely, and then squeeze the juice.

Heat a large, thick-bottomed frying pan, add three tablespoons of olive oil and, when smoking hot, add the squid. Stir briefly, then add salt, pepper and chilli, followed by the zucchini and garlic. Stir-fry just to brown the squid and soften the zucchini. Add the lemon juice and zest and the marjoram, and stir. Remove from the heat.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water, then drain and add to the squid mixture. Toss.

Serve drizzled with olive oil.

Bread, tomato, basil, cucumber

The Tuscan tradition of adding bread to soups is exemplified by the Florentine soup pappa pomodoro. We have four different recipes in our previous books. This is a light, uncooked version and is very easy to make.

Tomatoes 4
Cucumber 1
Garlic clove 1
Fresh red chillies 2
Ciabatta slices 4
Red-wine vinegar 4 tbsp
Extra-virgin olive oil
Basil leaves 4 tbsp

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add one tablespoon of sea salt. Add the tomatoes and leave them in the water until it comes back to the boil. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon, and peel off the skins while still warm. Cut the tomatoes in half, and squeeze out the seeds. Chop the flesh to a pulp and put in a bowl.

Peel the cucumber, cut in half and half again lengthways, then cut out the seeds. Finely chop the flesh. Peel and finely chop the garlic with a teaspoon of sea salt. Cut the chillies in half lengthways, scrape out the seeds, and finely chop. Add everything to the tomatoes.

Soak the ciabatta slices in a little cold water so they are thoroughly moist. Sprinkle with the vinegar, and leave for 10 minutes.

Squeeze out the bread and chop finely. Stir into the tomato mixture. Add black pepper and three tablespoons of olive oil, and mix thoroughly.

Tear the basil into small pieces and stir into the soup. Serve with more olive oil.

Pea, zucchini

Italian soups are distinctly thick - in this recipe we pulse-chop the cooked vegetables in a food processor and add more peas at the end. Frozen petit pois work just as well.

You can choose either chicken or vegetable stock cubes for this soup - we use chicken.

Zucchini 500g
Garlic cloves 2
Parmesan 50g
Stock cubes 2
Extra-virgin olive oil
Podded fresh peas 500g
Basil leaves 3 tbsp

Trim the ends of the zucchini, cut them in half lengthways, and then into 1cm pieces. Peel and chop the garlic. Grate the Parmesan. Dissolve the stock cubes in 700ml of boiling water.

In a thick-bottomed saucepan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and fry the garlic until soft. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until soft. Add half the peas, stir and then add half the stock. Cook until the peas are tender. Put into a food processor and pulse-chop to a coarse purée.

Bring the remaining peas to the boil in the remaining stock, and cook for five minutes. Scoop out the peas with a slotted spoon, and stir into the soup, adding a little of the stock if the soup is too thick.

Serve with torn basil leaves and grated Parmesan.

Mains, vegetables, puddings and cakes

· River Cafe Two Easy is published on May 23 by Ebury at £20.