Baked Figs with Cheese and Honey

As Autumn arrives, even before, my Italian-owned green grocery is full of figs – green, black and in between. What a gorgeous time it is – the last of the summer stone fruits, grapes, plums – one of my 4 favourite seasons of the year!

I must admit to liking my fruit, any fruit, fresh. You will see that we don’t have a lot of fruit recipes in our collection because of that. But once in a while, we will bake, grill or roast, maybe poach, something sweet.

Figs are so wonderful in their natural state, and we have several salads that attest to that. They pair well with cheese, honey, and even almonds and pinenuts! Figs are simply gorgeous this way.

But roasting brings in another dimension. It is a different taste – just as fig jam tastes different to fresh figs. Roasted figs are soft, warm and sticky, and they shine with either savoury flavours, sweet flavours, or a mix of both. They can be mashed onto bruschetta and topped with pesto, without the honey they can be used with pasta, or top a green salad with them. Serve them for breakfast, lunch, dessert, a snack or supper.

Are you looking for Fig recipes? Try Figs with Rosewater and Almonds, Fig Salad with Almond Butter Dressing, and Figs with Pecorino.

Browse all of our Fig recipes here, all of our Italian recipes, and all of our Dessert recipes. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Radicchio Risotto | Risotto al Radicchio

Oh goodness! The vibrant colour of the bitter leaves of radicchio! I love them in my kitchen, but they are not the cheapest of vegetables to buy so they are not a weekly visitor. However, radicchio is so versatile, and incredibly good.

Today we make a risotto with this glorious vegetable. It is added at the beginning of the cooking process, and thus becomes very tender during the 20 mins of stirring that makes a risotto.

Do be careful about the rice that you use for risotto. You will get the best results using a risotto rice. You can read more about that here. My favourite at the moment, and the one that I used for this dish, is Carnaroli.

Are you looking for Radicchio recipes? Read more about this incredible vegetable here. Try Grilled Radicchio with Shallots and Dill, and Red Rice Congee topped with Radicchio.

Try other risottos too – Beetroot Risotto, Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto, Mushroom Risotto, and Asparagus Risotto are some of our favourites. You can see how to make a basic risotto here.

Check out all of our Risotto recipes, and all of our Italian recipes. We have some other Radicchio recipes too – check them out here. You might like to browse our easy Late Summer recipes here.

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Green Olive Tapenade

There are a great number of recipes around for a spread made from green olives, but this is the easiest. Made with ingredients straight from your kitchen, no special purchases required, it is made in seconds, and your family or gang of friends will devour it in minutes.

This tapenade is salty, spicy (from the chilli) and pungent (from the garlic). Just perfect for a cool Early Summer day’ snacks on the verandah with some aniseed tea.

Similar recipes include Fava, Tapenade Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and Olive and Orange Salad with Mint and Basil.

Browse all of our Olive recipes and all of our Spreads. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomato

Capunti Pasta is a country pasta from Puglia in the Southern part of Italy – one of the several open pasta shapes that originate in that area. It is great for holding robust sauces, but also for very simple accompaniments that highlight the flavours of the pasta and other ingredients.

Today, the basil is looking beautiful, and I do love pasta with tomatoes in summer, so we brought them together for a great dish for a light summery lunch.

You might like to have a look at similar dishes. Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Peppers and Tomato, and Elegant Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Pine Nuts.

All of our Pasta recipes are here, or browse our Italian recipes. Read about different pastas, including Capunt. Perhaps we have other Capunti recipes. Or take some time to browse our Early Summer recipes.

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Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad with Cannellini Beans

Today’s recipe is for a common style of salad around the Mediterranean – it is light and full of sunshine! Herby and lemony, it feels so healthy and is ideal for outside eating in Summer.

The Mediterranean style salad of quinoa and cannellini beans is quick to put together. Super simple once the beans and grains are cooked, it is ready in minutes and very delicious. It is an Ottolenghi recipe that does not have a mile-long list of ingredients or dozens of steps in the recipe. Tucked away in a corner of a page in his book Plenty More, it is a salad that should not be missed.

It is a very white salad, so it looks great served next to a salad with lots of tomato or pomegranate seeds. If you use red quinoa, it looks very elegant against the cannellini beans!

Similar dishes include White Bean Salad with Tahini, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans.

You might like to see our other Quinoa recipes and Cannellini Bean recipes. All of our Salads are here. Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes here, or explore our collection of easy Early Summer dishes.

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Schiacciata with Cheese Topping

If Focaccia is half way between pizza and bread, then Schiacciata is half way between Focaccia and Pizza. It is flat and usually infused beautifully with olive oil.

Originally cooked in the ashes of the hearth, schiacciata, meaning squashed, is flat and 2 – 3 cm thick (but can be thinner). Variations of the bread are made throughout Italy. In Tuscany, it is simply brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Herbs such as rosemary can be added. A sweet version with grapes and sugar is also made.

This recipe with onion and cheese is great weekday lunch-at-home fare, even for Sunday night supper. It is great with a hearty soup. Maybe Onion Soup would be fabulous. In late Summer, pair it with ripe, bursting figs and celebrate the end of summer.

You might also liked our Focaccia recipes. Our pizza recipes are here. If you need pizza dough, the recipes are here. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Umbrian Sauce for a Cure | Salsa di Curata | Herby Mustard Sauce or Dressing

This Umbrian Sauce is an approximation of an old recipe for a sauce which is said to cure many maladies, using modern day ingredients. It keeps very well in the fridge, so if you are feeling under the weather, make a batch and drizzle it on everything. I do love it on a green salad. Since moving into this house with its excellent back yard, we are never without greens suitable for salads.

It is herby and mustardy. You can imagine why it has a reputation of being a cure-all.

Similar recipes include Garlic-Yoghurt Dressing, Roast Capsicum Sauce and Dressing, Almond Butter Dressing, and Umbrian Broad Bean Puree.

You might like to browse our Dressings here and Sauces here. Our Italian recipes are here. Or browse our Late Summer recipes.

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Umbrian Broad Bean Puree | Broad Bean Sauce

Traditionally an Easter dish, this Umbrian Broad Bean Puree is eaten on toasted crusty bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. But it is equally as good with vegetables, pasta and as a dressing in salads.

It is a simple but gorgeous, flavoursome dish.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean Puree with Chilli OilUmbrian Cure-all Sauce, Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Broad Bean and Mint Mash, and Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread.

You might like to look at our other Broad Bean recipes. Browse our Italian recipes here, and our Broad Bean Puree recipes are here. Or take time out and explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Grilled Pecorino Wrapped in Vine Leaves

Do you have a grape vine, or access to grape vine leaves? Then this is for you. A great tea time snack, they are definitely delightful.

Pecorino is wrapped in vine leaves and then grilled until the cheese melts and the leaves crisp a little. You can even cook these on a BBQ.

Grape leaves are best picked from grape vines in the Spring and Early Summer, while they are still tender. Select young whole, medium leaves. Make sure  that the leaves haven’t been sprayed.

Similar recipes include Burghul Dolmas, Baked Yoghurt in Vine Leaves, Mushrooms Baked in Grape Vine Leaves and Grape Vine Leaf Powder.

Browse our grape vine leaf recipes, our Italian dishes and our French recipes. Or take some time to explore our collection of Late Spring recipes.

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Orecchiette with Broad Beans | Pasta and Broad Beans

Orecchiette is a little shell shaped pasta, delicious and sourced from my newly-found Italian providore not far from our new house. It’s a delightful little shop, family run, with the most warm, friendly and helpful staff. As I stocked up with supplies I was asked what I was cooking and we discussed recipes and methods for ages.

Broad Beans are my passion of the moment, food-wise. Neglected for all of the other years of my life, we are also very fortunate to have an Italian-owned green grocery close by. So Broad Beans are there by the big box full every week, and now we grow our own also. I have fallen in love with this little green, grassy tasting fresh bean. It has been great to see the season through, from the tiny new pods, to the larger, more mature pods later in the season, and to adapt recipes as the season progresses.

Similar recipes include Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, and Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic.

Also try Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes.

You might like to look at our other Broad Bean recipes. Browse our Italian recipes here as well. Our Pasta recipes are here. Or take time out and explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Beetroot Risotto

Beetroot Risotto is something very special. Bright ruby red, luscious, creamy, just perfect with a glass of wine and a salad. Enjoy!

We have been making this risotto since 1999 – that’s such a long time. Risottos for us are a wonderful Friday night meal if we are eating and relaxing at home. The week is done, we can take our time, chat, listen to music, drink a little wine if we are in the mood.

I love to make this when I can find beetroot straight out of my garden. The first time I made it, all those years ago, was with fresh beetroot straight from an organic Clare Valley vegetable garden. The difference in taste to store-bought beetroot is amazing. Right now, we try to keep our own beetroot growing in our garden.

The risotto is such an beautiful colour. Serve on white or green plates for maximum effect.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101 first. If this is the first time you are roasting beetroot, have a look here.

Similar recipes include Risotto with Radicchio, Parsnip Risotto, Asparagus Risotto, Beetroot and Pinot Risotto, and Risotto with Mushrooms.

You might like our other Beetroot recipes or our other Risotto recipes. Check out our easy Late Spring recipes here.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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Three Cheese Risotto

Risotto is such a comfort dish, packed with flavour. For us it is a Wintery night time dish that we love to eat in relaxed style with the fire going and the talk about family and life.

This risotto is creamy and beautiful, with heaps of cheese including some Gorgonzola. You know how you love that Four Cheese Pizza? You will love this Three Cheese Risotto. It really is white on white on white on white  on white (onion, rice, milk, cheese, plate).

One thing that is a must read if you are cooking your first few risottos. How to Cook Risotto – it also explains which rices to use for the best results in making risotto.

Are you looking for other Risotto recipes? Try Beetroot RisottoRisotto with Mushrooms, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin Risotto.

Or are you after Cheesey dishes? Try Cheese and Eggplant Torte, Mascarpone and Gorgonzola Torte, and Melted Cheesey Toast on the BBQ.

You can browse all of our Risottos, or all of our Italian dishes. Or explore all of our Late Autumn dishes.

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Penne con Fave e Ricotta | Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta

What a delight Spring must be in Italy! I can only imagine. And tucked amongst the dishes served outside on South Italian hillside terraces is this dish that marries pasta, broad beans and ricotta. I also use the soft Persian style feta that I get locally from an Afghani grocery shop. It is divine.

Use Penne Rigate if you can find it, the ridges on it retain the pasta sauces really really well. For the broad beans, double peel them unless they are really, really young.

Similar recipes include French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Broad Bean and Mint Dip, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, and Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and all of our Italian dishes. Our Pasta dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Broad Bean Salad with Parmesan, Basil and Garlic Chips

Broad Beans, Tomatoes, Garlic, Parmesan or Pecorino, and herbs is such a classic combination, and can be used in an infinite variety of ways. Mix them up as a pasta sauce, use them in a Spring risotto, mash them for a dip or spread, and make different salads from them.

Today we use these ingredients in a lovely light lunch salad, or for a first course in the evening. It is so deliciously light, hard to resist.

Similar recipes include Red Radish and Broad Bean Salad, Broad Bean and Tomato Salad, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, including our Broad Bean Salads. Our Italian recipes are here. Or explore all of our Mid Spring dishes.

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Parsnip Risotto with Rosemary

Parsnips – perhaps Winter’s best vegetable. So sweet, and they keep their flavours whether boiled, steamed or roasted. They take to many different pairings and treatments. Today, a risotto, and the recipe comes from the multi-continented Ilva, the great food photographer and the author of a beautiful blog that sadly no longer exists, Lucullian Delights.

I am very grateful that, before Ilva closed her blog, she allowed me to save my favourite recipes. I like to think that some of her recipes will live on now. This is one of her wonderful risotto dishes – subtle, divine. I have made a few minor adjustments to suit our tastes and availability of ingredients.

I love the use of white pepper in subtle dishes (Asian foods, cauliflower dishes, with parsnips, for example). In this recipe I have layered pepper flavours by using both white and black pepper.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101.

Similar recipes include Three Cheese Risotto, Risotto with Mushrooms, Tomato Risotto, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto.

Also try Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potato with Caper Vinaigrette.

You might also like our Parsnip dishes, our Risotto recipes, and our Rice recipes. Our Italian dishes are here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

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