How to Make These Three Lip-Smacking Italian Dishes

How to Make These Three Lip-Smacking Italian Dishes

Don’t get intimidated at the thought of having to make Italian delicacies at home. These recipes from the Piaceri Da Gustare restaurant in Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Spa are sure to tempt you!

The Hilton Resort and Spa in Ras Al Khaimah have recently launched a new menu at their Italian restaurant, Piaceri Da Gustare, which features traditional Italian recipes along with new healthy dishes and a number of vegan and vegetarian options. So if you are fond of Italian and want to look beyond the regular pizzas and pastas, there are plenty of more refined options. Here are just three of them…


How to Make These Three Lip-Smacking Italian Dishes


For the cannoli shells

  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp brandy

For the caramel pastry cream

  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup, plus 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp white corn syrup
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the vanilla pastry cream

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces


To make the caramel pastry cream:

· Bring the water, sugar and corn syrup to a full boil in a medium saucepot. Boil, uncovered and without stirring, occasionally brushing the sides of the pot with water, until it is a light amber colour. Whisk in the cream gradually (take care for the steam) until fully incorporated, and cool to room temperature. Whisk 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce into the pastry cream and chill until ready to assemble.

To make the vanilla pastry cream:

· Heat the milk with the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean or the vanilla bean paste until just below a simmer.

· In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Ready a bowl with the butter, placing a strainer on top of it.

· Gradually whisk the hot milk into egg mixture and then return it all to the pot. Whisk this constantly (switching to a spatula now and again, to get into the corners) over medium heat until thickened and glossy, about 2 minutes. Pour this immediately through the strainer, whisking it through if needed, and stir in the butter. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard, cool to room temperature and then chill completely until ready to use.

To make the cannoli shells:

· Preheat the oven to 175°C and line multiple baking trays with parchment paper.

· Bring the corn syrup and molasses up to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter, stirring until melted. Sift in the flour and sugar together and whisk in. Stir in the brandy.

· Drop small teaspoonfuls of the batter onto the baking trays, leaving 3 inches between each other. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cookies are browned and bubbling. Let the cookies cool for about a minute, to set a little, then lift then carefully and wrap them over a cannoli tube or other doweling (about 3/4 inch diameter) and allow them to cool.

· For the pastry cream, stir in the chopped chocolate into half of the warm pastry cream and chill completely. Stir peanut butter into half of the caramel pastry cream to taste.


How to Make These Three Lip-Smacking Italian Dishes


For the Aubergine

2 large aubergines, sliced into thin slices about a 5mm/¼in thick
2 tbsp olive oil
100g/3½oz ricotta
100g/3½oz Parmesan, grated (or alternative vegetarian hard cheese)
100g/3½oz mozzarella, sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
a good splash olive oil
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
125ml/4fl oz red wine

For the salad

A selection of Italian leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard


1. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil on both sides to coat. Heat a griddle pan and cook the aubergines for a couple of minutes on both sides until lightly browned. Set aside while you get on with the tomato sauce

2. Heat a large frying pan. Fry the garlic and onion with a little oil until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano and wine. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

3. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.

4. In a medium-sized roasting tin, spread a little tomato sauce over the bottom of the tin. Add a layer of aubergine slices and spread another layer of tomato sauce on top.

5. Spread half the ricotta on the top and sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper. Continue to repeat the layers until all the aubergine is used. Finish with a layer of mozzarella slices topped with a final sprinkle of Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes.

6. For the salad, place the leaves in a large bowl and mix. Combine the oil, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Dress the leaves with the dressing just before serving.

7. Serve the parmigiana hot with the salad alongside. This dish reheats well if you have any leftovers.


How to Make These Three Lip-Smacking Italian Dishes


For the beetroot cure:

2 large fresh beetroots, peeled and quartered
1 orange , zest of
2 lemons , zest of
2 juniper berries , bashed
6 tablespoons rock salt
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
800 g side of salmon

For the herb cure

1 small bunch fresh dill , finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh tarragon , leaves picked and finely chopped
4 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish


For the first cure, blitz the beetroots, orange and lemon zest, and bashed juniper berries in a food processor until you get a fairly smooth paste. Transfer this to a bowl and stir in the rock salt and sugar.

1. Lay the side of salmon skin-side down on a large baking tray and slowly pour over the beetroot cure. Use a spatula to spread it all over the salmon flesh. Once it is all well covered, wrap the salmon in a double layer of greaseproof paper then wrap it tightly with cling film and place it in the fridge for 24 hours.

2. The next day, take the salmon out of the fridge and carefully unwrap it so you can rinse off the cure. Either use 100ml of cold water or gin. Hold the salmon over a baking tray and pour a splash at a time over your salmon. Use a spoon to gently push the beetroot cure off the fish. By now it should have shared its wonderful flavors with the fish and turned it a really vibrant color. Put the rinsed salmon to one side and run the tray under the tap.

3. For the second cure, mix together the chopped herbs, grated horseradish and gin. Put the salmon back into the clean tray, skin-side down, and pack the herby cure onto the salmon using your hands. Make sure you cover all the flesh – you don’t want any air getting to it. Wrap it again with a double layer of greaseproof paper, then a tight layer of cling film. Pop the salmon back in the fridge for another 24 hours.

4. The next day your salmon will be perfectly cured and ready to eat. You don’t need to rinse off that second cure – simply slice the salmon as finely as you can on an angle so you get gorgeous thin slices of salmon tinged with pink and topped with herbs.

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