Cozze e vongole alla poretta (poor man’s clams and mussels)

Mussels and clams are the “queens” of the Adriatic Sea. They can never be missed on the table, either as an appetizer or an aperitif, better if served with a glass of good local white wine on the beach.  The recipe is called “poretta”, which means “poor man’s”, because they are cooked only with some herbs. Clean the mussels by washing them thoroughly under running water. Scrub the outside of the shell to remove the encrustations and pull off the hairy ‘beard’ that sticks out from the shell with a knife blade. Wash the clams thoroughly under running water. Finely chop the parsley together with peeled garlic. Place the mix, oil, mussels and clams in a large casserole. Put them over high heat, cover and wait until they open, mixing every now and then. It generally takes 5-7 minutes. At the end, add a generous amount of pepper. Serve with lemon slices.

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Baccalà al forno (roasted cod fillet)

“Baccalà al forno” is one of the most typical dishes of Marche regional cuisine. It is easy to make, yet exceptionally tasty. Cod fillets are preserved and dried in salt, either naturally or artificially based on the type of production. Baccalà differs from stoccafisso (stockfish) because the latter is not salted. Remove skin and bones, cut the fish in 6cm sided pieces, wash and dry them. Place a layer of sliced potatoes in a greased over-proof dish or a roasting pan. Then cover with small tomatoes and season with chopped garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, adding salt or oil. Now place the cod fish on the base layer and season with wild fennel. Do not add salt because the fish is already salted. Cook in the oven at 160° for about 30 minutes and serve hot.  

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Ciambelle al mosto

September is the time for grape harvesting and must. All bakeries in town will offer  anisette-scented ring-shaped cakes made with must, a valuable ingredient obtained from freshly harvested and pressed grapes. Ciambelle are delicious when spread with jam or chocolate for breakfast or for a snack. Pour half of the flour in a large bowl and make a hole in the middle. Place the brewer’s yeast in the centre, after melting it with a small amount of lukewarm must. Mix with a fork only in the centre to obtain a ball as big as an apple and cover it with a thin layer of flour. Cover the bowl with a plate and keep in a warm place, preferably in the oven at moderate heat. Leave the dough to rise for about 2 hours. Now work the dough on the wooden board. Take the remaining flour, sugar, warm must, anisette seeds, beaten eggs and mix everything with the contents of the bowl. Work the dough in a ring shape. Place in the baking pan with greaseproof paper and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave the cake to rise in the oven, warm but off, to avoid contact with air. The second rising must last for 2 more hours, until the cake has doubled its volume. Bake in the oven at 180° for about 15 minutes.  

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Ciambellone della nonna (grandma’s cake)

Ciambellone is a simple, genuine cake, typical of the historical and cultural heritage of local families. Also in this case, you will find an endless number of different versions, one for each grandmother in the Marche region. Sift the flour and mix it with yeast; then mix the compound with milk, melted lard or butter, eggs beaten with sugar and lemon peel. The result is a soft, fluffy dough. Shape in a roll and place in a buttered, floured baking pan. The mix can be enriched with raisins, candied fruit, nuts and almonds. Brush it with egg yolk and bake in the oven.

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Musky octopus in tomato sauce

For the sauce: brown garlic with oil in a pan. Add anchovies in oil and chopped parsley. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for approximately 15 minutes. Mix the sauce with the mixer until creamy. For the musky octopus: place celery, carrots and onions, the peel of half a lemon, a piece of laurel, parsley and a pinch of salt in a pot with water. Bring to boil. Immerse the musky octopus and cook at low flame for 45  minutes. Place the tomato sauce in a hollow dish, lay the musky octopus on top, spray with extra virgin olive oil and decorate with aromatic herbs.

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Triglia con cipolla e pomodoro e schiacciata di patate al profumo di timo

Scale off and gut the red mullets, washing them carefully. In a large pot brown chopped onions, parsley and capers in oil; add the tomato sauce, a pinch of salt and sprinkle with pepper. Mix for a few minutes; then lay the red mullets in the sauce, in one layer only. Cover the pot and cook at low flame for 10 minutes. Peel 3 potatoes and cook them in water with salt; drain and smash them with a fork. Add butter, salt, pepper and thyme. Serve as shown in the photo.

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Tortino di alici

Clean the anchovies. Oil the pie mould and cover the bottom with bread crumbs. Place the anchovy fillets in a radial pattern. Stuffing: in a bowl place tuna fish, bread crumbs flavoured with salt, pepper and thyme, grated Parmesan cheese and milk. Mix the compound and add pine nuts, raisins, and capers. Mix well, adding salt and pepper. Sauté the tomatoes in a pan with oil, sage, salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes in the pie mould and the compound above the tomatoes. Finish with the anchovies and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake the pie in the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool down. Béchamel sauce: heat fresh whole milk; separately, melt 100 g of butter at low flame; turn off the flame and add 80 g of flour, mixing with a whisk. Cook at low flame, mixing until golden brown. Flavour with nutmeg and salt, pouring a little amount of hot milk on the roux to stir, then add the rest of the milk and mix vigorously with the whisk. Cook for 5-6 minutes at low flame until the sauce thickens and starts boiling. Arrange the dish with the béchamel, the pie in overturned position, together with oil and tomatoes.

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Squid tagliatelle on cream of peas

Carefully clean the squids, keeping the heads and the ink sac on the side for further preparation. Put the squids in vacuum bags for low temperature cooking, and cook at 55°C for about 3 hours. When ready, let the squids cool down and cut them in thin longitudinal strips, preferably with a slicing machine. Add salt as desired. In the meantime, to make the cream of peas, put oil and chopped onion in a pot, brown and add the peas, cooking for about 20 minutes in vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper as desired. When cooked, mix with a mixer to obtain a smooth velvety cream. Place the cream of peas in a hollow dish, lay the squid tagliatelle on top, and spray with some ink drops and extra virgin olive oil. Decorate as desired.

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Tagliatelle with clam sauce

Tagliatelle (noodles) with clam sauce are a typical Italian seafood dish. Simplicity, which is the secret of many recipes, makes it even more spectacular! Starve the clams for a few hours, repeatedly changing the water to eliminate the sand. Drain the clams and let them open in a large pan with 2 spoonfuls of oil and one smashed garlic clove. As soon as they open, remove the clams from the flame, discarding the closed ones. Filter the water produced by the clams and sieve it finely, collecting it in a container. In a pan, heat half glass of oil and two cloves of garlic, which will be removed after browning. Add some white wine, the clam water and bring to boil; add salt and pepper and cook for a few seconds the clams without shell, abundantly sprinkling with chopped parsley. Cook the tagliatelle “al dente” (firm) and sauté in the pan with the clams. Serve immediately, while still very hot.  

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Baked sole fish with orange and potatoes

Scrape and peel the sole fish. Fillet the sole fish, trying not to leave any meat on the bone. Flavour the fillets with salt and pepper. Recompose the sole, breading it in bread crumbs flavoured with parsley, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Place the recomposed sole fish in a pan covered with oven baking paper and cook at 200°C for 4 minutes after pre-heating the oven. Serve with fresh peeled orange and roasted potatoes.

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Polentina with sea snail sauce

Wash the sea snails in water with salt, and let them settle. Blanch the sea snails and shell them, one by one. Chop up onions, garlic, thyme, marjoram, wild fennel and paprika; brown in oil and add the sea snails after shelling and washing them. Keep browning and spray with dry white wine, let the wine evaporate and add tomato paste diluted with water. Cook slowly for about one hour. Make the polenta, pouring the flour slowly in hot water with salt. Cook for about 40 minutes and serve the polenta covered with the sea snail sauce.

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Passatelli in mackerel sauce with crunchy bacon

For passatelli (pasta formed of bread crumbs, eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon and nutmeg): mix all the ingredients into a smooth, uniform dough. Make passatelli with the passatelli-maker, arrange them carefully on a tray, sprinkle with bread crumbs and store in the fridge until cooking. For the sauce: brown the garlic, oil, paprika and thyme in a low-edge pot. Add seedless chopped tomatoes to the mackerel in pieces. Add salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Cook passatelli in abundant salty water, drain when “al dente” (firm) and immediately add to the sauce, adding the crunchy bacon. Serve hot

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