Surviving Freshers’: Easy Italian recipes to start off First year with the right fork

I most definitely am the typical Italian Mammone. Considering that I lived basically my entire life alone with my mum as my dad travels a lot for work and is home only in the weekends and that my siblings have all moved out the house when I was still a kid, I’m certain of this.

Therefore, coming to uni, the hardest thing I had to get used to was cooking myself some food every, single, day. Getting in the routine of going shopping, cooking and cleaning up was one of the struggles I faced in Freshers’ (apart from gulping down liters of tequila shots with my housemates). So, today I’ve gathered around some of my “best” recipes during my first ever Freshers’ Week.

Tomato and onion bruschetta

Difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆ – chopping up tomatoes and onions, we can do it!

Time: 5-10 mins

When I couldn’t be asked to cook anything at all, this is what I’d make: a little appetizer that can play as a dinner when you are not too hungry.

Ingredients:

  • Old Bread
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • basil
  • Olive Oil (possibly from Andrea’s farm, but any will do)
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1: Slice the old bread and toast it. In the meantime, start cutting the tomatoes and onions in small pieces and place them in a bowl with salt, pepper and some basil to flavour.

Step 2: Place the mix onto the bread and finish off with some olive oil on top.

Eggs in tomato sauce 

Difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆ – don’t even have to use a knife!

Time: 20 mins

2 easy steps for a tasty meal! This is the type of recipe I’d make when I’d forget I had to cook myself some food before eating.

Ingredients:

  • Tomato passata 
  • 2/3 cloves of garlic 
  • basil
  • 2/3 eggs 
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1: Put some oil in a pan and let the garlic cloves cook for a few minutes just to release all its beautiful flavour in the oil. Then add the tomato passata, half a tin will be enough, and let it cook with the garlic for about 10/15 minutes.

Step 2: Add salt and pepper to taste and a few leaves of basil and your sauce is ready for the eggs to go in! Place the eggs in the tomato sauce and let them cook until ready. Some like to eat the eggs whole, other like to scramble them up in the sauce, personally, I like to have both, so I’m always happy!

Eat the eggs with some bread for a dietary perfect meal, and don’t forget to do the Scarpetta!!

Squash and pancetta pasta 

Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆ cutting up the squash could require some effort, maybe don’t try and do this while drinking jars of Jagermeister.

Time: 20-30 mins

This is still one of my favourite meals to make. If you walk into the kitchen and I am cooking this, it means either that I’ve accomplished something good in life, such as getting out of bed and going for a run (well done me!) or that I’m a bit low on my usual hectic energy and need refueling.

Ingredients:

  • Half onion 
  • Half a squash 
  • Pancetta cubes
  • Pasta (Farfalle or conchiglie are the best kinds for this dish, but any type will do the job)
  • A pinch of nutmeg 
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (not necessary)

Step 1: Slice the onion into half rings, then peel the squash with a potato peeler, being careful not to break the peeler (broke a couple in my house doing this and now my housemates hate me for this, so really: BE CAREFUL) and cut the squash into cubes.

Step 2: In a pan warm up some olive oil and then place the onions and the pancetta cubes for a few minutes. After the onions have softened up and the pancetta looks pretty cooked, add the squash in a let them go until you can slice in the squash cube with a fork without any problem. Add some water if it starts to look a bit dry/sets on fire. Using a lid could also be a good idea as it makes the squash soften quicker and the keeps the liquids from evaporating too much. Finish off with some salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

Step 3: Cook the pasta al dente and add to the pan of squash. Stir around until the pasta has mixed up well with the sauce, finally, grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top and serve!

Here you have it: three simple recipes to try during your hungover freshers’ week!

Buon appetito!!

Andrea x

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