Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a Pasta day

The Danube separates Budapest into Buda and Pest.  It was actually towards the end of the 1800 's that Buda, Pest and Obuda were joined to create Budapest and make it a world class city. This was during the Golden Age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Today Pest is the area of the old buildings , the restaurants, the nightlife, the place where you go to have fun . Buda on the other hand is quiet and reserved.  There are many restaurants here also but the people who live here come for the hills , the scenery, the fresh air, it is more a family place.
It is very quick and easy to get across the river to either Buda or Pest. You actually can get any place in around 20 minutes. The Hungarians complain about the transportation but I tell them to go to any large North American City and compare and they would be happy with what they have here.  Public transportation is amazing considering sometimes in the car it would be an hour.  I used to drive everywhere and complain of the traffic and the parking fees which are crazy in Pest. I started taking the public transportation as driving was stressing me out too much . Now I hardly ever use my car preferring the bus, trams (streetcar) or metro ( subway) . I love taxis also and they are not expensive so depending on where I go I might take one.

OK I started to tell you about the Danube or Duna as it is correctly called.  I get so carried away.  I am fascinated by this river. It is the 2nd longest river in Europe after the Volga and in classified as an international waterway. It originates in the Black Forest area of Germany  where 2 smaller river join and passes through 4 central and eastern European capitals before it empties into the black sea.

The river is calming, it is no longer blue only in the late afternoon when the sun strikes it at an angle and then it turns blue and looks like was 1000's of years ago but still it is mesmerizing. The boats and  barges, the cruise ships and the kayakers all use this river so peacefully. It has only been lately that on some hot days there are speed boats and sea-dos. I never tire of the view of the river and can think of no better relaxation in the late afternoon then sitting on the balcony with tea or coffee and cookies and chilling.

Today as the weather has finally gotten colder (25) I decided to make one of my husbands favorite meals.
It is a typical pasta dish that the Hungarians eat.

250 grams of pasta which is shaped into large squares or sheets.
250 grams of Ricotta cheese
100 grams of sour cream
250 grams more or less of smoked bacon cut into small pieces

Fry the bacon, when crispy take out the pieces and place on a paper towel to dry. Save the oil.

While you are doing this  ,boil the water and add the pasta and a pinch of salt  and cook until al dente , then strain , splash with a little oil so that the pieces do not stick together.

Take an oven pan and put a little oil on the bottom and now comes the layering.

Place one layer of the pasta and on top of that a layer of ricotta , spoon a bit of sour cream on top of this . Then another layer of pasta and repeat with the ricotta and sour cream .
Now you will add 3/4's of the bacon and some of the bacon oil ,drizzle it on . Now the last layer of pasta and the rest of the bacon is sprinkled and the oil is drizzled on top .
 The bacon is mixed in with the cheese. For a vegetarian version  just leave out the bacon....It will still taste great!

This you will cover and place in a 160 pre-heated oven . This dish is so easy that you don't even have to time it , just place it in the oven 1 hour before you want to eat.

When ready to eat take the cover off and slightly cool. When serving this have some sour cream at the table also and a bowl of sugar.

I also have a plate of marintated kosher dill pickles and  cabbage stuffed hot yellow peppers. My husband eats this sweet with sugar and I eat it with the hot peppers!

I was speaking with an old friend and he will come one day and make Slambuc. This is apparently a dish that is similar but made in a pot of boiling water and made by the herdsmen many many years ago. he will be making the thin pasta for that by hand so I can hardly wait for that 'cooking' day.

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