Tagliatelle con calamari

This was simply delicious!

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For 500 gr of fresh calamari
1- In a large pan, place some olive oil and fry lightly five cloves of garlic crushed and a mix of Italian herbs (oregano, parsley, basil, etc.). Add salt and pepper to taste.
2- Add one kg of fresh tomato pulp and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
3- Add the calamari, mix well and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Do not overcook the calamari.

Serve with long pasta such as Tagliatelle, and top with freshly grated Parmigiano, more herbs and some hot peppers if you so desire. Enjoy!

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In the kitchen – Chef Corrado Assenza

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If I may, I highly recommend you watch Vol.4, Episode 2 of Netflix’ “The Chef’s Table.” It is dedicated to the Sicilian Pastry Chef Corrado Assenza, from his Caffè Sicilia in Noto, Sicily.

I loved everything that was presented from his approach to baking; the treasures that came out of his kitchen such as granita, gelato, almond cookies, brioche and so much more; and his insistence of high quality products and making almost everything by hand, one by one.

And then I smiled a big smile when he spoke about apricot jam (marmellata di albicocche). He spoke about it with so much tenderness almost as tender as the jam itself and just the way I think about it. He said it was the first jam a child tasted,  as it was the case for my son; the one that had to be made at home, as we do; and of course, bringing the amount of sugar to a minimum to enhance the natural flavour of the apricot.

If I may, you can find many apricot jam recipe on Fig & Lemon: Apricot & Rose Jam, Apricot and Vervena Jam, Apricot Jam with brown sugar, Jam with small apricots, among others.

He concluded by speaking of living a life of quality and simplicity, the same way he approaches his kitchen. I liked that very much.

Photo: Gelato al basilico e zafferano/mandorla/limone, Caffè Sicilia, Noto – via Passione Gourmet, Italia.

 

Pappardelle alla carbonara

For a few minutes you will feel you are in Rome!

This is an easy recipe and yet I have long hesitated to try. I made it the simple way. Next time I will add pieces of bacon, or some cured meat such as Prosciutto. I think it would give it more zest and more colour of course!

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For 250 gr of Pappardelle all’uovo
1- Cook the pasta per instruction.
2- In the meantime: grate 60 gr of Peccorino or Romano cheese and set aside.
3- Grind one generous teaspoon of black pepper corns.
4- In a bowl mix with a fork two small eggs with half of the cheese (30 gr) and all of the black pepper.
5- When the pasta is done, pour it immediately on the egg mixture and mix well. Add the rest of the cheese and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix again.

Serve immediately. I served it with a lovely happy salad, omitting the Parmigiano shavings.

Bucatini con strisce di carne

A little Italian inspired dish that proved quite a success! I used an artesanal Italian pasta called “bucatini con archetto” – a little bit like spaghetti but thicker. Just wonderful.

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For two servings
1- Cook the bucatini as indicated in the package (about 250 gr. or a little more than 100 gr. per serving).
2- Meanwhile, place 200 gr. of high quality sirloin cut in strips on a plate and sprinkle with salt and freshly crushed pepper.
3- In a bowl, place a few cherry tomatoes cut in half with some crushed garlic, salt and olive oil.
4- Once the pasta is done and draining, place the beef strips on a pan with a drop of olive oil. Keep the flame on high and sauté the strips. It should take less than 10 minutes.

To serve: Place the bucatini on a deep plate, place some strips, the tomatoes, some arugula leaves, shavings of Parmigiano and finish with a few drops of Balsamic vinegar and freshly crushed pepper.

Art

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Glass garland bowl from the Early Imperial Augustan Period, late First century BC – Roman Empire. (18.1 cm in diameter)
Via The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Pasta Bolognese with lots of carrots

This was just perfect on an especially cold January day. I added a whole bunch of carrots, giving it a wonderful sweet taste.

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For 500 gr of high quality lean ground beef.
1- Place some olive oil in a large pot and add four garlic cloves crushed and one small red onion chopped.
2- When the onion pieces start to wilt and the garlic gives its aroma, add three carrots chopped in cubes, one kilo of tomatoes cut in large pieces, one generous tablespoon of brown sugar, three sprigs of rosemary (I cut them from a plant at home) and some crushed pepper. Do not add salt or the Bolognese will turn very liquid once you add the meat. Mix well.
3- Add the ground beef and mix again. Cook for about 25 minutes on low fire mixing from time to time. I like to keep it covered than uncover it for the last 10 minutes or so. That way it acquires just the right consistency.

Serve with pasta (here Fettucine all’uovo) and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano or as I did today Romano. I like to add hot chili peppers on my plate, such as chile chipotle.

Tagliatelle bicolore con pomodori e pancetta

A colourful pasta with the nice added flavour of Pancetta.

Pancetta is an Italian type of bacon with black pepper. I could not find it here in San Miguel so I used organic bacon, which proved to be as delicious.

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For two servings of Tagliatelle
1- Cook the Pancetta (or bacon) in a heavy pan until nice and crispy.
2- Take away the strips and leave any piece that may be just fat. Add four tomatoes cut in cubes and a teaspoon of black pepper crushed. Let it cook stirring from time to time.
3- Make sure you remove the excess fat on the fried strips of pancetta with a paper towel. Cut them in small pieces. Set aside.
4- Cook the pasta.
5- In a bowl, mix freshly grated Parmigiano with dried herbs of choice. I used oregano and mint. Set aside.

To serve: Mix the pasta with the tomato sauce and serve in a deep plate. Add some of the Pancetta on top and some Parmigiano mix around it.

Tagliatelle con aglio e limone

This is a really easy recipe and filled with flavours. It is most convenient to make when you come back from a trip and realise you have very few ingredients at home, as it happened to me a few days ago.

All you need is high quality pasta, some garlic, a lemon (or a lime), dried herbs, black pepper, olive oil and good Parmigiano.

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For two servings 
1- Cook the pasta per instruction.
2- In a pan, fry four to five garlic cloves sliced for a few minutes in olive oil.
3- Add one lemon or one lime (as in the photo) cut in very thin slices (make sure you take away the seeds). Let it all fry gently in medium fire until the garlic slices take on a golden colour. Add some dried herbs in the last few minutes along with freshly ground pepper.
4- Drain the pasta, place in a large bowl and top with the garlic-lemon mix and all the olive oil. Toss well.

Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano. Optionally, you can add some Peperoncino to give it a slight kick and more colours. 

Fettuccine con pomodori e aglio

The perfect pasta when you have little time. The tomatoes cook directly on the plate with hot oil and garlic. It is really good!

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1- Cook the Fettuccine (preferably egg based and fresh) per instructions.

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2- While the pasta is cooking, place some olive oil and fry as much garlic as you want in a small pan.
3- While the garlic gets golden, dice some tomatoes and place them either in a large bowl or in individual deep serving plates. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground pepper and dried herbs. [If you use fresh herbs, add them just as you are about to serve the Fettuccine.]

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4- When the garlic is nice and golden, pour the oil with the garlic directly on the tomatoes. They will sizzle!
5- Add the cooked Fettuccine and mix.

Serve immediately (sprinkle with fresh herbs if at hand) accompanied by freshly grated Parmiggiano. Enjoy!