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Minestra con il Romanesco e spaghetti spezzettati 

Recipe n. 41

I made this delicious soup the other day.

I was looking in my fridge for some inspiration for a simple, light and nourishing dinner and voilà, there it was: this amazing pointy green broccolo, which looks like a sculpture from nature.

In Sicily during winter the green broccolo is probably the most popular vegetable that you see at the market. It’s a pretty picture to look at: lots and lots of bright green broccoli. The romanesco is not as common as the plain green one, but they are very similar in taste.

I followed my mom’s old fashioned technique to prepare the spaghetti for this soup. Nowadays you can purchase a bag of broken spaghetti everywhere, but there is something ‘therapeutic and mindful’ in breaking your own spaghetti, especially if done in the way my mom taught me when I was a child.

You don’t need much, just half bag of long regular spaghetti (I like to use wholewheat pasta) and a kitchen towel, where you first would place the spaghetti broken into large pieces and then after wrapping them inside the towel,  you start crushing them on the counter with the strenght of one of your arms, using the palm of your hand in a motion movement until they become about 1 inch long or less.

In my moms version of this soup there is no garlic or tomato paste, but I thought adding these simple ingredients would give a little kick to the soup and oh boy they did the job, especially  when you add some hot chili pepper flakes.

I could have eaten the enire pot, no kidding!

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Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of whole wheat spaghetti (broken)

  • 1 romanesco

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 1 to 2 tbsp of tomato paste

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes

  • olive oil

  • salt

  • pepper

Wash the romanesco and cut in small pieces. In a large pan sautee the garlic, hot chili pepper flakes in olive oil. Add the tomato paste and the romanesco. Let it mix well for a few minutes with all the ingredients and slowly add enough water. Add some salt and pepper and bring it to a boil.

As soon as the romanesco is well cooked, you can add the broken spaghetti. If the water evaporated too much you can add some more.

Once the pasta is cooked serve immediately and enjoy.

Go for seconds with zero guilt: it’s all good!

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Busiate Siciliane

Homemade Sicilian Busiate

 Recipe n. 35

While I stopped eating refined flour a long time ago (simply because the grain has been stripped of any nutrients turning it into empty calories) I will always make an exception when it comes to fresh homemade pasta. It’s more than that. It’s a way of gathering with family and friends to share an experience of making homemade food.

Busiate fresh pasta (or busiati ) is a Sicilian specialty from the area of Trapani. Traditionaly it is homemade and dressed with local fresh tomato sauce.

Ironic as it is, I learned how to make Sicilian busiate fresh pasta here in New York, from my dear friend Simona who is originally  from a town in the very North of  Italy: Torino. She loves spending her Summer vacations in Sicily and  like me she is passionate about food and cooking.

 

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© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights Reserved

 

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© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights Reserved

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of durum wheat semolina flour

  • 1/2 cup of room temperature water

 

In a bowl mix by hand the flour with water until you obtain a ball of dough. Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead it for 8 to 10 minutes.  Let it rest on a tray  previously sprinkled with flour and  cover it with a damp cloth.
Begin making busiate by rolling a small piece of dough with the palm of your hands until you obtain a 1/4 inch long roll, cut  the roll in several long pieces and start  twisting the little strands of dough around a  wooden skewer. Pull the pasta shape out gently and lay all the fresh homemade busiate on a floured baking sheet, while sprinkling some more flour on top. Be careful that the busiate do not touch each other.

Allow them to dry for a while, even hours, then cook them in salted water , for at least 3 minutes. Pull them out with a slotted spoon and place them directly in the sauce of your choice. If you are making your own fresh tomato sauce I suggest to finish up with some  fresh grated pecorino cheese or ricotta salata.

 

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PASTA AL SALMONE AFFUMICATO – PASTA WITH SMOKED SALMON

Recipe n.33

I’m very happy  to share this recipe with you, as it is the result of pure improvisation from an evening a few years ago. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner for my family. I started to put together several ingredients to try to please everybody’s palate and it turned out to be a hit!  Since then I have been making this dish quite often and I always get the same positive feedback.

 

© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights ReservedIMG_6791

 

 

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Ingredients for 4 people

  • 500g pasta (any short type of your choice – I prefer to use wholewheat pasta)

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 1 fennel bulb+stalk thinly sliced

  • 4 to 5 ounces of smoked salmon

  • 12 mushrooms ( I like to use either crimini or shiitake mushrooms)

  • Lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • Fresh dill

  • Olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of white wine

  • Salt and Pepper

 

Bring a medium size pot with water to boil for the pasta.  In a large pan sautee the onions and  fennel in olive oil for  a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, lemon zest,  and some dill.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the smoked salmon and the white wine keeping  on a medium-hight heat until the wine has evaporated. Add some lemon juice and the reamining dill. Drain and transfer the pasta to a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Adjust with salt and pepper and enjoy!