March 10, 2017

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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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GELO DI MELONE – WATERMELON JELLY DESSERT

Recipe n. 23

Here we are again. We are back from our vacation in Italy and I have brought back, along with the nostalgic feelings, a lot of good stories, new recipe ideas and beautiful pictures of Sicily, which I will soon be posting on this blog with their own link. Today I want to tell you about ‘Sicilian gelo di melone’. If you go anywhere else in Italy, you are unlikely to find this delicious dessert in a pastry shop, while in Sicily during summertime it’s almost impossible to walk into a pastry shop and not find ‘gelo di melone’. I love the taste, the color and the consistency of this unique dessert. I made it the other day and I wish I had made more, as it was gone in no time…

This is the recipe with a little twist, my own personal variation.

Angurie al Mercato del Capo a Palermo

Ingredients*

  • 1 big watermelon (about  5 Kg.)
  • 100 gr sugar for every liter of juice obtained ( I use instead orange blossom honey)
  • 80 gr cornstarch for every liter of juice obtained
  • 100 gr pistachios (pistacchi di Bronte di  Sicilia)
  • 50 gr bitter chocolate drops

* I apologize to those unfamiliar with grams. You can use the converter under cooking tools on the right side of the page.

Skin and seed the watermelon, process it through a sieve to obtain 1 liter (or more) of juice. Put it in a bowl with the sugar (or honey) and cornstarch. Bring to the boil at low heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and cool it down to room temperature, stirring occasionally. It should still be a bit fluid. Add the chocolate drops. Mix it and pour into a round pudding mold, moistened with water or any mold you like. ( I often use espresso coffee cups as they are a perfect small individual size). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or even better, overnight. Remove the Gelo from the mold (or in the case of individual small cups you can enjoy it straight from the original mold), sprinkle with grounded pistachios, garnish with chocolate drops and  1 or 2 whole pistachios before serving.

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