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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SEPPIOLINE IN UMIDO –

November 17, 2016

Baby Squid Stew

Recipe n. 40

Back to Sicilian repertoire!

I inherited this delicious recipe from my mom’s cooking. To give her full credit, I should use the same ‘vocabulary’ she uses to describe the way this food needs to be cooked: ‘A tutto dentro’. There is not an easy way to translate this expression into english and it really doesn’t make much sense in italian either. Every time she uses it,  my sister and I can’t help smiling and tease my mom. What do you mean with a tutto dentro???  Literally it means ‘everything inside’. I believe it is a cooking expression used mostly in the Southern area of Italy. Basically all the ingredients go in one pot and cook slowly!

With this system the nourishing proprieties of what is cooking  inside the pot won’t be lost.

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© 2016 Field of Flavors – All Rights Reserved

 

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© 2016 Field of Flavors – All Rights Reserved

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh seppioline (or calamaretti)

  • 1 onion (thinly sliced or chopped)

  • 1 bottle tomato sauce ( 750 ml)

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 tbsp fish broth (or water) or white wine

  • pinch hot chilly pepper

  • salt and pepper

  • Olive oil

  • fresh chopped basil at the end to garnish on top

  •  slices of tasted country bread to accompany the dish

 

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© 2016 Field of Flavors – All Rights Reserved

 

Rinse the seppioline under cold water and let them rest in the fridge in a colander. In a large pot add some olive oil and gently sauté the onions until translucent. Add the seppioline, tomato paste, bay leaf, hot chilli pepper. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes and then add the liquid of your choice (broth, water or wine). Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomato  sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 30 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil leaves and serve with toasted country bread on the side.

Buon appetito!

 

Back to the origins…

March 17, 2011

POLPETTE ALLA SICILIANA – SICILIAN STYLE MEATBALLS

Recipe n. 28

When I first started this blog, I wanted to make recipes available to you from my knowledge of Sicilian cuisine. I admit I have gotten lost on the way lately, as I started to experiment in the kitchen with different types of cuisine and other ways of cooking (or not cooking at all with the raw diet), but deep inside me there is something about my way of cooking which is rooted and will never leave me- my Sicilian influence. So here I am again with a typical sicilian recipe which has two basic ingredients very common in sicilian recipes, with an ancient influence from arabic cuisine: ‘passolina e pinoli ‘, pine nuts and raisins. When combined together they often represent the key ingrendients of the most famous sicilian recipes.  Today I want to show you how we make meatballs in Sicily.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground lean beef (grass fed and no antibiotics)
  • 1/4 cup of ‘passolina e pinoli’/ raisins and pine nuts (better if you can use currants soaked in water for a few minutes )
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs soaked in milk for a few minutes
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped  or grated
  • chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • olive  oil

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until they are well combined (but do not overdo the mixing). Using both hands start rolling the meatballs between the palms of your hands. I like to make my meatballs small like single bites, but you can make them any size you like. After you have obtained several meatballs you have different options about how to cook them. You could heat a few spoons of olive oil in a large pot and then place the meatballs gently inside and let them brown on both sides and then add your favorite home made tomato sauce and cook everything together for about  20 to 30 minutes over medium/low heat. Or if you prefer a ligher version, instead of frying them in the olive oil, you could bake them for 20 min in the oven and then put them in the pot with the sauce to finish cooking them, or place the meatballs directly the way they are while the sauce is still cooking. Whatever your preference is you’re going to love them. It’s one of the few ways to get my ‘meat reluctant child’ to eat meat, and he really really likes them!

MINESTRA ESTIVA DI ZUCCHINA LUNGA SICILIANA –  SUMMER SOUP WITH LONG  SICILIAN SQUASH

Recipe n. 24

A funny coincidence happened last week: I received two ‘super long funny looking squash’ from two different friends. They are typically  grown in Sicily around this time of year. It must have something to do with the meaning of my last name in sicilian dialect: ‘cucuzza which means zucchina’! We use the zucchina and its leaves when they are available (which are called tenerumi), to make  a simple yet deliciuos minestra which can be eaten hot or cold. I was sure that I would have never found them here in New York, but I was wrong. Apparently every wednesday at Carmine st. and Bleecker st. there is a local farmer who is selling them, along with delicious fruit and vegetables. I dedicate this recipe to my dear friend Amy, who cycled all the way to our place on her bicycle, together with her young son and the zucchina lunga siciliana. She was also very excited with the new discovery…not to mention that she had dressed the zucchina in a beautiful red silk ribbon! What more could one ask for?

Ingredients ( Serves 4)

  • 1 zucchina lunga siciliana
  • 1 white medium size onion,
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 small potatoes,
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth (optional) or regular water
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or pecorino romano
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of hot chilly pepper (optional)
  • Olive oil

1 cup of spaghetti (broken in small pieces) to cook separetly and then add to the minestra (optional)

Cut the 2 extremities of the zucchina, peel it and cube it. Try to get rid of most of the seeds, if you can. Rinse all the pieces and let them dry in a colander.In the meantime wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. Peel the potatoes and cut in small pieces (same size of the zucchina). Place  about 3  tbsps of olive oil in a  large pot and let the onion, previously chopped, cook for a few minutes together with the hot chilly pepper and the cherry tomatoes. As soon as they soften, crush them slightly with a wooden spoon and then add the zucchina lunga siciliana. After cooking for a few minutes at medium/high heat, take the hot chilly pepper out and lower the heat. Now add 1 cup of water (or broth). While it’s cooking, the zucchina will also release its own water contained in the vegetable. Let it cook at medium heat until the broth will be slightly evaporated and the zucchina will look tender and soft. Adjust with salt and pepper and add some chopped  basil leaves. Just before serving add some grated cheese to the minestra and a few spoons of cooked spaghetti , if you wish.

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