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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‘UNA SPAGHETTATA…’

October 30, 2010

SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE VERACI E POMODORINI – SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Recipe n. 26

Growing up on an island in the mediterannean I ate quite a lot of fish as you can probably imagine. It’s a totally different experience to buy some fish in Sicily compared to New York City.  In the little town where I come from, which is by the sea, una piccola borgata di mare, there are lots of local ‘pescivendoli’. You can smell the fresh fish from a distance and while I know quite a lot of people are bothered by this smell but it gives me a strong sense of connectedness with the sea. In Sicily they would never sell you a ‘fillet’. You have to buy the whole fish, from head to tail, maybe they will clean it a bit for you but that’s about it. I have also noticed that there is a big difference in terms of flavor. The fish from the Atlantic has a milder flavor while the fish from the mediterranean has a much stronger sea flavor and it’s saltier.  Despite these differences, here in New York I feel very lucky to live close by one of the best fish places in town (even if it’s not by the sea) which happens to be in Chelsea Market. This recipe will be ideal if  you want to cook a tasty and easy meal for dinner for your guests, it makes a perfect ‘spaghettata’.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 450g  (1 pound) spaghetti or linguine
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Good pinch of dried hot chilli flakes
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1kg ( a bit over 2 pounds)  of small clams, scrubbed and degritted
  • 10 cherry tomatoes ( pomodorini pachino)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic, chilli and half the parsley for a couple of minutes. Add the clams and wine, turn up the heat, then cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the clams have opened.

Remove the clams and the juice and set aside. In the same pan add about 4 spoons of olive oil,  the chopped garlic and hot chilli pepper flakes. After the garlic turns gold,  add the cherry tomatoes. Let them cook  for a few minutes and then crush them with a fork. Add the clams, the rest of the parsley and slowly add the juice which you previously cooked with the clams. Let the juice evaporate for a few minutes and then add a sprinkle of wine and keep the heat high. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in all the spaghetti with the clams and the juices and the remaining parsley.

LINGUINE CON PROSCIUTTO E PISELLI  – PEAS AND HAM LINGUINE

Recipe n. 18

I haven’t made this dish in a while as I inevitably got bored with it because my husband keeps asking me to cook it way too often, as he likes it so much.  I have decided to start making it again after kept it in ‘quarantine‘ for quite some time. What I really love about this dish is what you can make with it from the leftovers the next day.… I learnt this trick in Italy from a lovely ‘mamma Napoletana’ who told me that in Naples it’s a very common thing to do with leftover pasta. I am not the kind of person who would ever eat cooked pasta from the day before as it usually tastes like ‘glue’, but with this recipe it’s a totally different story…

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Linguine or Spaghetti
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 lb Frozen peas
  • ¼ lb Ham cut in strips
  • ¼ cup Parsley chopped
  • 1/2  cup of vegetable broth or plain water
  • ¼ cup Fresh grounded Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of Red chili pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 to 4 Eggs
  • ¼ cup Milk (or rice milk)

In a tall pot bring the water to a boil and cook pasta until ‘al dente’. In the meantime in a large skillet or pot heat the olive oil and add the onion, salt and pepper and red chili pepper flakes. When the onion is about translucent add the peas and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the broth or just plain water and cook the peas for about 10 minutes. Add the ham and cook 5 minutes longer. Turn the heat off and add some fresh chopped parsley and mix this dressing with spaghetti. If the dressing looks a bit dry you can add some of the cooking water you used for pasta. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on each plate.

Now here comes the best part. Keep the left over pasta already mixed with the dressing refrigerated. The day after you can enjoy this great ’frittata di pasta’ at lunch or dinnertime:  whisk 3 or 4 eggs in a bowl, salt and pepper and some milk (I like to use rice milk). In a skillet heat a couple of table spoons of olive oil and stir the pasta ‘to bring it to life’ again, now add the eggs and lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook until the eggs look brown on the surface. I actually finish the cooking part of this dish in the oven and broil for 2 or 3 minutes to obtain a crunchy brown frittata.  Set aside, let it cool and cut the frittata in slices to serve.

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