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Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Radiatori with Sausage & Saffron

We’re getting a new kitchen and currently trying to clear the cupboards of as many ingredients as possible to save us having to pack them away. I don’t know why we bought a bag of radiatori pasta, maybe we just liked the look of it, but a quick flick of the books turned up the perfect recipe. Do find Italian sausages if you can (we used luganega but you can often find good pork and fennel ones too) as they’re a lot denser than our traditional sausages. Gone are the days when we used to beg Italian restaurants to sell us some!

Wine suggestion: the saffron gives this dish a refinement and character a little different to some other Italian / pasta recipes and we think that the newly classic wines of the Tuscan coast, specifically Bolgheri and northern Maremma suit the dish really well. For sheer value we’d open a bottle Argentiera’s Poggio ai Ginepri which is Cabernet Sauvignon led. However, if you can stretch further then the Cabernet Franc led wines of Biserno, like their il Pino would make this dish feel like a proper event – as all Friday night dishes should be!

Radiatori with Sausage & Saffron – serves 4 to 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • a large onion, roughly chopped
  • 500g Italian sausages, remove the skins and break up the meat with your hands
  • ¼ tsp of saffron threads
  • 600ml passata
  • 500g radiatori pasta
  • basil & grated pecorino (to serve)

Warm the oil in a heavy casserole. Add the onion with a pinch of sea salt and cook over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until softened.

Turn the heat up, then add the sausagemeat, keep breaking it up with your spoon if needed, and stir until it loses its raw appearance, then add the saffron and passata. Bring to a bubble and turn the heat down low and simmer gently for 40 minutes.

Place a lid on the casserole and turn off the heat, then cook the pasta in lots of boiling, salty water for the time on the packet. Reserve a few ladlefuls of pasta water before you drain it.

Tip the pasta into the sauce and toss together, adding a bit of pasta water to help it come together if needed. Serve sprinkled with basil and pecorino.

(Original  recipe from At My Table by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2017.)

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Pasta with Fresh Peas, Guanciale, Mint & Pecorino

We hardly ever buy fresh peas in the pods as they rarely taste as good as frozen peas (must be Birdseye!), frozen the minute they are picked and therefore guaranteed fresh. Of course if you can pick your own that’s a different matter. We took a chance on some peas in their pods in our local veg shop to make this, but if you’re fortunate to be growing them yourself you have no such worries. The pea shoots are a really nice addition if you can find them.

Wine Suggestion: Our choice tonight is a Gavi di Gavi made by Pico Maccario in the Piedmont and the lemony edge to the wine added a nice extra dimension.

Pasta with fresh peas, guanciale, mint & pecorino – serves 2

  • 350g fresh peas, in their pods
  • 80g piece of guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) or smoked pancetta, finely diced
  • 150g dried rigatoni or similar
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ a lemon
  • 15g of fresh mint, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 30g pecorino cheese, finely grated,  plus extra to serve
  • peas shoots, to serve (optional)

Pod the peas and put the pods in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then scoop the pods out and discard (don’t discard the water).

Meanwhile, tip the guanciale into a large cold non-stick frying pan and put over a medium heat to render the fat, tossing often.

Cook the pasta in the pea pod flavoured water according to the timings on the pack.

Add the shallots to the guanciale pan and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the peas and a good splash of water, then finely grate in the lemon zest. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Drain the pasta but reserve a mugful of the cooking water. Tip the pasta into the frying pan, then remove from the heat and toss well. Stir in the mint and pecorino, shaking the pan. Loosen with a little pasta water if needed, then season and serve with extra pecorino, a drizzle of good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a few pea shoots.

(Original recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2018.)

 

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Devilled BBQ Chicken

Spatchcocking chicken is a great way to cook chicken on the barbecue. This works best over indirect heat – using a charcoal barbecue you need to push the hot coals to the sides rather than directly underneath the chicken. It’s all too easy to undercook chicken on a barbecue so we recommend using a meat thermometer if you have one – the chicken should get to at least 57-60C in the centre of the breasts.  Serve with salad and chips or jacket potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest a juicy, lighter bodied red for this dish and a youthful Beaujolais cru came to hand, the Rochette Morgon Cote du Py which had both depth and joyfully youthful freshness; a good balance to the peppery warmth and BBQ charring.

Devilled Grilled Chicken – serves 4

  • 1 x 1.5kg free-range chicken
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed dried chillies
  • 175ml olive oil
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Ask your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you or alternatively put it onto a chopping board, bread-side down, and cut along either side of the backbone with kitchen scissors. Open the chicken, turn it over and press down hard on the breastbone so it lies flat.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Add the chilli flakes and crush a little more.

For the marinade, mix the olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic and ½ tsp of salt. Put the chicken into a shallow dish or tray and pour over half the marinade. Turn the chicken over a couple of times to coat it and finish with the skin-side up. Sprinkle with three-quarters fo the pepper and chilli mixture, then cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Light your barbecue about 40 minutes before you want to start cooking and rearrange the coals for indirect cooking (see introduction).

Mix the remaining pepper and chilli mixture into the reserved marinade and use this to baste the chicken as it cooks.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and season on both sides with sea salt. Discard the marinade left in the dish.

Put the chicken carcass-side down onto the barbecue and cook for 15-20 minutes, basting with a little of the leftover marinade occasionally. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 15-20 minutes and continue to baste. Keep working like this until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy (ideally use a meat thermometer and test the breast until it reaches 57-60C). It will. probably take 15 minutes per 450g plus 20 minutes, but this is really dependant on the BBQ on the day

Heat through the remaining basting mixture and pour off the excess oil.

Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the basting mixture and lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

 

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Asparagus Carbonara

Classic carbonara is in no way sullied by the addition of asparagus and in our house at the moment it’s asparagus with everything!!

Wine Suggestion: A difficult decision given the awkwardness of asparagus and wine, plus the creamy richness of the sauce. We settled on the delightful Chateau les Charmes Godard, a Sauvignon (Blanc & Gris) and Semillon blend from Bordeaux and were reminded why we love whites from this region, especially with food.

Asparagus Carbonara – serves 4

  • 200g pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 350g pasta
  • 2 bunches of thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • a large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the pancetta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until turning crispy.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salty water to the boil. Boil the pasta until al dente, then drain and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan with the bacon. Season with lots of black pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked (it will take a bit longer if your asparagus is thick).

Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with the Parmesan and a splash of the cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the asparagus pan, then remove from the heat and stir in the egg mixture to combine. Add another splash of cooking water if needed to make a sauce.

Serve right away with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce

This is a great tomato sauce and of course can be made without meatballs and used in all sorts of things. We like to make the entire recipe and freeze the leftover meatballs in the sauce for tasty meals for kids or when we don’t have time to cook. They’re good served with linguine –  toss the pasta with the meatballs and sauce before serving with some grated Parmesan.

Wine Suggestion: with the higher proportion of pork in the meatballs we think a medium bodied red works better than richer, fuller-bodied wines with this. We went with a Chateau Manoir du Gravoux from Castillon in Bordeaux. A Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend with a lovely freshness and pure, mineral character made a good match.

Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce – makes about 40 meatballs and 1.5 litres of sauce

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • small pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750g fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of oregano, chopped
  • caster sugar, if needed

FOR THE POLPETTE:

  • 1kg minced pork
  • 500g minced beef
  • 3 medium eggs
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • cooked linguine pasta and grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat half the oil in a saucepan on a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli for 15 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer on a very low heat for an hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the oregano. Season with a little sugar if needed, then whizz using a hand-blender or food processor for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix together well with your hands, then roll into golf ball sized meatballs. They should weigh about 45g each. Place on a large greased baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown.

Add the meatballs to the hot sauce and poach for 10 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with linguine and grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

 

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Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns & Treviso

This baked pasta dish from Jacob Kennedy’s fabulous Bocca cookbook is truly delicious. Quick to cook and an excellent treat for a Friday night when energy levels are low. We find radicchio di Treviso hard to resist with its pretty dark purple leaves. They’re in season and in shops now and we’ve had our eyes on this dish for a while, we weren’t disappointed.

Wine Suggestion: While not our first thought we had a bottle of the Altos de Torona Albariño from northern Spain in the fridge and it proved a delightful match.

Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns and Treviso – serves 2 as a main, 4 to 6 as a starter

  • 120g dried tagliolini
  • 50g butter
  • ½ a small red onion or 1 shallot, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 1 medium head Radicchio di Treviso, shredded 3-5mm
  • 200g peeled raw prawns
  • 60ml white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

Melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for a few minutes, then add the radicchio and sauté gently for 4-5 minutes or until wilted. Add the prawns, then the wine and let it boil for a couple of minutes or until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the cream and at the same time put the tagliolini into a pan of boiling, salted water. Boil both until the tagliolini is undercooked (about half the recommended time) and the sauce just runnier than cream.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss over the heat for a minute to coat the pasta with the cream, then season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish (or divide between a number of smaller dishes). Sprinkle with the Parmesan and brown the top under a hot grill. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Jacob Kennedy’s ‘Bocca Cookbook’, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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Smoked Salmon, Horseradish & Dill Crostini

Do try this. It looks like regular smoked salmon crostini but the balance of ingredients is perfect, including the rather generous portion of salmon per toast. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on either quantity or quality!

Wine Suggestion: excellent with sparkling – your choice of Crémant, Champagne, or your local version. Just make sure that it a fresh, more acidic style … Prosecco need not apply as it doesn’t have enough zing for this. Tonight the Soalheiro Espumante, a sparkling made from alvarinho in northern Portugal and wonderfully citrus, vibrant and refreshing.

Smoked salmon, horseradish & dill crostini – makes 20 crostini

  • 250g crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • about 3 tbsp freshly grated horseradish
  • pinch of caster sugar (optional)
  • 1 French stick, cut into discs and lightly toasted
  • 500g thinly sliced top quality smoked salmon
  • 20 dill sprigs
  • lemon juice

Make the horseradish cream by mixing together the crème fraîche, mustard and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper and add a little sugar if it tastes tart.

Put a generous slice of salmon in each piece of toast and top with a spoonful of horseradish cream. Decorate with a sprig of dill. Add a few drops of lemon juice and some black pepper before serving.

(Original recipe from Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts) by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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