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Posts Tagged ‘The Modern Italian Cook’

We grew borlotti beans in our little city garden this year. We didn’t get a huge crop but satisfying nonetheless. As we had a load of things going on when we picked these, we froze them for a couple of weeks until we were ready. It made this lovely pasta and bean dish by Joe Trivelli and it felt a bit like late summer again for a moment.

Wine Suggestion: A crisp, dry White or Rosé would be our first choice with a seafood pasta like this. As it’s full flavoured we avoided a lighter style and went for Graziano Pra’s Soave “Otto”, vibrantly full of crisp apples and pears, impressive length and a nutty, saline finish

Pasta with Beans & Mussels – serves 4

  • 1kg mussels
  • 300g fresh borlotti beans
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 celery stick, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 ripe tomato, halved
  • 75ml dry white wine
  • a small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 200g tubetti pasta

Put the beans into a large pan with 4 of the garlic cloves, the celery and tomato. Cover with 6cm of water and a splash of olive oil, then bring to the boil. Simmer until cooked, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large pan until hot, then add the mussels with a tablespoon of oil and the wine. Cover and keep over a hight heat, shaking, until the mussels have just opened. then drain into a colander over a bowl to catch the juice. Don’t be tempted to cook them for any longer. Pick the mussels from the shells.

When the beans are cooked, chop the last clove of garlic. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the garlic, most of the parsley and the chilli and fry for  a minute before adding the anchovies. As soon as they have melted, pour over the mussel juice (leave any grit behind) and bring to the boil. Add the borlotti beans with their liquid and the pasta.

Cook until the pasta is al dente, stirring often so the pasta doesn’t stick. You can add more hot water if you need. When the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat, add the rest of the parsley, the mussels and seasoning. Cover and leave to sit off the heat for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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Tuna cooked in lentils

This really is the perfect dish by Joe Trivelli. Chunky pieces of tuna, earthy lentils and sweet tomatoes. We really recommend this one.

Wine Suggestion: Chill down a Grignolino, a red from Piedmont, and you’ve got a joyful  match. A friend brings in Olim Bauda’s version which is excellent, but we’re conscious this is a hard grape to find so if you can’t find one try a chilled, youthful Beaujolais or a Dolcetto.

Tuna Cooked in Lentils – serves 4

  • 200g dried lentils
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 350g thick tuna steak, cut into 3 cm chunks
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • small bunch of basil leaves
  • 40g butter
  • 1 lemon
  • best extra virgin olive oil

Rinse the lentils and cook in water until tender, about 20 minutes, then drain.

Season the flour with salt and stir in the crushed coriander seeds. Lightly dust the tuna in the flour mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a wide pan and fry the garlic until golden. Remove the garlic from the pan and add the tuna. Turn quickly, then add the tomatoes and basil, followed by the lentils. Toss a few times, then turn off the heat. Put the butter on top and leave in the pan for 8 minutes, basting the tuna with the lentils. Squeeze over some lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

(Original recipe from The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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Baby Octopus and Peas

At last we’ve got our hands on The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli and what a treat it is! Our local fish shop often has baby octopus on the counter but you can also buy it frozen. This was Jono’s pick for his birthday dinner and he wasn’t disappointed.

Wine Suggestion: as befits a birthday dinner, it was Champagne to match and tonight we drank the Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV which plays a delightful balance of delicacy, elegance, depth and bags of character. Both the dish and Champagne a wonderful treat.

Baby Octopus & Peas (Polipetti e Piselli) – serves 4

  • 1 kg frozen baby octopuses, defrosted (or fresh if you can find them)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 dried chillies
  • 50g small black olives, pitted
  • 300g shelled peas (we used defrosted frozen peas)
  • 600g new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
  • 175ml dry wine – red or white

Rinse the octopuses under the tap then transfer to a heavy-based casserole dish or pan. Coat with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves and chillies, cover with some baking paper and place over a high heat with the lid on.

When everything is hot and cooking, turn the heat down and continue to cook the octopuses for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and add the olives, peas, potatoes and wine. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the peas and octopuses are soft, about 20 minutes more.

(Original recipe from The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli, Seven Dials, 2018.)

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