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Posts from the ‘Pasta, Rice & Co.’ Category

Give me whatever crap: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

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Even though it’s not tomato season yet in Italy, the other day I was craving for a tomato- based pasta. To be more precise, I was searching for the recipe of Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.

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How to make Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe like a Roman

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It took me years to make a decent Cacio e Pepe, one of Rome’s traditional pasta dishes (the others are Carbonara, Matriciana, and Gricia).

Since Cacio e Pepe has only three main ingredients -Pecorino Romano cheese, black pepper and pasta-, it might seem an easy recipe to make – but it isn’t.

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A matter of cultural perspective

 

How would you eat this dish? Would you start by eating the rice first, the squid or the pesto? Would you call it fusion, creative cuisine or a concept dish? Anyway we see it, it is a matter of perspective. So is the way we eat our food. If I had to define food in one word, I’d say food is culture. When it comes to food, our preferences – and our choices of what we eat and cook – are shaped by our cultural backgrounds. Food defines who we are and where we come from: Italians eat pasta, Mexicans eat tacos, Americans eat burgers, Chinese people eat dim sum, etc.

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A Flashback to the Eighties?

What brings you back to the eighties? Well, in my case – as far as music – this song from Wham!

What brings me back to the eighties in terms of food? Buttered pasta and tomato sauce on the side.

We all have childhood memories about eating, and we all can relate to a certain food during a specific period of our lives. When I was a child, I still remember pasta cooking in the boiling pot and, as soon as it was done (not necessarily al dente), we used to add butter to prevent spaghetti from sticking together. To eat spaghetti, a simple tomato sauce with dried oregano was served to pour over the pasta. I thought that was so Italian. However, little did I know that this was not the way Italians ate their spaghetti.

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Trofie al Pesto con Fagiolini e Patate

In my past post , “How to make Pesto like a Ligurian” , I shared the secrets of the ancient pesto recipe. Having unveiled the ingredients and the method to make pesto alla Genovese, I thought that you may also want to know how Ligurians eat their pesto – right? Well, they combine it by using different pasta shapes that go really well with pesto – trofie, trofiette and trenette. While ago I was going down the pasta aisle of my nearest supermarket, and I came across a box of pasta Barilla. What caught my attention was not only the shape of the pasta – trofie , but the recipe on the back of the box – Ligurian trofie with pesto, potatoes and green beans…Potatoes with pasta? Did I read well? A weird combination, isn’t it? What added value could potatoes give pasta?  Since this is a traditional recipe of the Liguria region (and there might be a reason why Ligurians use potatoes), I then decided to give it a try and find out by myself.

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A dynamic dish

When it comes to “primi piatti”, you usually get a bowl of pasta, rice or soup. Sometimes I find this kind of plating rather boring since there is a lack of motion on the dish. There isn’t much fun unless you add a component that will make your guests have fun while eating the dish. Some say “food enters through the eyes”; I say that food can be fun if you can make it dynamic by letting your guest “play” with it.

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Timballo di anelletti

During my last trip to Favigana, Sicily, I bought a book of Sicilian recipes named – Ricette di Osterie e Genti di Sicilia (Recipes of Taverns and People of Sicily) – Slow Food Publishing. As the title says, this book is a collection of recipes from different taverns and well known cooks across the fascinating Island of Sicily.

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Lemony Rice Salad

It seems Summer in Italy is still going to stay with us at least for now. Since these days temperatures in Rome are in the 90’s (about 32°C), Romans are still going away for the weekend for their last beach getaways.This past weekend we were off to Umbria’s countryside, where my parent’s in law have a lovely country home.

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Dinner “all’Italiana” at La Moussière – Primo Piatto

“Bad news, the Camorra did not release the pasta recipe. Sorry Roger“, I said. There was no way we could get the camorristas to unveil this ancient dish. Therefore, I sent a pizzo (a form of paying the mafia) to Cosa Nostra in Sicily (Costa Nostra in Italian means “Our Thing”). Read more

Eggplants, Sunshine, Brits and France Recipe

While I was in the kitchen cooking an eggplant pasta, I was listening to Sunshine , a beautiful song by the  famous British band Keane. I find this song so atmospheric – it has a very ethereal sound. The song is about finding a home in someone, out of all the people in the world…so beautiful.

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