pasta con fave, ricotta e guanciale croccante – pasta with broad beans, ricotta and crispy guanciale

The original idea was to do something light, something fitting for Lent. There was ricotta and fresh broad beans in the fridge. Add a hunk of half-stale rustic bread and I was looking at the lunch of a medieval monk. But as I investigated further, I soon came across tangy, richly-flavoured pecorino, and a large piece of guanciale made by my butcher from locally-bred pigs. All dreams of sainthood up in smoke within seconds This Continue Reading →

pasta con tonno fresco, mandorle, capperi e pomodori – pasta with fresh tuna, almonds, capers and tomatoes

Tuna again, but no excuses. Point is, fishing it is often banned, to maintain stocks and preserve the species (at least that’s the official line). I hope it works. I for one am quite happy not to find tuna every time I want it if it means I can continue to enjoy it in the future. Ironic really, since I imagine it’s always available back in the UK (at a price), where it is not Continue Reading →

pasta al pesto trapanese – pasta with trapani-style pesto

Toasted almonds, like drugs, can be dangerously addictive, even more addictive than capers from Stromboli. Here, they sell them slightly salted, dosed out into little plastic bags; again, rather like capers and drugs. They are however better for you than anything you are likely to buy down a shady alley, and a handful a day apparently brings great health benefits. Of course, if your family is anything like mine, managing to get your fair share Continue Reading →

pasta ‘ncaciata – baked pasta for ferragosto

L’apparenza inganna, as they say here in Italy – appearances can be deceptive. Today’s offering is a case in point. I mean, just look at it – rigatoni and cheese with a crispy crust. This is the sort of pasta dish you wouldn’t mind introducing to your parents. Reassuring, well-behaved, understated even. It’s not exactly a featherweight prawn salad, but neither does it look likely to beat you up and put you out of action Continue Reading →

pasta con le zucchine – pasta with courgettes

  After the Baroque excess of fish soup, something of almost Buddhist simplicity this time. If you have any leftovers, you’ll be able to give them to your pet rabbit without any qualms. Actually, it would probably go quite well with carrots. One of the advantages is that it requires no soffritto and that you only use one saucepan, with the pasta and its sidekick cooking together in the same water. So it’s quick, easy, Continue Reading →

pasta al ragù di tonno – pasta with tuna ragù

Yes, tuna again, and brace yourselves, because there’s more lined up. This is tuna season, so what do you expect? And as you’ve probably realised by now, I just can’t get enough of the stuff… Today’s recipe is from Trapani, where they sometimes also add peas, which strikes me as a rare Sicilian ingredient slip-up. I personally love peas, but they are at their best when in similarly green company: simply dressed with butter and Continue Reading →

spaghetti al nero di seppia – spaghetti with cuttlefish ink sauce

There are foods that we inevitably associate with certain people. If anyone mentions pasta with ragù, for example, I always think of my son, George, who must be one of the world’s leading experts on the dish by now, considering his vast hands-on experience in the field. And lemon meringue pie always brings to mind my sister. I’m not even sure why, although it might just be because her lemon meringue pie is so damn Continue Reading →