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Cover: Mamma Mia!

Recipes with parsley

05Apr 12

Penne alla arrabbiata

Penne alla arribbiataFirst of all, I would like to explain this dish’s name. Literally, ‘arrabbiata’ means ‘angry’, and ‘penne’ is a type of pasta. Directly translated, it means ‘angry pasta’! This ‘anger’ comes from the use of chilli peppers in the recipe that makes the dish so hot, furiously filling your tastebuds with spicy goodness. So, when preparing this dish, use as much chilli as you like, depending on how “angry” you want your pasta to be. (For another recipe with hot red chilli peppers, try this bonfire bean chilli.)

Although many may flinch at the thought of how spicy chilli peppers can be, they are really healthy. One benefit is the large amount of Vitamin C it has. Did you know that a chilli pepper has more vitamin C than an orange? And only 50g can provide over half of your recommended daily vitamin C intake. Not too shabby!

This recipe is originally from Rome, and you might like to know that it has many different versions. Some of them actually have nothing to do with the traditional recipe, so, if you can, stick to the following ingredients and you will enjoy the taste of the original Roman arrabbiata.

Ingredients:

  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 dried red chilli peppers (roughly chopped)
  • 300g chopped tomatoes
  • A small handful of flat leaf parsley (roughly chopped)
  • Salt for seasoning
  • 200g penne pasta

 

Method:
1. Chop the garlic and peppers.
2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan (medium heat) and add the chopped garlic and chilli into the pan.
3. Sauté for a couple of minutes or until the garlic becomes golden in colour.
4. When the garlic has turned golden, add the chopped tomatoes. Stir for a few seconds.
5. Then season with salt, and stir again for a few seconds.
6. Cook on medium/low heat for about 20-25 minutes to reduce the sauce.
7. A few minutes before the arrabbiata sauce is ready, boil your pasta and when the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and add it into the pan containing the sauce.
8. Stir for a few seconds to coat the pasta with the sauce. Do this when the pan is still on the heat.
9. Then, sprinkle with chopped parsley.
10. Give a quick stir and serve immediately.

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01Apr 12

Chilli garlic pasta

Chilli Garlic PastaThe name of this chilli garlic pasta more or less tells the whole story. The best part is that you can pick your favourite pasta! If you pick spaghetti, then you’re basically making the Roman classic ‘spaghetti aglio e olio’, which means “spaghetti with garlic and oil”.

The ingredients are so simple, but the flavour is immense. There are several ways you can prepare this dish, but most recipes I’ve read are quite moderate with the garlic. Since Teresa and I like it plenty, and can handle plenty of it, as you’ll have noticed if you’ve been following this blog, we add a bit more than most versions recommend. Make sure to brush your teeth afterwards, though, to fight the intense aroma of the garlic.

A simple hearty meal that often forms the basis of convivial gatherings, it’s a great meal to throw together in the early-morning hours, after a night on the town. If you want to add fish for extra protein, you can try this salmon with chilli lemon linguine recipe that is quite similar.

Ingredients:

  • 400g of your favourite pasta
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 2-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 dried chillis, finely chopped (de-seeded if you want, although we don’t bother)
  • Several sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1 – Cook your pasta in a pan of salted boiling water, as per the instructions of your chosen favourite.

2 – In a pan, heat the oil gently. Then add the garlic and a little salt, and allow the garlic to soften and caramelise slightly, turning a pale gold. Remember; don’t overcook the garlic, as it turns bitter if burnt. Add the chopped chilli and stir to combine. If the pasta’s not ready yet, set aside but keep warm by popping the lid on.

3 – Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the other ingredients, stirring the oil, garlic and chilli so they thoroughly coat the pasta. Add the chopped parsley, a generous twist or three from your pepper mill, and a touch of salt if needed. Mix it all up and serve immediately.

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05Mar 12

Soft cheese and celery pasta

Soft Cheese and Celery PastaWith a comforting richness, this soft cheese and celery pasta is really refreshing on a warm day, eaten in the shade with some chilled water or fruit juice on hand.

Although some may not consider cheese a “light” dish, I think it is quite healthy and a delicious source of calcium.

Simplicity itself, this is a good recipe when you’re short of time.

If you want to give the dish more kick, add a clove or two of garlic when you fry the shallots and celery. This dish is also nice with tinned tuna and mayonnaise instead of the soft cheese and yoghurt, although obviously the method will differ if you change the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • 75g soft cheese, such as Brie or Camembert
  • 75g plain yoghurt
  • 1 celery stick trimmed and finely sliced
  • 150-200g penne or similar tubular pasta
  • Small handful of finely chopped parsley
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 a lime

Method:

1 – In a large pan, bring some lightly-salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until it’s al dente. If you’ve got the right pans, you can steam the chopped celery over the pasta for the first three or four minutes of its cooking time.

2 – While that lot is bubbling away, combine the soft cheese and yoghurt in a bowl, adding the grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper, set aside.

3 – As the pasta nears completion, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, and sauté the celery, shallots and most of the chopped parsley, over a medium-low heat for about five minutes, until softened. By this time the pasta should be ready: drain the pasta and combine it with the vegetables.

4 – Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese and yoghurt mixture, combining well. Return to a low heat and gently warm through for three to five minutes. Serve with a leafy Caesar salad, squeezing some lime juice and sprinkling the remaining parsley over the pasta, if desired.

Serves: 2

Time: 30 minutes: 10 minutes preparation, 20 minutes cooking.

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05Mar 12

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti CarbonaraSpaghetti Carbonara is a modern Italian classic, but there are some people who get quite stressed about doing this the ‘authentic’ way. I know it’s a terrible cliché, but I really do love it ‘like my mamma used to make it’. My mother always put a lot of cream in. Others have told me that I shouldn’t use cream at all. I say: Mamma knows best!

Although the classic spaghetti carbonara is made with pork, you can make a spaghetti fish supper that is also quite nice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 or 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
  • 150g pancetta, cut into ‘lardons’ (generous little rectangles, but not too small!)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (We’re cheese-mad, and so we grate a big pile and put it in a little bowl so we can have as much as we fancy!)
  • 75 ml double cream
  • 200-250g spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley chopped fairly finely, and 2 sprigs to garnish

Method:

1 – Cook the pasta in lightly-salted water with the olive oil.

2 – Heat the pancetta in a heavy-bottomed frying pan: good fatty pancetta should cook in its own fat, but add a little butter or olive oil if you feel you should. The meat will caramelise slightly for maximum rich sugary sweetness. This should take about five minutes. Add the garlic about halfway through, and let soften without burning it, to avoid it tasting bitter. If you like, you can throw in a little chopped parsley as well.

3 – Meanwhile, mix the eggs with the cream and four generous tablespoons of grated Pecorino. Add the finely chopped parsley to the mixture, season well with salt and pepper, and stir with a fork to combine.

4 – Drain the pasta and put it back into the pan in which you cooked it. Add the pancetta, and pour over the egg, cream and cheese mixture. The eggs will cook sufficiently from the heat of the pasta and pancetta. The resulting sauce should have a smooth satin texture.

5 – Serve in deep plates or bowls, garnished with a sprig of parsley, with salt, pepper and plenty more cheese.

It really is as easy as that!

Serves: 2

Time: 20-30 minutes: 5-10 minutes preparation, 15-20 minutes cooking.

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About Gianluca Dievole

My Badge: Assistant

About

Buon' giorno! Welcome to my Italian food blog. I am Italian, and proud of it! Italy has so much going for it: with one foot quite literally in the beautiful Mediterranean, my country’s climate and location give us an amazing cornucopia of ingredients, which is why our culture is steeped in a hearty romantic culinary tradition. My wife and I love our food, so all my recipes are designed for two. If you're cooking for an average sized modern family - perhaps not the traditional extended Italian family - just double the quantities.