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Cover: Mamma Mia!

Recipes with spaghetti

22Jul 12

Chilli Crab Spaghetti

Chilli Crab SpaghettiCrab is obviously just one of the many delicious and varied ‘frutti di mare’, or ‘fruits of the sea’ commonly found in Italian food. And, given that almost all of Italy’s regions have stretches of coast, it’s no wonder our rich seafood is omnipresent in our cuisine.

And, of course, feel free to switch out spaghetti for any other similar pasta like tagliatelli or fettucine. Any of those options would work.

A similar-tasting meat is crayfish meat, which are only found in fresh water. If you want to try out a recipe using crayfish, try this crayfish rice with mango recipe.

Like some other of my recipes in the blog, you can start off with the pasta, as the whole meal is done very quickly, whilst the pasta cooks.

A light, leafy green salad, using something like iceberg lettuce or Romaine (also known as Cos) lettuce, makes a good accompaniment to this dish, as would a dry white wine. A floral French Bordeaux wine would be one option, whilst the more flinty taste of Chablis, from Burgundy, would be another. Despite the differences, either type of wine pairs up nicely with crab, I think.

Chilli Crab Spaghetti
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This is also yet another example of simple and quick pasta that is light and delicious
Ingredients
  • 50ml olive oil (extra virgin is best)
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced into thin strips (set aside some fronds for use as garnish)
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced paper-thin
  • 1 red chilli (fresh), deseeded and finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • A handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • 150g fresh crab meat
  • 200g spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook according to the packet instructions, in a large pan of lightly salted water, till the pasta is al dente.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan over a low heat. Add the garlic, chilli and fennel, and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the crab meat, and cook for a minute or so before adding the vermouth. Turn up the heat, bringing the liquor to the boil. Reduce for a couple of minutes, until most of the liquor has evaporated.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the remaining oil, the juice of half a lemon, and season. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the chilli/crab mixture and stir it all together. Serve to warm plates, garnished with the cherry tomatoes and fennel fronds or parsley.

 

 

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12Jul 12

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala

 

 

Once a year or so, I like to visit a vineyard and do a wine tour or tasting. It is always interesting the differences that each company uses in their wine production. There are a lot of decisions made throughout the process that changes the body and flavour of a wine, making each one really distinct. I wouldn’t say that I am a connoisseur, by any means. However, the more tastings you go to, the more you learn and can appreciate the difference between wines.

Many vineyards have gift shops to buy the wines you liked or other paraphernalia. I once saw a ceramic that tickled my fancy, and now it hangs in my kitchen. The slogan goes, “I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.” In my household, this is most certainly true! This chicken marsala recipe is just one example of when I enjoy a glass of wine while cooking, and use just a bit in the process as well.

I use red wine here, but if you prefer white, try this chestnut spaghetti with chicken livers.

 

Chicken Marsala
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A great way to cook with wine
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 150g flour
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning of choice
  • 8 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 200ml marsala wine
  • 150g spaghetti
  • 1 pinch of parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Take your chicken breasts and wrap them in clingfilm. Pound them flat.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour and your seasoning of choice.
  3. Remove the clingfilm and dip the chicken into the flour until heavily coated on both sides.
  4. Heat up 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken for 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate, covering with aluminum foil.
  6. Heat up the remaining oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Add the marsala wine and let it reduce a bit.
  8. Next add in the chicken stock and start to stir. Wait a few minutes until you notice the sauce begin to thicken, and sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add the chicken breasts once again to the mixture.
  10. Cover the frying pan, and let it all simmer together for approximately 10 minutes.
  11. Whilst you have the chicken going, prepare the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.
  12. After the allotted time, remove the cover on the frying pan and check to see if the chicken is cooked throughout.
  13. If so, drain the spaghetti and divide it equally onto two plates.
  14. Scoop the chicken on top of the pasta, making sure to get lots of the sauce as well.
  15. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

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21Jun 12

Italian Classics – Spaghetti Bolognese

spaghetti bolognese
You know I’m a linguine lover, but there are some days when only a classic Bolognese will do, and that means classic spaghetti. I use fine spaghetti rather than the usual thicker stuff – but go for whatever shape strikes your fancy.  So here it is, my classic spaghetti Bolognese.

There’s something really satisfying about twirling the strands of spaghetti in your fork, isn’t there? And I still like those odd moments when you have to suck in a strand that’s left dangling from your mouth. It takes me back to being a boy and lapping up my mum’s spaghetti Bolognese. This might not be the ideal thing to serve up on a first date – though it could be an ice-breaker if you’ve both got a good sense of humour! If you fancy a bolognese with a difference, take a peek at my favourite bolognese recipe, lamb and linguine bolognese.

Italian Classics – Spaghetti Bolognese
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
You know I’m a linguine lover, but there are some days when only a classic Bolognese will do, and that means classic spaghetti.
Ingredients
  • 250g lean minced beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely sliced
  • 75g Portobello mushrooms, use chestnut mushrooms if you can’t find them, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced or minced
  • 80ml red wine – we like to drink a glass while we cook together too, and chat in the kitchen
  • ½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 200g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • ½ -1 tsp sugar
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • A generous pinch of dried oregano or mixed Italian herbs
  • Fresh Parmesan, grated, to serve
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • Fresh oregano or fresh basil to garnish
  • 150g dried fine spaghetti
Instructions
  1. Dry fry the mince in a pan along with the onion, garlic, carrots and celery, for around 7-10 minutes, until the beef browns.
  2. Toss the mushrooms into the pan and continue to fry for a few minutes.
  3. Shake over the flour, mixing it in well.
  4. Splash in the wine, and add the tomato purée, tinned tomatoes and 150ml cold water.
  5. Give it all a good old stir before crumbling in the stock cube, sprinkling on the sugar and shaking over the dried herbs.
  6. Twist over with black pepper, I like to use a fair bit myself in this recipe for a good old peppery edge.
  7. Stir everything together and bring the sauce up to a gentle boil. Turn down the heat and simmer on low for around 30-40 minutes. You don’t need to cover it, but do give it a stir every now and then.
  8. Boil a large pan of water, add a pinch of salt and a swirl of olive oil and add the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti for the time recommended on the packet – usually around 10 minutes. Drain to serve.
  9. For the last 10 minutes of the cooking time, turn the heat of the Bolognese sauce up a little to reduce the liquid, and it will thicken up nicely.
  10. Season again and serve the sauce piled on top of the spaghetti. Top off with the grated Parmesan and the fresh herb garnish, and tuck in!

 

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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.