La dolce vita, or the great life, could be skilled by means of a few of Italy’s best substances: pasta, ricotta and all the lemons. And whereas sitting someplace on the Amalfi coast with a plate of pasta is up there amongst life’s nice pleasures, you possibly can expertise one thing a bit of comparable within the consolation of your individual kitchen, with substances from the Italian pantry. At this time’s dishes are impressed by my time spent in Italy through the years, greedily licking plates clear many instances as a baby, and even nonetheless now, as an grownup.
Grilled courgettes with garlic ricotta, raisin agrodolce and crisp capers (pictured prime)
“Agro” means bitter in Italian and “dolce” means candy. Agrodolce, it follows then, is a sweet-sour Italian condiment. It’s very easy and fast to make, and retains properly within the fridge, so make further, should you like, and use as a variety in meaty sandwiches or to drizzle on prime of grilled meat and roast greens.
Prep 20 min
Prepare dinner 35 min
Serves 4-6 as a aspect
120ml apple cider or red-wine vinegar
50g golden raisins
Sea salt and black pepper
½ tsp chilli flakes
60ml olive oil
40g capers, drained and patted dry
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 lemon, zest grated, to get 1 tsp, and juiced, to get 2 tsp
800g small to medium courgettes, trimmed and reduce on an angle into ½cm-thick slices
5g mint leaves (about 2½ tbsp), roughly chopped
5g basil leaves (about 2 tbsp), roughly chopped
First, make the agrodolce. Put the vinegar, raisins, honey and a half-teaspoon of salt in a small saucepan on medium-high warmth and cook dinner for eight to 10 minutes, till syrupy. Take off the warmth, stir within the chilli flakes and go away to chill.
Put the oil in a small frying pan on a medium-high warmth and, as soon as sizzling, add a 3rd of the capers and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, till they burst open like flowers and go crisp. Carry out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, and repeat with the remaining capers in two batches. Take the pan off the warmth and go away the oil to chill.
Put the ricotta, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a small bowl, combine properly, then cowl and put aside.
Set a griddle pan on a excessive warmth. Whereas it’s getting smoking sizzling, put the courgettes in a big bowl, spoon in a tablespoon of the reserved, cooled caper oil, a half-teaspoon of salt and a great grind of pepper, then combine properly. Working in 5 – 6 batches, grill the courgettes for 2 to 3 minutes on either side, till properly striped with char marks, then switch to a big bowl and go away to chill.
Spoon the ricotta on a big platter, to make a mattress for the courgettes. Combine the courgettes with the chopped mint and basil, and prepare on prime of the ricotta. Spoon over the reserved caper oil and the raisin agrodolce, sprinkle the fried capers on prime and serve at room temperature.
Crab, saffron and tomato linguine
Making the pasta from scratch does require a pasta machine, and should you don’t have one, simply ask round: you’re positive to search out somebody who shall be delighted to lend you theirs, not least so it will get some precise use! If you wish to get forward, make the pasta the day earlier than and refrigerate it in an hermetic field, and make sure you flour it properly earlier than storing. Alternatively, purchase in some linguine and put the saffron within the sauce as a substitute. You could possibly additionally swap out the crab for different fish or shellfish of your selecting.
Prep 25 min
Prepare dinner 75 min
Relaxation 1 hr
⅛ tsp saffron threads
200g ‘00’ flour, plus further for dusting
2 massive eggs, crushed
60ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Wonderful sea salt and black pepper
1 pink chilli (10g), reduce in half lengthways and thinly sliced
2 celery sticks (75g), reduce on the diagonal into ½cm-thick slices
100ml dry white wine
50g brown crab meat
1 massive plum tomato (140g), roughly grated and pores and skin discarded
100g white crab meat
10g (about 2¾ tbsp) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
5g (about 1½ tbsp) tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp lemon juice
For the pasta, put the saffron in a small bowl or cup, add a teaspoon of just-boiled water, and go away to infuse for 10 minutes.
Put the flour in a big bowl and make a properly within the centre. Tip within the crushed eggs, the saffron and its soaking water combine to a dough together with your fingers. Put the dough on a clear work floor and knead for 10 minutes, till clean, elastic and bouncy. Wrap the dough tightly, then chill for an hour (or in a single day, if you wish to get forward).
In the meantime, begin the sauce. Put the oil in a small saucepan on a medium warmth and, as soon as sizzling, fry the garlic, stirring, for a minute, till evenly golden. Tip the combination right into a small sieve set over a small bowl, then go away each the fried garlic and flavoured oil to chill.
Arrange a pasta machine, then evenly flour each the machine and a clear work floor. Divide the dough in two and, utilizing a floured rolling pin, roll out each items right into a 1cm-thick rectangle as extensive because the machine. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the pasta by means of the machine twice at each stage, ranging from the widest setting and dusting with flour as you go. Cease on the penultimate setting, when the pasta is about 1mm thick. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Reduce every sheet of pasta in half widthways, so that you now have 4 items, lay these out individually on a piece floor, and dirt generously with flour. With the shorter aspect of 1 sheet dealing with you, loosely roll up each bit of dough, then use a pointy knife to chop alongside its size into ½cm-wide strips. Repeat with the remaining sheets, then unravel all of the strips of noodles and go away to relaxation in one other beneficiant dusting of flour.
Convey a big saucepan of well-salted water to a boil. Drop in all of the pasta, cook dinner for 3 minutes, till al dente, then drain, saving 50ml of the pasta cooking water.
In the meantime, warmth a tablespoon of the reserved garlic oil in a big saute pan on a medium-high warmth. Add the chilli and celery, and saute, stirring sometimes, for 4 minutes, till delicate and evenly browned. Stir within the wine, brown crab meat and grated tomato, and cook dinner for a few minutes, till thickened. Ladle within the reserved pasta water, stir within the drained pasta, white crab meat, herbs, cherry tomatoes, a quarter-teaspoon of fantastic salt and a great grind of pepper, and toss for a few minute, till the sauce emulsifies.
Off the warmth, stir within the lemon juice and remaining garlic oil, divide between 4 shallow bowls, sprinkle with the fried garlic and serve.
Torta della nonna
There are as many variations of this Tuscan custard tart as there are nonnas who make them. That is my take: a celebration of two of its key substances, particularly lemons and pine nuts, that doesn’t require a blind bake.
Prep 25 min
Prepare dinner 3 hr 45 min
Cool and chill 2 hr
For the custard
150ml double cream
550ml complete milk
1 lemon – zest finely grated, to get 1½ tsp, then juiced
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks (save the whites for one more use)
110g caster sugar
30g ‘00’ flour
3 tbsp lemon curd (selfmade or shop-bought)
For the pastry
300g ‘00’ flour, plus further for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
120g caster sugar
150g fridge-cold unsalted butter, reduce into 1cm cubes, plus a bit of further for greasing the tart case
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
30g pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 lemon – zest finely grated, to get 1½ tsp, then reduce into 12 wedges
For the honey syrup
30g runny honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
30g pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
To make the custard, put the cream, milk and lemon zest in a medium saucepan and convey to a simmer on a medium-high warmth.
In the meantime, vigorously whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a big bowl for about two minutes, till pale. Add the flour and cornflour, and whisk for a few minutes extra, till the combo is fluffy. When the cream combine begins to steam, slowly pour it into the egg bowl, whisking shortly and consistently, then pour the lot again into the saucepan. Put the pan on a medium warmth and cook dinner, stirring consistently, for 3 or 4 minutes, till the custard begins to steam and thicken – take care to not scramble it. Pour the custard right into a deep tray, go away to chill, then put within the fridge to relax.
For the pastry, pulse the primary 4 substances in a meals processor till the combo resembles breadcrumbs. Add the remaining 5 substances bar the lemon wedges, pulse three or 4 instances till mixed, then tip on to a clear work floor and, utilizing your fingers, deliver it collectively right into a clean, uniform dough. Reduce off a 3rd of the dough, then wrap each items and chill to relaxation for a minimum of an hour.
Warmth the oven to 210C (190C fan)/410F/fuel 6½. Evenly grease a 24cm tart tin with a detachable base, mud the within evenly with flour, then put it on a baking tray. Take the custard out of the fridge, add the lemon curd and blitz clean utilizing a stick or common blender.
Take the bigger piece of dough out of the fridge. Mud a piece floor with flour, then roll out the dough right into a tough 28cm-diameter circle. Utilizing a flat baking tray or dough scraper, fastidiously raise up the dough, drape it over the tart tin and press gently into the perimeters. This pastry is delicate however forgiving, so patch up any holes with offcuts of dough. Pour the custard combine into the tart case and clean out the highest.
Roll out the second piece of dough right into a 25cm-diameter circle, and prick gently throughout with a fork. Lay this on prime of the tart, so it covers the perimeters, then gently roll the rolling pin over the perimeters of the tart tin, to seal. Trim off any overhang.
Bake the tart for 40-45 minutes, till golden on prime, then take away and placed on a rack to chill a bit of earlier than unmoulding.
In the meantime, make the syrup. Put the honey in a small saucepan on a medium-high warmth and cook dinner vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes, till deeply golden. Off the warmth, stir within the lemon juice and thyme, then go away to chill. As soon as the tart is out of its tin, brush the syrup excessive, scatter over the pine nuts and go away to chill fully.
As soon as cool, mud the tart with icing sugar and serve with the lemon wedges.