Saturday, 19 July 2008

Viva Italia!

Come stai? (How are you?)
Vuole qualcosa da mangiare? (Would you like something to eat?)

Please, make yourself at home.

Today I have an all Italian menu, borrowed liberally from the man in orange shoes, Mario Batali.

Pour a little wine, I have to make the fresh pasta first.

Fresh Red Pasta - Pasta Sfoglia
makes 1 1/4 lbs.

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
5 eggs
2 tbsp tomato paste
pinch of salt

Combine together, knead 10 minutes until leathery and smooth. Let rest 30 minutes at room temperature, wrapped in plastic. Process in pasta roller, adding a little more flour when needed.
(I use KitchenAid)

Care for a little antipasto? How about a little Insalata di Olive? (Marinated Olive Salad)

Instalata di Olive

1 cup mixed imported olives
juice and zest of 1/2 an orange
1/2 fennel bulb, shaved on a mandoline
2 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
handful of fresh oregano leaves
chopped chives
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss together in a medium bowl until combined. With tongs, lift salad into a fresh bowl or platter for serving. This way it does not sit in it's juices and wilt. The salad is fine to sit at room temperature while dinner is being prepared.

A little music? Sarebbe molto bello! I love Andrea Bocelli too!

Ah, dinner is ready. Please, let me fill your glass with a little Chianti Classico. It is Rocca delle Macie, 2005. You approve?

Tonight we are having pasta with mussels, spaghetti con le cozze, with a fresh baked loaf of bread subtly seasoned with rosemary from my garden. Buon appetito!

Spaghetti con le Cozze

1 lb fresh pasta
2 lbs small mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
3/4 cups olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup parsley leaves
1 heaping tablespoon hot red chili flakes
Parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook your pasta in boiling salted water. Fresh pasta takes only about 4 minutes to become al dente so have everything set up. (Mise en place)

Heat the oil in a 12 inch saute pan on medium/high and add garlic. Cook until golden brown, stirring, about 1 minute. Add white wine, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Add mussels and cook, stirring and tossing, until open and plump. 4 minutes. Add parsley, salt and pepper and chili flakes. Toss. Add al dente pasta and toss all together until combined and pasta has had a chance to soak up some of the juices.

Serve in large bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with a little bread to soak up the juices at the bottom.

Dolci? Ah yes, I am fairly sated too. Perhaps a few figs, some soft provolone and a little honey. I will make us a little espresso, do you take sugar?

My friend, I have enjoyed our trip to Italy tonight with My Kitchen, My World. Mille grazie. I hope to see you again soon, ciao.

See you soon, a presto.