Pasta Alla Puttanesca

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Despite the more colourful inferences that pasta alla puttanesca was born of Italian houses of ill repute, made by prostitutes to lure customers in from the streets, the dish in truth, has far more simple beginnings.

Yes, it’s true that “alla puttanesca” can translate to “style of the whores” but the very similar word “puttanata” means rubbish, or crap, and its in this translation where we find a more probable history.

In the 1950’s, on the island of Ischia, a man by the name of Sandro Petti was asked late one night by some patrons in his restaurant to make them some food. Nearing closing, he didn’t have many ingredients left so told them there wasn’t enough to make a meal. “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi,” they said or “Make any kind of garbage”. Only having a few olives, tomatoes and capers, he used these to make a sauce and mixed it with spaghetti. Petti later placed it on his menu, but changed “puttanata” to “puttanesca” apparently because the former didn’t sound quite right.

 

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Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh pasta
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 red chilies, sliced
  • 80 g black olives, pitted
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ bunch fresh basil, picked and washed
  • parmesan, to serve

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Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for about 4 minutes or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add the garlic, anchovy and chili. Add the pitted olive and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts to slightly caramelize and the anchovies start to blend into the sauce.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and a little bit of the cooking water, cover with the lid and cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to cook.
  4. Add the basil to the sauce along with the fresh pasta and some of the cooking water, just enough to loosen and make delicious and saucy!
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, transfer the pasta in a big serving bowl, top with shaved parmesan, basil and anchovy fillets.

A glass of  EVOI Sauvignon Blanc Semillon   From www.airoldifinewines.com.au would be a perfect match with this delicious pasta dish.

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel  here for more.

Fresh Homemade Pasta

 

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Pasta is synonymous with Italy and despite theories that suggest it was brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo in the 13th century, its Italian origins go back much earlier than that.

It’s now more widely accepted that pasta in Italy dates back to Etruscan times (1st century AD) when the Romans ruled the area we now call Italy. The kind of pasta that existed was known as “lagane” (where the term for modern day lasagna comes from), but it was baked instead of being boiled in water.

Pasta in its modern form is thought to have been brought to the southern part of Italy, in particular to Sicily, by Arabian invaders and then settlers from the 8th century onwards. The first term for pasta was “macaroni” which in Sicilian meant “kneading dough with energy”.

From a process that used to take almost a whole day to complete hundreds of years ago, pasta has now become one of the quickest and easiest recipes to make! The recipe I am sharing with you today should only take you about an hour to complete (and that’s including resting time for the dough!).

Try making the real stuff next time you feel like a delicious pasta dish, the taste is worth it!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 500g “00”Flour
  • 100g Fine Semolina
  • 6 Free range eggs
  • Pinch of salt

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Method:

  1. Place the flour and semolina in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
  2. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth.
  3. Using your finger tips, mix the eggs with flour a little at a time until everything is combined.
  4. Knead well until all the ingredients combined and give you one smooth pasta dough! You can use a food processor if you’ve got one, just put everything in and mix until combined.
  5. Once you’ve made the pasta dough, you need to knead it to work the gluten in the flour to make your pasta springy and not flabby! Knead it until it feels smooth, then wrap it in cling film and rest it for 30 minutes in the fridge.

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To Roll the Pasta:

  1. If you’re using a machine make sure it is attached securely on the work surface (you’ll need the longest work surface you have)
  2. Dust the bench with “00” flour and set the machine to the widest setting.
  3. Take a piece of dough and flatten it slightly with a rolling pin, then feed it through the machine, if it sticks a little slightly dust the pasta with flour. Change the machine down a setting and roll the pasta through again.
  4. Fold the pasta in half, change the machine back to the widest setting and roll the pasta through again. Repeat this process until the dough become really smooth(3-4 times).
  5. Then roll the pasta through all the settings, down to the thickness of a playing card for pasta like tagliatelle or lasagna, a little thinner if you are making stuffed pasta (to the point where you can to see your hand through the pasta)
  6. Once you’ve made the pasta you need to cut it or shape straight away because fresh pasta dries quicker than you might think, so don’t leave it on the bench for too long or you can cover it with a damp cloth which will prevent it from drying!

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel  here for more.

Lamb Pasta Bake with Tomato & Cheese Sauce

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The wonderful team at Barilla has treated me again with a sneak preview of some of their latest products. This time it’s their new pasta bake range which is fantastic for those casual dinners with family or friends as it’s hearty, cost effective and most importantly, delicious!

Some pasta bakes can be quite heavy on the cheese so I’ve kept this one lighter by only using parmesan cheese as the very top layer to add a nice crust as opposed to stirring a cheese all the way through.

 

Ingredients:

  • 500g Barilla Casarecce pasta
  • 1 Jar of Barilla’s new cheese and tomato sauce
  • 1kg lamb mince
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 8 slices mild pancetta (2-3mm thick)
  • 2 onions
  • 350mL red wine
  • 4 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 4 Tbsp Peter Watson lamb spice mix
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 250 g parmigiano reggiano

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Method:

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta and preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 8 minutes, then drain and keep aside.
  3. Peel and dice the onions, crush the garlic, chop the thyme and rosemary. Roughly dice the pancetta and keep aside.
  4. Preheat a metal roasting tray on the stovetop on a medium heat.
  5. Cook the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes, and then add the thyme, rosemary and pancetta. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the paprika and lamb spice, stir, and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the red wines and reduce by about ¼.
  8. Add the lamb mince and cook until brown, making sure you don’t have any big lumps.
  9. Add the Barilla cheese and tomato sauce and the crushed tomatoes and 150mL water, stir then add the cooked Barilla Casarecce pasta, mix well and top with the grated parmigiano reggiano and bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes covered with foil, and then 5 minutes without it.
  10. Serve hot with a green salad

 

With this wonderful dish I recommend a Château “Falfas” AOC Cote de Bourg available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au .