Italy Revisited-Part 1

September15

It was a year ago today that we arrived Castleammare del Golfo, Sicily to commence our sojourn up the east shore of the boot along the Mediteranean coast, then to the Nice France before heading inland to fly out of Paris.

We’ve always enjoyed Italian food but I would say that since our trip we’re crazy for authentic Italian ingredients and recipes.  These are some of our favouites that we’ve made recently.

Caprese Salad is typically served as antipasta and is named for the Isle of  Capri off the Amalfi Coast (our 2nd stop).

This fresh, clean tasting combination of buffalo mozarella (an unripened cheese) , vine-ripened tomtoes and fresh basil leaves is an absolute delight.

The origin of Spaghetti Carbonara is hotly disputed.  The freshly cracked eggs are cooked only by the heat of the pasta producing a rich and creamy (but not low fat) dish.  So make sure that the eggs are as fresh as possible.

14 oz spaghetti

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

2/3 c parmesan

2 T olive oil

1 oz butter

2 garlic cloves

7 oz pancetta, chopped

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until al dente.  Meanwhile, mix the eggs, egg yolks and cheese together in a bowl and season lightly.  Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan.  Add garlic and pancetta.  Cook over moderate heat until pancetta is crisp, discard the garlic when it becomes golden.  Drain the spaghetti , add to the frying pan and toss well.  Remove from heat and stir in the egg mixture.  Present immediately with extra parmesan.

We’ve served the above once with garlic shrimp recipe and once with calamari (see Part 2 for recipes).  Both are delicious.

Kath’s quote: “The strands of spaghetti were vital, almost alive in my mouth, and the olive oil was singing with flavor. It was hard to imagine that four simple ingredients [olive oil, pasta, garlic and cheese] could marry so perfectly.”-Ruth Reichl


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posted under Entrees, Food & Travel, Italy
5 Comments to

“Italy Revisited-Part 1”

  1. Avatar October 2nd, 2012 at 5:34 am Jacqueline Says:

    Why remove the garlic? I never do. I use fine chopped garlic. I know it’s not traditional but I’ve also added peas and/or asparagus – sort of a combination primavera and carbonara. Delish!


  2. Avatar October 2nd, 2012 at 4:25 pm Kathryne Says:

    I think that this dish was a modification of a Jamie Oliver recipe and that is what he suggests. When I make a dish the first time, I will often follow a recipe very closely and then subsequently wing it! By coincidence our friends from Sicily are in town and dropped over this afternoon for tea.


  3. Avatar October 3rd, 2012 at 12:32 am Jacqueline Says:

    How nice! Hope you had a nice visit.

    I’m a wing-it type of person too, therefore I’m not a very good baker where it’s much more important to stick to exact measurements, etc.

    I must share my favourite Italian salad. It may almost be too late for it because the best time of year is late August and September for Panzanella Salad.

    Also I apologize for no amounts…

    Fresh garden tomatoes, or vine-ripe, or grape/cherry tomatoes, chopped into large pieces.

    Baby cucumbers (pickling dill size) also chopped into bite-size pieces

    Torn fresh basil

    Chopped garlic

    Oregano

    Salt and pepper

    EVOO (to quote Rachel Ray!) and Balsamic vinegar drizzled over ingredients. Toss.

    Now tear up either a French baguette, a crusty Italian loaf – any dense white bread – into bite size pieces. Add to salad and toss once more. It’s actually better if bread is day or two old and a bit dried out. The bread sops up the juices and combination tastes like Summer. I’ve recreated it in the wintertime and it’s quite good but nothing like when you use super fresh tomatoes and cukes!

    Panzanella salad!!


  4. Avatar October 3rd, 2012 at 8:38 am Kathryne Says:

    Oh Jacquie-you are speaking my language! I am a carb queen and although I have been trying to reduce my bread intake, as a treat, I love to use bread as a significant ingredient. I am absolutely going to prepare your salad as I still have garden tomatoes ripening in my fruit bowl. Would you mind if I used the recipe in a future blog post?
    I have enjoyed a bread salad only one other time. Friends of ours had traveled to Tuscany where I understand it is prepared with some frequency.
    There was once a restaurant in downtown Winnipeg, that served bread soup! Garlicky baguettes were pureed in a rich chicken stock and then more baguettes were floated on top. Oh my!


  5. Avatar October 8th, 2012 at 3:56 am Jacqueline Says:

    Please use the recipe as you like. I’ve found it in a few different cookbooks, but I’ve been making it for a few years now and just “wing it” as you like to say.

    Somewhere I have a recipe for that bread soup. Must dig it out and share with you. With the cooler weather, I’m really into soup lately.


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