Saturday, 19 March 2011

Earth, Sea and Fire (Deliciously hot and sour spaghetti)

It's very hard to describe how it feels belonging to a place which is so beautiful, words to describe that kind of beauty are yet to be invented. This is what Italy is to me: too beautiful for words alone to describe.

We have a little place in Campania. It sits on top of a mountain and overlooks the Gulf of Salerno with the islands of Capri and Ischia. How can I possibly describe the feeling which makes you get up very early in the morning and go outside, so you can be part of the miracle which makes you want to sing and fly with the swallows and dance the minuet with the islands?

But nothing is impossible, as, if you close your eyes you can become a swallow, or an eagle, or just simply the wind, and you CAN touch everything with your soul. No senses needed, just a bit of imagination. Close your eyes and let yourself fly...

Then you CAN go out, in the afternoon, when the world sleeps and "SEE" things, which you wouldn't otherwise see: a stone wall, an olive tree, a lizard, some yellow flowers you had never seen before, and gates, windows, rocks. SO MUCH BEAUTY! And you want to grab it all and make it yours!





We express our passion through our food. It's fiery, hot, passionate, it gives you the "Acquolina in bocca" you want it so much. You eat it with your eyes, your hands, your nose, your soul. It's the food of your land and you love it for that!

Hot and Sour Spaghetti
(Serves 2)

For the sauce:

Few glugs of olive oil
4 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 sliced hot chilli pepper, finely chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, cut into thin slivers
a drop of white wine (optional)
4 small mini plum tomatoes, chopped
6-7 sundried tomatose, very finely chopped
(I buy the tomatoes and preseve them in olive oil
garlic, parsley and chillies)
300 gr prawns, peeled and butterflied
2 small octopi, cut into smallish pieces 
(keep the tentacles whole!)
zest and lemon of 1/2 lemon
three handfuls of rocket
salt and black pepper
parsley and sliced chilli to garnish

300 gr spaghetti

In a wok, heat the oil. When hot, add your garlic and 3/4 of the chilli pepper. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes, then add your yellow pepper, the prawns and the octopus. Cook for a further five minutes, then add some white wine, let evaporate, then put your baby plum tomatoes in the wok with the sun dried tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer.
By now it should smell fantastically exotic, as all the flavours should have combined. Now you can close your eyes and dream exotic dreams. But you can't! As you should be cooking your spaghetti, al dente, draining it and adding  to the sauce.

Stir, mix with love and tenderness, add the juice and zest of your lemon and some black pepper. At the very end, before serving, add your arucola (rocket) then toss and serve, garnished with chopped parsley and sliced chillies.

                                                           Love on a plate!


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