Sunday, 17 June 2012

Spaghetti esotici con melanzana, peperoni, salsiccia e origano greco (Spaghetti with a fantastic aubergine, pepper, sausage and Greek oregano sauce)









Today, I made a dish my sister cooked for us a long time ago. I remember the dish, as it had an ingredient which is not usually found in Italian sauces and dishes, but just on bruschetta , some salads and dishes which have the expression "Alla Pizzaiola" in their name. The ingredient is oregano, and, the reason why I made this dish is that the postman brought me some special herbs, all the way from the place where, according to ancient Greek mythology, the Gods live: Mount Olympus!



My blog friend Olympia, sent me a package containing a book about the history of Thessaloniki, her city, and four packets containing organic herbs hand picked from Mount Olympus by her friend, who owns a herbalist shop.





I knew there were herbs in the package, as I could smell the fragrant oregano from the doorstep! Sweet scented oregano, grown, picked and dried in the Greek Sun! How could I escape from my memories of evenings spent laying on warm rocks, by the sea, listening to the sound of bouzuky and people laughing, in the distance?




 How could I not miss my very long French plait, and my purple cheesecloth trousers? How could I not remember jumping into a van with a group of neapolitans and making our way to a desterted beach, on Paros, guided by our favourite waiter who wore a wig, through fields of water melons which  lead to Eden? I still have my beautiful silver and mother of pearl earings to remind me of my sunny days!





While the postman made me sign on a little unfriendly electronic pad, using a plastic wand, I was flying over the white and electric blue roofs of a Greek island, dancing with cats and pulling the pony tail of a priest.




 The postman's head became a carousel of glasses full of ice cold retzina, and his hair a forest of fresh figs. I could smell cinnamon, nut filled croissants and Ouzo, with oregano, green tea and dried mint... 





My goodness me! I got totally carried away...   Anna is " In the Sky With Diamonds!"



Thank you, Olympia!



Here is my recipe, by the way!



Spaghetti esotici con melanzana, peperoni, salsiccia e origano greco
(Spaghetti with a fantastic aubergine, pepper, sausage and Greek oregano sauce)



Ingredients
Serves 2



For the sauce:



5-6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1/2 aubergine
2 pork sausages
1 large pepper
1 tin tomatoes
plus a few tbsp passata
6-7 olives (optional)
a few basil leaves
1 small tsp of dried oregano
Pecorino Cheese to serve
200g ( 7 oz) spaghetti



MY SALAD:



a generous handful heirloom tomatoes
10-12 Greek olives
80g (3 oz) Feta Cheese diced
1 tsp oregano
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Chilli pepper
(optional)



Another quick and easy recipe! Before you start, dice your pepper (fairly small) and aubergine. Chop your onion, and the discard the skin of the sausages,  as you only need to use the meat in the sausage. Chop the sausage meat fairly small.

I made my sauce in a thick J.O. (Jamie O.) pan, which I love, as it's quite heavy and has a solid base.

I poured a generous amount of Italian olive oil in the pan and heated. This was followed by my chopped onion, which I cooked until lovely and golden. My chopped vegetables followed, with some salt, black pepper and a few fresh basil leaves.







As my vegetables cooked, I could smell the aroma: what a fantastic combination!
I cooked my vegetables until they were beginning to look shiny and kind of translucent. I was now ready to add my fantastic Greek oregano! Just one teaspoon would be enough. As the flavours blended once more, I could smell the Med...  I love that smell!



Anyway, my meat followed ( I bought 97 per cent meat sausages, very nice, but not as good as the fantastic sausages you get in Italy! Sorry!) as I continued to stir. I could see my sauce was going to be quite healthy, as my sausages were extremely meaty and I had not used too much oil! Olive oil is very good for you, as I'm sure you all know!








At this point, I added about four tinned tomatoes and a quarter of a small carton of passata, making sure I crushed the tinned tomatoes to a pulp. You can use a whole tin of tomatoes, crushed, a small carton of passata, or a combination of both, if you like. The choice is yours. Please remember that tinned tomatoes need to be cooked, not just warmed up. They are raw!



OK... so... I cooked my sauce on a medium to low heat for a good 20 minutes, then decided to add a few chopped olives (I didn't add these to my list of ingredients, as they are optional!)







I cooked spaghetti al dente, drained and tossed in the sauce. Needless to say, the aroma was just magnificent!









I served my dish with a sprinkling of Pecorino cheese and a little salad, on the side, 






 made by putting together some gorgeous BIG olives, some Feta cheese, olive oil, pea shoots and, of couse, a small amount of my "Gift from the Gods"... Olympia's oregano!




Σε ευχαριστώ πολύ

50 comments:

  1. Dear Anna - sounds delicious and looks spectacular.
    Enjoyed your Greek memories of your very long French plait, and your purple cheesecloth trousers. I bet you were a real hit with the young Greek men.
    I could almost smell those wonderful herbs from dear Olympia.
    This week I made your pea risotto with asparagus and baby leeks, and it went down a treat, also much enjoyed by H. Thank you.
    Ciao♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosemary! That was quick... I was still editing my post, when you commented. I think I got it sorted.

      Rosemary... I'll be honest with you. That particular Summer I think I grew up. No Greek or any men at all. I kind of discovered "something" about myself: I had grown up! But yes... I know I was a very pretty girl... why deny it, eh?

      The herbs from Olympia have filled my house with a fantastic smell. I'll have to put them in air tight jars and I'll make sure I use the green tea (It's like whole wild hops) and the other herb (I'm yet to find out what it is!)It says it makes a relaxing hot drink, so I'll try it for sure!

      This "H" sounds very misterious... does it stand for Hector, Harry, Horace or Hugh (maybe Grant?) Anyway... I'm glad he liked my risotto. his recipe is a good and easy one, too!

      CIAO... doesn't the weekend go by too quickly?

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
    2. Dear Anna - nothing mysterious, H is my husband, all legal and above board.
      The weekend, and the year itself seem to be flying by. ♥
      Glad you have got your photos sorted out, and you are writing your blog on them - that is good.

      Delete
  2. Oh, that looks delicious ! Italian cooking is the only one I can do and most people enjoy it, thank God ! I'm following your blog right away !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi and welcome to my blog. I'm glad you like Italian food, as I love it too (Being born and bred Italian does help, of course!)
      Please feel free to use any of my recipes. They are all delicious and authentic!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

      Delete
  3. That's so very wonderful, Anna! You are a very talented storyteller - I got carried away as well! Olympia gave you a precious present and you made a delicious mediterranean dish (what else?). It seems to be perfect for a warm summer evening and I shall try it out as I do have oregano and basil in my garden! Looking already forward to it! Thanks for your today's comment. Unfortunately the Morning Glory does not grow wild here in Switzerland but they seem to be happy on my balcony! Buona serrata, cara Anna! Christa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christa, hello... Morning Glory grows wild in Italy (I took photos of it growing by a beautiful, lively stream) in Paestum (That's the place where I took the photo of the Greek temple in the collage, above. Paestum used to be a Greek colony.)

      Thank you for complimenting me about my writing/story telling skills. I enjoy it and, what I like most, is adding "acessories" small particulars, here and there, which are processed by my imagination and come out as sometimes poetic images.

      You will have to try this dish, Christa, but be very "gentle" with the oregano. Too much can be overpowering in sauces. It's fantastic on bruschetta, of course, as you know, I'm sure!

      Try this dish: it's really very easy. You might like to try it with a small (short and more chunky) pasta shape, to be eaten with a spoon, so you can catch all the ingredients and their flavour, with each spoonful.

      BUONA SERATA A TE, MIA CARA AMICA!

      XXX

      ANNA

      Delete
  4. Ciao ABBA (an inside joke) I love when you take photos of food cooking and being prepared. I really liked your story too. x Valery

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    Replies
    1. Ciao Valery! The secret's out, Mamma mia! Yes, ok... I AM ABBA. That would explain my extremely beautiful, "in tune" singing voice (at all times, of course.)

      I actually once signed a comment to someone's blog post as ABBA, which was funny. But I have my glasses on, right now, and I can see, so I can say "Thank you, Valery" for a lovely comment coming from a fantastic photographer such as you!

      My story... well, yes... now you know where they got the idea for "Mamma mia!" from! I was involved in that, too!

      CIAO
      xxx

      OK... ABBA it is!

      Delete
  5. Dear Anna

    I love how the recipes prompt memories of a fun loving young woman who relished life then and, of course,now. Am I correct in assuming you did not leave many stones unturned?

    Your gift from Olympia is priceless and precious. I have just had supper (boulabaisse) and had I not I would promptly be in the cucina making your dish. I love how you divulge your chef's secrets, such as cooking the raw tinned tomatoes.

    Hope you week is very special dear Anna

    Helenxx

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    Replies
    1. Dear Helen, I have always loved life and I overdose on passion, on a daily basis. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not. I love little things... things I can see and touch and things I can feel and sense.

      I was lucky to have parents who never placed any boundaries, but I always knew the difference between right and wrong. They set a good example and I was brought up surrounded by love. But I did turn a few stones, come to think!

      Life is beautiful and so full of light and colour! I feel so lucky to be alive and to love and be loved. I also understand the importance and the role that beauty in an objective sense, plays in life. It comes under many guises and often it goes hand in hand with good ( I sound like Shakespeare, now, or Lennon & Mac Cartney "Love is all you need!")

      I have never had bouilleabaisse, Helen, but, where I come from with are known to cook the best food in the whole of Italy. My "Zuppa di Pesce" is an absolute winner! Though bouilleabaisse is good, too, I'm sure!

      HAPPY WEEK!

      ANNA

      xxx

      Delete
  6. un primo ricco di colori e di sapori complimenti

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    Replies
    1. E` anche un piatto veramente buono, Giovanna! Te l'assicuro!

      CIAO E BUONA SETTIMANA!

      ANNA

      Delete
  7. Dear Anna,

    Is there anything that you cannot make? I feel I can always smell what you are cooking...I have to try making this, I am sure it will make me smile and sing an opera! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      Well, I did find find something I had never seen and made before, a year ago! It's this French wedding profiterole type cake, called Croque-en-bouche. It's so very beautiful, extravagant, spectacular and over the top. I really want to make one! I bought a book, specially.

      This dish ( my dish) will make you sing and smile! When I was growing up, in Italy, there was music everywhere. How can people live without music and singing? I wake up with a song in my head and I sing it all day.

      Food is music, in a way, and it's love, colour, and a feast for all our senses. So, start singing opera! It's good for you (maybe your cats will join you?)

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  8. This is a wonderful summer recipe.. How wonderful to be able to use fresh oreganum from dear Olympia.. i agree Anna..the smell when using it in cooking is so rich.. i love it.
    Stunning, you must have looked with your Frech braid and cotten slacks.. The young Greek men, who are very handsome too..must have turned their heads at una bella senhorina..!
    Happy memories Anna.
    I feel your love for medeterranean life ..sun, afternoon family time, good wine, happy friends ..lots of love all around. I know that you are such a happy person Anna,
    I love your posts and take so much from them.
    This recipe will be on my list.. When are we getting that special book..!!! recipies..
    Malto bello.
    big hugs.. val x x x x x x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Val,

      You are always so nice to me!You know, Val, I only use oregano when I make bruschetta, or a potato salad like my mum used to make, with potatoes, tomatoes, tuna, onions, olive oil and oregano. I also make fish, baked alla pizzaiola, where I use oregano, but very little. This sauce is the only one I know, where a teaspoon of oregano is used, as it can be overpowering! On bruschetta, I love it!
      I wish Olympia was around, so I could thank her properly for her gift! She must be away, as she hasn't seen my email, yet.

      Anyway! Try this recipe, as it's very good, but be very gentle with the oregano: just a very small amount, or you won't be able to taste anything else!

      Big hugs to you, Val!

      ANNA
      xxx

      Delete
  9. Stories as wonderful as recipes!

    ♥ Franka

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Franka! I hope you are having a beautiful, sun filled day! It's lovely here, for a change. Yesterday I picked the first strawberry of the season, in the garden.

    I'm glad you enjoy my little stories...

    CIAO!

    ANNA
    x

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  11. Questa sera per cena vorrei avere il tuo piatto! Un caloroso saluto...ciao

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Non e` tanto difficile... guarda che e` tanto facile che anche la Clerici, che e` un'asinella, potrebbe cucinarlo!

      Buona serata!

      ANNA

      Delete
  12. Aaawww, you make me hungry!!! It looks so good and that salad, SIGH!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. And thank you for the sweetest comment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristin,

      Any sweet comments are well deserved. I always tell the truth!
      I'm glad you like the look of the dish I prepared. I can assure you , it tasted as good as it looked!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      x

      Delete
  14. Dear Anna,

    This looks once again delicious! Makes me wish you lived close by so that I could come along and test it :-)!!

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief x

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    Replies
    1. Hello!

      If you lived nearby, I would love to use you as a Guinea Pig, someone to test and taste all my recipes! It wouldn't be good for your waistline, mind you, but you would love it!

      It's a lovely warm evening, here...

      Ciao

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  15. What a lovely gift you were sent, love the way you manage to make your posts into so much more than a recipe but tell us a story as well.

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    Replies
    1. Ciao Lindy!

      Yes, it was a truly lovely, thoughtful gift, though Olympia seems to have vanished. I even sent her an email, and not received a reply. I guess she's gone to some fantastic sunny place for a holiday and will be back, soon. Lucky thing!

      Thank you, Lindy, for appreciating my little stories. I love writing them. Maybe that should be my book. A kind of "My Family and Other animals!" I love that book!

      Buona serata italiana...

      ANNA

      xx

      Delete
  16. Ciao Anna, thanks for your advice about the memory card. I bought a new one today with which I can take 4000 pics before it is full! This makes me feel at ease! I can push the button and photograph anything without thinking! Hehehe - great for me! I hope you are having a good start into a warm and lovely summer! Baciotto, Christa

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    Replies
    1. Hi Christa! I never worry about how many shots I take, as I save the ones I use for my posts and then delete them ( i Also have a couple of spare memory cards, just in case!)

      I have a fantastic, big and beautiful camera which does film, as well, though I would love to have a camcorder, so I can make films! There's a lot I don't know about my camera, as it does lots, too much and I need to learn, especially about night time photography. I should take lessons from my beautiful stepdaughter Valery, who is a NY professional photographer and knows everything about cameras, obviously.
      I am having a good start into Summer... and some good news, today... not sure about the "warm" bit, as it's windy and miserable, here. But... we'll be in Italy in three or so weeks so I don't really care about the weather in UK! Isn't that lovely?

      Un baciotto a te, Christa!

      ANNA
      xxx :)

      Delete
  17. I saw your comment on Rosemary’s blog and am happy to have come to yours. I can never make a good spaghetti sauce so I usually buy one in a jar at the store. I’ll try yours as it sounds delicious. I’ll also come back and read more of your cuisine.

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  18. HELLO!

    If you look through my blog, you will find a lot of interesting sauces and dishes to prepare and enjoy! You just need to look through, or type in "Search" the name of a dish, or ingredient.

    CIAO and... come back!

    ANNA

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  19. Replies
    1. Salve, Carlo!

      Fra non molto LA PARTITA... da non perdere. E` vero... e` un'ottima ricetta... sarebbe una buona cenetta per celebrare la vittoria!

      ANNA

      Delete
  20. Hi Anna, Thanks for visiting and commenting on my bread spoons. By all means, try the bruschetta. Your menu looks delightful. I want to try making my own pasta soon.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Linda! Your little bread spoons are delightful. You should try making your own pasta. I'm not an expert pasta maker, but I enjoy trying new things, too!

      ANNA

      Delete
  21. Buon giorno Anna, mille grazie for your lovely comment yesterday. That's amazing that in Puglia you eat raw octopus! Really crazy! I hope your time in Italy will come soon and lots of cooking with fresh food is waiting for you! Yesterday evening the football game was like a criminal story! The Italians really earned to win! After the game the streets here in Berne were full of Italians with their cars honking nearly all night. Wonderful emotions! Now we are waiting for the game on Thursday which will be very interesting too. I am off to work now! Have a wonderful day! Hugs, Christa

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  22. Dear Christa, Sushi, to us, is very tame. Yes, we do eat raw octopus, cuttlefish, small fish and every shellfish under the sun. It's what makes the diet of my native Puglia the healthies in the world! As well as all the wonderful vegetables we produce and eat.

    Before you can eat octopus, you have to make sure it's fresh. When it starts going reddish, it's had it and all you can do is cook it.

    Fresh octopus has to be tenderised (you do this whole process on rocky seashores... I learnt how to do it when I was very young) and then placed in a wicker basket, which is moved backwards and forwards (by hand!) until the tentacles curl up, and they really do. The octopus is then washed and rinsed in clean (we have the cleanest sea in the MED!) sea water and can then be eaten. My babies were eating raw seafood at the young age of three-five months and they loved it immediately! I made a point of giving it to them, so they would get used to eating it.

    I would swap raw seafood for caviar, any time! I love it!

    Football was great, last night. I love it when we play well, and Pirlo and Buffon are gorgeous (they look as if they were sculpted out of marble!) Dear Mario Balotelli was fantastic. He has to put up with a lot from so said "supportes" of other teams. They throw bananas at him, to annoy him, because his skin is black. IDIOTS! I know where I'd rather stick those bananas. WE love Mario... he's one of us and a bit eccentric, which is nice!

    I love football and I am a good goalkeeper!

    CIAO anf hugs!

    ANNA
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Bela receita...Espectacular....
    Cumprimentos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muita obrigada, Senior Santos.

      Yo digo Portugues como Colin Firth en Amor de Fato (Love Actually.) Very, very bad... molto male e ridicolo!

      Arrivederci

      ANNA

      Delete
  24. Hello my dear Anna,
    Your piece took me straight back to sunny holidays in Greece too!
    I remember on one island swimming across a tiny bay to buy my breakfast and the smell of Greek herbs on the BBQ on a deserted beach. What happy memories, I think I must cook your recipe to bring some more back!
    I hope you are well and happy,
    Jane xx

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  25. Well..You captured my heart!!!I love your posts!!Enjoy your victory in football!!I vote for Italy..!!I see her queen of Euro'12..!!!

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    Replies
    1. Ciao Helen!

      A victory for Italy would be fantastic, but... we'll see! I am just sad I am not in Italy, because I would love to go out and celebrate, if we win, but here, there is no chance... all is dead!

      Thanks for contacting me about the magazine! Sounds like a great and exciting idea! I'm so glad you like reading my little stories!

      ABBRACCI

      ANNA
      xx

      Delete
  26. I don't know why, but I'm humming that tune "Come dine with me..." can't wait to see you on it! What fun!

    I'm glad we have memories we can kind of share. Happy memories, it's true... and many!

    Do cook my recipe, though it's not Greek, but very Italian (my sister Antonietta's recipe, in fact!) though I used a tiny bit of the oregano Olympia sent me, in it!

    So, try it, Jane, or ..."Come dine with me!"

    CIAO!

    ANNA
    xxx

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  27. Ciao Anna, I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Italians win tonight! Pirlo and Buffon will make it work and the Italians make such a big party everytime I just love it! xxx Christa

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  28. Dear Christa: WE DID IT! They could only score with a penalty! What makes it even better for me is the fact that on BBC they obviously wanted Germany to win. BAD LUCK! England are SORE LOOSERS! We won. We were the best team and thrashed Germany! What a beating! Super Mario delivered the goods! Well done, Balotelli!

    I spoke with my sister and heard the sounds of victory, out in the street, outside her house: we are a noisy, fun loving nation!

    Thank you for your support, Christa! I love Italy!

    Buona notte...

    ANNA
    xxx

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  29. Hello lovely passionate Anna, I did enjoy your story, your poor postman, if he only knew! Purple cheesecloth trousers eh...what a groover! What a wonderful gift I can smell that oregano now, so aromatic. Your recipe as ever looks amazing, and I do love those greek salads.
    Have a great weekend, with much love, Linda x

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  30. Hello Linda!

    Good to hear from you! I have a new recipe ready to post, which is so delicious and quite different!

    I don't know what the postman thought was in that parcel, but good job he didn't know what was going on in my head!

    A good weekend to you, too. I will enjoy the football, though it gives me very bad palpitations!

    CIAO!

    anna
    xxx

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  31. What a wonderful parcel to receive from kind Olympia! Your memories remind me of my happy holidays on Greek Islands too, back in the day....Paros, Lesvos, Samos,and so many other little islands that i forget the names, but always that wonderful heat, heady scents of wild mountainside herbs, pines, the tinkle of goat bells, loud Greek music and chattering locals,unbelievably clear turquoise seas, it was all so beautiful and heady to a girl in love and an escape from the grey and wet - getting out of the plane,usually at some ungodly hour of the morning, the heavy heat hit you!
    So I can imagine know how you felt opening your parcel!
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Gill xx

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  32. If you have a husband or even a boyfriend he most be in heaven when you cook for him.

    -Zane

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