Saturday, March 24, 2012

A delicious spring pasta: Bronte's pistachio's pesto & speck

Do you know what the pesto of pistachio is? It is a sauce made of grounded pistachio from Bronte, a town near Catania, and it is mixed with some salt, pepper and oil of olive. It is a product that people normally buy in supermarkets but I don't think you find it anywhere else out of Sicily.

The recipe that I am going to put is something my mum and I created on a sunday morning, while we were thinking about an original nice way to dress our pasta. We like to try combining different ingredients so we decided to use not only a Sicilian pistachio's pesto but also some speck, which is a smoked Parma ham typical of the region of Trentino Alto Adige, up in the north, added some creamy cheese as well and it was just fabulous! We couldn't have a better result! 
So with a little more imagination we can say that Italy is united in this dish also in our three colors of the flag :) 

Ingredients & preparation for four people:
380 gr. penne rigate (or any other type of pasta you like)
4-5 tablespoons of pistachio's pesto
80 gr. speck thinly sliced and chopped in pieces
2-3 tablespoons of creamy cheese (like Philadelphia or similar)
3-4 leaves fresh mint
some grated lemon zest
black pepper

Cook the penne as usual, adding salt when the water boils. While they are cooking, in another sauce pan or frying pan, put the chopped speck on a medium heat, after a couple of minutes add the pesto of pistachio and some hot water taken from the pasta, add the creamy cheese as well, a bit of black pepper, the leaves of mint and some grated lemon if you like them all and... voilà the sauce is ready!
As soon as the penne are cooked, drain and sautè them in the sauce pan with the dressing, mixing well all together. Sprinkle with Parmisan cheese on top and the whole of Italy is served right on your table!  


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Local Expert Award ? The Sicilian Cuisine Blog is in!!!

This short post is to thank the website Charming Sicily to have awarded me with the title of 'Sicilian Local Expert'. It's always nice when somebody you don't know drops you a few lines to say how much appreciates your blog, but it's even nicer when somebody actually thinks you are worth getting an award, even if a virtual one!

To be honest with you, I have never felt like an expert, so I am particularly honoured, therefore I will treat it as very valuable indeed! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart :-)))

Friday, March 2, 2012

Exquisite fava beans mash: the Sicilian "maccu"

Do you know what is the so-called "MACCO DI FAVE"? In Sicilian the word macco becomes maccu and is used to name an exquisite dish we prepare with dried and peeled fava beans. It is a mix between a thick soup and a puree, because when you cook fava beans they mash up and become an homogeneous soup. You can also have it with pasta, as one of our 'minestras'.

Recipe for 4 people:

250 gr dried peeled fava beans
3 tbs tomato sauce
*a small bunch of wild fennel (like 20% of the one in the pic)
3 tbs extra virgin oil of olive
hot chili pepper (a little piece or half of it)
salt & black pepper
*if you can't find wild fennel you can easily replace it with some thinly chopped rosemary

Normally you need to pre-soak the fava beans for at least two hours. Place them in a bowl with cold water. 

After 2 hours, wash the fennel under running water. In a pot on a medium heat put some water (about 1 litre) together with the fava beans. As soon as the water starts to boil add salt, the fennel cut in small pieces and half of a little chili pepper; then reduce the heat at the minimum.

Let the fava beans cook slowly, stirring from time to time so that they don't get stuck at the bottom of the pot. To obtain the mash they have to cook about one hour all together, but it also depends on how water you put. If it's too liquid, wait until the majority of it has been absorbed by the beans. 

After the first 25 or 30 minutes, add the spoons of tomato sauce and the extra virgin olive oil. Finally, serve hot with grilled slices of rustic bread spread with a clove of garlic.

It's extremely simple, incredibly healthy and delicious, everyone loves it and is also perfect for vegeterians. Can we ask for more? :-))