I have been meaning to put this Sicilian recipe on the blog for a long time as I adore it and love bottarga. Bottarga is a dried, salted fish roe which is a condiment that adds the unique flavour of the sea to the pasta. You can buy it in most Italian delis or online and a little goes a long way, as you only use a small amount. The breadcrumbs add a bit of texture and you can add some lemon zest too like I do. It’s perfect for dinner for two with a salad.
3 tbs olive oil
1 -2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Big pinch of chilli flakes
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 tbs of grated Bottarga
250g of spaghetti or any long pasta
A small bunch of parsley chopped
1/2 lemon, zest only (optional)
Fill a big saucepan with slightly salted water and put in the stove to boil, bottarga is salty so don’t over salt the water.
Then heat the olive oil in a big pan over a gentle heat. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and stir fry till the garlic is golden. Discard the garlic. Now add the breadcrumbs and fry them, stirring all the time till they are golden and crunchy. Stir in the bottarga and the lemon zest if using, remove from the heat. Set aside.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and save half a cup of the cooking water. Put the spaghetti in to the pan with the breadcrumbs and mix for a couple of minutes. Add the reserved pasta water if it’s dry, a tablespoon at a time so it’s a bit moist. Check the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with the parsley and grate more bottarga on top and serve.
I love cherries in anything, and this delicious sorbet is all raw. I buy a bag of frozen stoned dark cherries from the freezer department in my local Sainsbury’s (they are only £2.00 for 500g which is a bargain)
The sorbet is beyond easy to make, no churn and I like to serve it with biscotti and or some shaved dark chocolate on top… or just garnished with fresh cherries.
Makes about 3/4 pint
2 tbs cups of stoned cherries plus a few fresh ones for optional garnish
2 tbs of lemon juice
1/3 cup of maple syrup
2 tbs Vodka, Kirsch or fruit juice
1/2 tsp of almond extract (optional)
A bar of dark chocolate (optional)
A lidded freezer container on standby to put it in
Place the lemon juice, maple syrup, cherries and kirsch (or vodka or fruit juice) and optional almond extract into the bowl of your food processor. Working as fast as you can, blitz it all up till it’s silky smooth and there are no visible skin bits. Tip it into the freezer container to firm up unless you want it straight away, it will be quite soft but delicious nevertheless. It’s at its best texture wise after a couple of hours in the freezer and eaten that day.
If it’s been in the freezer for ages you might want to take it out ten minutes before serving to soften it slightly. If I’m serving it with chocolate on, I put the chocolate in the fridge to harden up and then shave it with a vegetable peeler.
This aubergine recipe is absolutely one of my favourite things ever. It’s an ancient Middle Eastern recipe that is so delicious I could eat it every day. I serve it with warm flat breads, Greek yogurt (or Oatly crème fraîche if you are dairy free) and salad and it’s the perfect lunch or starter. It’s brilliant with my Baked Falafel too. Sometimes I add toasted pine nuts on top with the mint and parsley leaves. My friend Giada and I had it for lunch on toast with hummus and it was delicious.
2 aubergine sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices lengthwise
1 small onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 tsp of red chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of cinnamon (I think it needs quite a lot)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Small bunch of mint
Small bunch of parsley
1 tsp of maple syrup (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180c or 350f.
The cut aubergines can be salted and left to drain for twenty minutes then washed before use, however they have bred the bitterness out of some of them so I generally find it unnecessary.
Fry the aubergine slices in a big glug of olive oil, on both sides till golden. Set aside. Fry the onion in a tablespoon of olive oil till it’s starting to go golden and add the garlic, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and cook for a further minute. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and gently cook till the sauce, about 5 minutes.
Place the aubergines in an oven proof dish or pan and pour over the tomato sauce. Cover with a lid or tightly with foil and bake for about for about one and a half hours or until the aubergines are tender. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and leaves of the mint and serve. They are even better the next day after a night in the fridge.
My serving suggestion below is with warm pita bread, salad, Oatly crème fraîche and lots of the herbs.
This is the classic delicious Sicilian aubergine Pasta Alla Norma recipe, which from everything I have read, was first created in the 1700’s in Catania in Sicily and was so delicious that it was compared to the beautiful opera Norma and thus named. Its a good store cupboard supper, and I’ve also served it up at dinner parties with a crisp green salad.
2 small aubergines (eggplant)
2 cloves of garlic minced
400g of boccole, rigatoni or macaroni
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
A big bunch of basil
Ricotta Salata to garnish (which is not ricotta and I couldn’t get it) or lots if grated parmesan or a vegetarian hard cheese
Chilli oil (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the tomato sauce by sautéing the minced garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for half a minute, but don’t let it colour. Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until it’s slightly thicker. I add a teaspoon of optional maple syrup to mine to bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.
Slice the aubergines (eggplant) into any shape you like… I like mine in slices lengthwise but coins are fine too. Fry them in about quarter of an inch of olive oil until golden on both sides and drain on a clean tea towel or kitchen paper.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet in salty water. Drain and add to the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a little chilli oil if using(I love it)then mix in the fried aubergine.
Grate the Ricotta Salata over the top (or Parmesan) and finish with basil leaves.
This Italian recipe is a fantastic meatless version of meatballs, they are absolutely amazing and packed with flavour and perfect if you love aubergines, like me. Also they are great if you are having a dinner party or date night (just halve the quantities for two) I absolutely adore them.
These smoked salmon tartines are loaded with flavour; they are made with tangy pink pickled eggs and capers with a big sprinkle of fresh chopped chives on crunchy toasted sourdough. I love them for brunch, lunch and they’re perfect on a picnic.
This Sicilian pesto is really quick to make in the blender, while your pasta cooks, you can whizz it up and it’s done. It’s got the delicious fresh flavours of tomatoes, basil and garlic with the nutty almonds and it makes change from spaghetti al pesto (which I love too) it takes minutes to make and tastes divine.
I made these cocktails last night with my homemade rhubarb syrup which I served with gin (or vodka if you prefer) and sparkling water on ice… they were deliciously perfumed with the rhubarb which is the most gorgeous colour. If you prefer you can leave the alcohol out and have a delicious mocktail instead, pour it over ice cream or you can keep it in fridge as a cordial.
This Italian recipe is so delicious and packed with all the summery flavours. I use frozen raw jumbo king prawns (shell on) from the supermarket (Sainsbury’s) that I thaw first, fresh ones are great if you prefer. I could eat this every day as I really love it…