if you love lemons this recipe is for you. It’s all store cupboard and really easy. The lemon makes it zingy and the almonds add a nutty crunch. It’s a popular primo in southern Italy and particularly in the summer. If you can get lemons from Sorrento even better, but it’s not essential at all.
Serves 2 but you can multiply it for more people
3/4 cup of finely chopped basil leaves plus some leaves for garnishing
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 cup of grated parmesan
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of toasted chopped almonds
a big spoon of toasted breadcrumbs
Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. Reserve half a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
in a big bowl mix the basil, lemon juice and zest, parmesan and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the spaghetti through and add a bit of the cooking water if it’s a bit dry, but don’t make it soupy, so just a tad.
Serve with sprinkled with the almonds,toasted breadcrumbs, a few basil leaves and a big grating of more parmesan. Delicious with a crisp green salad my Perfect Vinaigrette.
This delicious traditional Italian pasta recipe is made with salt cod in a tomato sauce: the salt cod needs a couple of days prep in advance but it’s really easy and really worth it. It’s the most delicious combination of textures and the salt cod has a divine flavour. Salt cod is an excellent store cupboard ingredient too.
200g of salt cod/fish (prepared, see below)
300g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbs of aged balsamic vinegar
1 tsp of maple syrup
1 medium onion finely chopped
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
4 tbsp of olive oil
A small bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped
1 clove of garlic peeled and finely slice.
Juice and zest of half a lemon
200g of any long pasta (I made mine with linguine)
To prepare the salt cod it needs to be soaked for 2 days, changing the water three times a day. I store it in the fridge. Drain it thoroughly. The skin, if it has any, can then be removed and any bones too. Cut into chunks.
In a frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil till soft, put in the tomatoes, the lemon zest, a little pinch of the chilli, the maple syrup, the balsamic and the cod and gently simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on. If it starts to dry out add a splash of water.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and mix with the sauce in the pan. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top and sprinkle with the parsley. Check the seasoning, I add a good grinding of pepper as it might not need salt, or very little.
This Italian recipe is made on Christmas Eve and holidays but I like to eat it anytime and it’s made with the unbelievably delicious dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge for 3 days before you cook it (salted dried cod is a brilliant store cupboard ingredient and it’s available in most supermarkets in the world food section or a Spanish or Italian deli). It’s a complete meal with the potatoes, just add a crisp green salad and that’s lunch or dinner sorted… if you are extra hungry you could add some roasted sourdough with olive oil and a scraping of fresh garlic. It’s even delicious served at room temperature. if you haven’t got time to soak the salt cod, you can use fresh cod cut into chunks and put it in the stew to poach for the last ten minutes of cooking or till cooked through.
400g of dried salted cod which is rehydrated in the fridge in water for 3 days, refreshing the water about two to three times a day. If it tastes pleasantly salty it’s ready, if not repeat for another day, or 500g of fresh cod.
5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 finely diced celery stalks
2 large peeled potatoes
Half a red pepper chopped
1 large red onion finely chopped
1 cup of fish stock (I always use Knorr stock pots, they are brilliant)
1 cup of white wine
A handful of black olives (stoned)
A small pinch of chilli flakes, or to taste
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons of capers
A small bunch of chopped parsley
Pepper and salt to taste
Firstly prepare the potatoes by cutting them into small chunks and blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain them and set aside.
prepare the fish by draining it thoroughly, pat dry with a clean tea towel and then remove any of the skin. Cut into medium sized chunks, about the size of your thumb.
Put the olive oil into a large pan and on a medium heat fry the cod pieces till they cooked through.Take out and set aside.
Put the chopped pepper, celery and onion in the pan and sauté till soft, about six minutes. Add the fish stock, tomatoes, olives, white wine, chilli flakes and capers and bring to a simmer.
Add the potatoes and gently cook for another six minutes. Add the cod, some pepper and some of the parsley and cook on a low heat for a further twenty minutes. Check the seasoning. Serve straight away with a sprinkle of the remaining parsley.
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.
These soft nutty lemony Sicilian biscuits are served at breakfast in Italy with an espresso and are really popular at special holidays like Christmas and Easter. I like them all year round for breakfast with my coffee or after dinner when I fancy something sweet.
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.
I had this Venetian tapas served with drinks in Venice. It is unbelievably delicious and perfect as canapés and as an hors d’œuvre or just for lunch. It’s also been served on polenta in Harry’s Bar for decades. The salt cod is whipped to a smooth consistency with olive oil and slavered on crostini or polenta. You can now get salt cod in the international section in most supermarkets or in Caribbean, Spanish and Italian delis.
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.
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.
Italians love a small sweet biscuit or a small piece of cake with their coffee in the morning. This cake is light and lemony and is made with olive oil and lots of eggs. You could eat it anytime of day and it would be delicious with berries and a dollop of crème fraîche too. I reduced the sugar a bit as I don’t like my cakes too sweet but you can add more if you prefer. I think it’s sweet enough.