pasta con le sarde

A traditional Sicilian recipe for pasta with the amazing flavours of fennel, anchovies, saffron, wine, pine nuts and lemon with crunchy bread crumbs on top. I searched high and low for fresh sardines but my fishmonger said they were out of season, so I used good quality tinned ones in olive oil and they are absolutely fine. I make mine with spaghetti Nero but any long pasta works.

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spaghetti with broccoli anchovies and pine nuts

This traditional Italian recipe for spaghetti with broccoli is deceptively delicious. It’s got a great combination of flavours with saffron, onions and wine. There is also a sweetness from the currants which makes it taste all the more delicious. Its got really typical Italian flavours and is normally made with Bucatini. I think it’s perfect for a dinner party or dinner date, (you can halve the ingredients) just serve it with a salad and a glass of wine. Job done.

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spinach and ricotta gnocchi

These gnocchi are much lighter than potato gnocchi, although I’m a still big fan of potato gnocchi. I’ve made this recipe with gluten free flour which works really well, but you can use normal flour if you prefer. They take a day to make because you need to strain the ricotta overnight in a sieve, but after that the are easy and worth making because they are clouds of deliciousness. You can also serve them with my sugo instead of the butter and olive oil with fried sage, and then grate lots of parmesan on top. They make a great starter or main meal with a salad.

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spaghetti al nero with mushrooms and chilli

This spaghetti recipe is a traditional Italian recipe which is like a lot of Italian recipes, it’s really simple but nails it with its flavours. I bought my mushrooms at Morrison’s as they have a brilliant selection of veg, fruit and herbs. The spaghetti al nero I got from my local Italian deli, but it’s equally good with standard spaghetti. It’s essentially vegan except for the spaghetti al nero which is made with squid ink, so to get the same vibe you could use black rice noodles. For the Parmesan lovers like myself, you can add lots of freshly grated Parmesan. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you can find a vegan parmesan in your local supermarket or health food shop.

It’s perfect for a dinner party served with a salad and some crusty bread or for a date night as it looks really beautiful.

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spanish orange glazed squid

I have a oldish Spanish cookbook with fantastic recipes in it that are great as tapas. I’m working my way through it pretending I’m in Barcelona. This recipe from that book has the sweetness of oranges which work really well with squid and the smokiness of the smoked paprika giving it a real Spanish vibe. I’ve tweaked it slightly and replaced the sugar with maple syrup so it’s low glycemic. You can eat it as tapas with other small plates or combine it with pasta as I did. I bought my black pasta from my Italian deli but it works equally well with plain old standard spaghetti or Linguine. It’s perfect for a dinner party or a date night. My friend Timna says it’s up there with my crab Linguine as one of the best things she’s ever tasted.

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warm spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce

This spaghetti is a proper Tuscan summery delight and my Italian family favourite. It not only is fresh and simple but it has very few ingredients too. It reminds me of summer evenings sitting in our garden as children with a glass of fizzy apple juice pretending it was champagne. This spaghetti can be served with Parmesan, but it traditionally is served without. I love this with a plain salad with my vinaigrette.
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spaghetti al pesto

Home made pesto is so infinitely superior to the store-bought jars, it’s a totally different beast. This authentic Italian recipe is one of the easiest, quickest, and most delicious sauces for pasta. All you do is stick the pasta on and put the pesto ingredients in a food processor, although pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. The first time I had this wasn’t with my Italian family, it was in an Italian restaurant in Hamburg when I was a teenager and I vividly remember thinking it was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten and it’s perfect for a date night.

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spaghetti with black truffles

This is an authentic Italian recipe and it’s vegan, but you can serve it with Pecorino cheese finely grated on top if you don’t do vegan, both ways are traditionally Italian. I love truffles on nearly everything, eggs, chips, risotto, pasta, mashed potato…the list is endless. I gave my friends Timna and Vicki my black truffle carbonara a couple of weeks ago and they are still talking about how sublime they think it is. However, I wanted I to do a vegan version too. I think it tastes fantastic, all truffley and garlicky. Its very Italian and it only takes about ten minutes to make, or as long as the spaghetti is cooking. Perfect for a dinner party, you can multiply the amounts or halve the quantities for a super tasty date night.

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