Friday, December 26, 2008

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

This zesty pancetta and tomato sauce is most commonly associated with Lazio and Rome, but is actually from the town of Amatrice. I have used spaghetti but you could use any thick stranded spaghetti type pasta. The original recipe is made not with pancetta but using Guanciale which is an unsmoked bacon made from pigs cheeks but it is a bit tough to find.


* 1 package of Spaghetti
* 1/4 pound (100 g) pancetta diced
* 1 1/2 cups of good tomato sauce
* A hot pepper, seeded and shredded (or leave it whole if you want to remove it)
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* A cup of freshly grated Pecorino Romano

To give the meal more substance you could add some mushrooms fried up and/or chicken breast cut into small pieces and fried. Add these to the sauce at the end.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fettuccine with Prawns in a Sweet Tomato Sauce

Jamie Oliver is one of my favorite cooks. This dish started As one of his. It very quick to prepare and the cognac gives it a very interesting flavour. You could use several variations, for example try basil instead of the parsley. Canned chopped tomatoes could be used in a pinch but you will lose the fresh light flavour that fresh tomatoes will bring to the dish. Those of you who have my cookbook may recognize it.

6 or 8 Medium sized Roma Tomatoes
2 tablespoons of butter
Extra virgin olive Oil
12 oz small peeled shrimp
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
zest and the juice of 1 lemon
2 1/2 oz cognac
1/2 cup of heavy cream
salt and pepper
Fettuccine, to feed 4
1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
1 large handful of fresh spinach
Feta cheese crumbled

Blanch and skin the tomatoes then chop them into small pieces.
Heat and salt the water in the pot for cooking the pasta. When it is almost at the boil start the sauce.
Put the butter and a couple of swirls of the olive oil in a frying pan and when it is hot add the shrimp, garlic, lemon zest and tomatoes and stir it up for a few minutes then add the cognac. You could flame the cognac if you are into showmanship but if there is no one to impress, don’t bother.
Cook for a few more minutes and add the cream. Simmer gently for a couple of minutes and remove from the heat. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
If you are using fresh pasta put it into the boiling water. It will only take about 3 minutes. If you are using dried you should have started the pasta a bit sooner but don’t worry the sauce will reheat.
When the pasta is el dente, drain it in a colander and when it is drained put it into a pasta bowl and stir in the chopped parsley.
Mix in the sauce, add and stir in the spinach leaves They will quickly wilt.
Crumble feta cheese over the top and serve.