I was recently for a long weekend in Southern Italy, in Puglia and Basilicata.
The food there was very tasty, a lot of seafood and other fresh but simple ingredients.
I Will definitely try soon some of the local recipes like the “patate riso e cozze” (potatoes. rice and mussels) or “orecchiette con cime di rapa” (orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe) and so on…
When in Matera, a wonderful town, I bumped into the town’s farmer market.
There were a lot of fresh greens, olives and other yummy vegetables.
But what caught my eyes were the local cheese called caciocavallo – a semi-matured cheese made from cow’s milk.
The best of the best was though the sundried tomatoes – called in Italian pomodori secchi – so fragrant and red. I even bargained a bit for them 🙂
The orange flavoured linguine I bought from another picturesque town -Alberobello.
When I returned home I improvised a recipe based on these 3 main ingredients: sundried tomatoes, caciocavallo cheese and orange linguine and here is the recipe:
Ingredients (4 servings):
250 g linguine all’arancia (linguine with orange)
50-75 g salted sun-dried tomatoes
200 g caciocavallo cheese (or other hard cheese like provolone)
5 garlic cloves
100 ml heavy cream
1 small chilli pepper
virgin olive oil
Cook the linguine pasta according to their instructions in salty water.
Soak the sundried tomatoes in water.
Chop coarsely the garlic cloves.
Cut the cheese in small pieces.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the chopped garlic, chilli pepper and sundried tomatoes and fry until fragrant and the tomatoes are a bit roasted.
Add the cheese to the pan and fry a few seconds until it starts to melt.
Drain the pasta and add to the pan.
Stop the fire, add the cream and stir carefully to mix them all together.
I came across these Rabbit bolognese recipe on Jamie Oliver’s site. I found it very interesting especially the slow-cooking part in the oven for 12 hours… 🙂
So I gave it a try and my version of the recipe is here:
Ingredients (serve 12):
1 whole rabbit, including internal organs
slices smoked bacon, roughly chopped
4 bay leaves
1 bulb garlic
2 parsley roots
2 sticks celery
2 medium onions
500 g abalone (oyster) mushrooms
2 x 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 bunches green onions
500 ml good lager beer
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 l passata
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 110°C.
Dice the bacon into small cubes.
Wash the carrots, parsley root, parsnip and celery sticks.
In a large pot, cast iron if available, heat a bit of olive oil and fry the bacon cubes until golden.
Add the whole rabbit, internal organs, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, whole garlic bulb, leek, carrots, parsley roots, parsnip, celery, onions, mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, beer, tomato purée, the half lemon, green onions and water to cover all ingredients.
Season with the ground nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the pot into the oven and let it cook for 12 hours. If having an electric oven -like me- you don’t need to put the lid on but for gas ones do put the lid.
When cooked, take out the pot from the oven and it cools down a bit.
Pick the meat pieces out of the pot, flake them and discard the bones.
Using your hand hands, squeeze the vegetables into a puree-like consistency.
Pour any juices left behind into the new pan, then go back in and have another rummage to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Chop the mushrooms into small pieces.
Sift the juice for any remaining bones, then return the meat flakes, mushrooms and the vegetable puree.
Add the passata, season to taste with some extra salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to boil and let it cook until it reduces to the desired sauce thickness, about 1 hour.
Serve with penne or similar shape Italian pasta, grate some Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan)or Pecorino cheese atop. And why not, a glass of Rose wine!
Place the remaining bolognese sauce into plastic bags and freeze them, and reheat them whenever you need a quick and yummy food.