And they say romance is dead

Have you ever heard of maritati pasta? It is a special pasta combination, made of orecchiette and maccheroni (also known as minchiareddi), particularly famous in Puglia, one of the most beautiful regions in Italy.

Maritati in italian means “married”, and this pasta basically represents the marriage between orecchiette pasta (the woman), and maccheroni (the man).

Fun fact: the other name used for maccheroni, “minchiareddi”, literally translate as “small penises”.

Historically, maritati pasta was served during weddings in Puglia, to wish a happy union to the newly weds. Today, it is the pasta choice for Sunday lunch, generally with ragu or tomato sauce.

The dough for the orecchiette and maccheroni is usually made of semolina flour and water, no eggs or additional ingredients: in the old days, pasta was food for the poor people, who couldn`t afford eggs or fancy ingredients, so we are going to stick to the original recipe! I am also uploading two videos to show you how to make orecchiette and maritati, it is a very relaxing process and I am sure you will love to have a go at it!

Ingredients for the dough – 4 people:

-400g semolina flour

-200ml water

-pinch of salt

Steps:

  1. combine the ingredients together, adding just half of the water at the beginning, and then incorporating it gradually while kneading
  2. if you feel the dough is very hard, put your hands under fresh water and dont dry them, just keep kneading with wet hands
  3. leave the dough to rest for 30 minute

How to make orecchiette:

  1. take 1/4 of the dough and roll it until you have a “sausege” of 1cm diameter
  2. cut the sausage in little squares of 1cm
  3. put a knife on one square and drag it towards you
  4. take the pasta off the knife, and put your finger in it to turn it inside out – video below
  5. you will need to repeat this process with another 1/4 of the pasta – you cant start just rolling 1/2 of the dough because by the time you finish, your squares will be too dry

How to make maccheroni:

1.take 1/4 of the dough and roll it until you have a “sausage” of 1cm diameter

2.cut the sausage in strings about 5cm long

3. using a thin wire (usually in Italy we use a wire called “paduro, but I couldnt find one, so I disassembled my cake syringe) press the strings against the wire and roll them, like in the video below

4. you will need to repeat this process with another 1/4 of the pasta – you cant start just rolling 1/2 of the dough because by the time you finish, your strings will be too dry

And here is the final result!!

I had them with a tomato and mushrooms sauce, topped with grated salted ricotta

Creamy pasta with mushrooms and pancetta

Mushrooms and pancetta are just meant to be together! I love the combination of these flavours and it is such an easy recipe to make with pasta!

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • Mushrooms, 250g
  • Pancetta, 4 slices
  • Cream, 150 g
  • Pasta (mezze maniche or rigatoni) 320g
  • White onion, 1
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon

Recipe:

  1. Peel the onion and cut it finely
  2. Melt the butter in a pan
  3. Add the onion and leave it to cook until softened but not golden
  4. Wash the mushrooms, cut in slices and add them to the pan
  5. Add some water to the pan
  6. Cut the pancetta in squares
  7. Put the pancetta in a separate Pan and Cook it in its own fat
  8. Cook the pasta
  9. Mix the pasta with the mushrooms
  10. Add the cream
  11. Add the pancetta on top

Enjoy!!

Pasta alla norma

Pasta alla Norma is a traditional recipe from Sicily, it takes its name from the Bellini masterpiece Norma 🙂 I am not surprised that such a lovely recipe has been compared to the perfection of this opera!

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • Pasta (rigatoni, sedani, mezze maniche, penne) 320g
  • Aubergine, 500g
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Salted ricotta to grate
  • Basil leaves
  • Vine tomatoes 800g

Recipe:

  1. Wash and chop the tomatoes
  2. Peel and cut the garlic
  3. Warm some oil in a pan and add the garlic
  4. When the garlic starts to bubble, add the tomatoes and let everything cook at very very low temperature for 30 minutes
  5. In the meantime, cut the aubergines in slices, put them in a colander and layer them covered in sea salt
  6. Put a pan with water on top of the aubergines so they release their bitter juice and leave them in the colander for at least half an hour
  7. When the tomatoes are cooked, blend everything together
  8. Put the sauce again in a pan and let it cook for 15 minutes until the sauce is more thick
  9. Add salt and pepper as you like
  10. Rinse the aubergines and dry them well with a towel
  11. Put some oil in a pan and fry the aubergines until golden
  12. Once they are fried, put them in a dish covered with kitchen towel to absorb the oil
  13. Cook the pasta
  14. When the pasta is done, mix it with the tomato sauce and add the aubergines slices on top of it
  15. Grate some salted ricotta and put it on top of the pasta
  16. Add the basil leaves

Enjoy!

Fresh orecchiette pasta with spicy broccoli and garlic

This is a great recipe: easy, quick, spicy, tasty, colourful. As you can see, it ticks all boxes!

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • Fresh orecchiette pasta, 180g
  • Broccoli florets, 160g
  • Chilli, 1
  • Garlic clove, 1
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chilli flakes to decorate

Recipe:

  1. Wash the chilli and remove seeds
  2. Peel the garlic
  3. Cut the garlic and chilli very finely
  4. Put some oil in a pan and warm it
  5. Add the garlic and chilli
  6. When it starts bubbling turn the heat off, you don’t want the garlic to become golden
  7. Cut the broccoli, their dimensions should be around half an orecchietta
  8. Add the broccoli to the pan with half a glass of water
  9. Let it cook until the broccoli become tender (10-15 minutes)
  10. In the meantime cook the fresh orecchiette
  11. When the orecchiette are cooked, drain them and mix them in the pan with the broccoli
  12. Stir well and put the orecchiette in a dish
  13. Add some chilli flakes to decorate

Enjoy!

Penne all’arrabbiata

This recipe is very easy, quick and tasty!

I love the colours, the spiciness and the amazing flavours you can get from simple ingredients 🙂

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • Penne 160g
  • Chopped tomatoes, 1 tin
  • Garlic clove, 1
  • Hot Chillies, 2
  • Sweet chillies, 2
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional to decorate:dry chilli flakes

Recipe:

  1. Cut the garlic
  2. Put the oil in a pan, warm it and add the garlic
  3. When the garlic starts getting golden turn the heat off
  4. Cut the chillies and add them to then pan
  5. Cook them for 2-3 minutes
  6. Add the tomatoes
  7. Add the salt and pepper
  8. Let the sauce to cook for 10-13 minutes
  9. Cook the pasta
  10. Once the pasta is cooked, stir it with the sauce
  11. Put the pasta in a plate and add the parsley
  12. Optional add the chili flakes to decorate

Enjoy!

Fusilli with mascarpone, scamorza affumicata and pistachio flakes

This recipe is incredibly easy and tasty. It is also very elegant and delicate, it is perfect if you want to shine when you have people over for dinner!

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • Fusilli 160 g
  • Mascarpone 125 g
  • Butter one tablespoon
  • Pistachio, 15 nuts
  • Smoked scamorza ( or a smoked cheese with a flavour that is not too strong) 100 g

Recipe:

  1. Put the pistachio in a blender until you have rough flakes
  2. Cook the pasta
  3. 7-5 minutes before the pasta is done, melt the butter and the scamorza
  4. Drain the pasta but keep 2 tablespoons of the hot water
  5. Put the water in the pan containing the butter and scamorza
  6. Add the pasta
  7. Add the mascara and stir until it has spread evenly
  8. Add the pistachio

Enjoy!!

Farfalle al sugo

This is the easiest recipe ever, I promise.

You are just a few steps away from one of the most delicious meals of the Italian cuisine 🙂 it doesn’t take long to make it and it is a great dinner idea for when you have friends coming over!

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • Chopped tomatoes, one tin
  • Pasta 160g
  • Garlic, one clove
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Basil

Recipe:

  1. Cut the garlic very finely
  2. Put the oil in a pan and warm it up
  3. Add the garlic
  4. When it starts bubbling add the tomatoes
  5. Let them cook for 20 minutes, stirring often
  6. In the meantime cook the pasta
  7. Optional step: once they are cooked put them in a blender for a smooth cream
  8. Add salt as you like
  9. Add basil
  10. Mix the pasta with the tomatoes

That’s it!!! I told you it was easy 🙂 🙂

Rocket and walnut pesto

I love rocket, I use it almost every day as a side or to decorate my main dishes: it is colorful, pretty to see, and it has a lovely sharp taste. I think that combined with gnocchi and their soft, delicate texture, we have a fantastic match, that guarantees little effort with excellent results 🙂

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • Rocket, 70 g
  • Basil, 10 leaves
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Parmesan grated, 100 g
  • Olive oil, 100 ml
  • Walnuts, 60 g plus some to decorate
  • Gnocchi 500g
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Recipe:

  1. Wash the rocket
  2. Peel the garlic
  3. Put the rocket, oil, parmesan, garlic and walnuts in a blender
  4. Add salt and pepper
  5. Put the cream in the fridge until the gnocchi are ready
  6. Cook the gnocchi and drain them
  7. Mix the gnocchi with the cream
  8. Add some walnuts to decorate

Enjoy!!

Spaghetti with squid ink

This recipe is a delicacy very common in Sicily. It has a very peculiar taste and appearance, and you either love or hate it!

I would suggest, for the first time, to ask your fisherman to help you out during the cleaning process, but if you feel confident you can just follow the steps below 🙂

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • Squids, 2
  • Tomato sauce, 200ml
  • Tomato paste, 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Spaghetti 320g
  • White wine, 1 glass
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley

Recipe:

  1. Clean the squid, peel it, take off the bone in the middle, cut the eyes and the middle part. Take the sachet containing the ink, being careful to not cut it (if you have a fisherman that can help you with this process, I would ask them the first time). Rinse well. Leave them to drain
  2. Cut the garlic very finely
  3. Put some oil in the pan and when it is warm add the garlic
  4. Cut the squid in slices
  5. Add the squid in the pan
  6. Add the wine and let it evaporate
  7. Add the tomato sauce
  8. In a mug, melt the tomato paste in with some warm water, then add it to the pan
  9. Add salt and pepper and let everything cook for 20 minutes
  10. In the meantime cook the spaghetti
  11. Break the sachet and add the ink, being careful to not stain your hands
  12. Mix until the sauce become black
  13. Add some parsley
  14. When the spaghetti are ready, drain them and put them in the black sauce, stirring until they become black
  15. Add some parsley to decorate!

I really hope you will try this recipe, I know it is very unusual but it might become your favourite dish!

Pasta speciale

After making your grocery shopping or your planned meals, do you ever end up having one random vegetable, that is too small to be a main meal and too much as a side? This is my never ending story with peppers 🙂 I do love them, I always get some during my grocery shopping and after I prepare my planned meals I ALWAYS end up with one single pepper. So I came up with this recipe, as usual it is very easy and delicious!

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • Red pepper, 1
  • Spring onion, 2
  • Chilli pepper, 1
  • Black olives, 10-15
  • Olive oil
  • Pasta 160g
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Recipe:

  1. Cut and de-seed the pepper
  2. Add some oil in a pan and heat it
  3. Add the pepper
  4. In the meantime, cut the chilli
  5. Add the chilli in the pan
  6. Cut the onion
  7. When the peppers are almost wrinkly add the onion and leave it for 2-3 minutes
  8. In the meantime cook the pasta
  9. Cut the olives in slices
  10. Add the olives in the pan and turn the heat off
  11. Add salt and pepper
  12. When the pasta is ready, drain it
  13. Add the pasta in the pan

Enjoy!