150g Fresh homemade herb pasta, cut into tagliatelle
1 leek, trimmed, halved and cut into fine
1 carrot, topped and tailed, cut into fine dice
8 asparagus spears, woody stems removed and stalk peeled
1 courgette, topped and tailed, cut into fine strips
50g frozen peas
50g frozen broad beans
125ml white wine
salt and pepper
a pinch of torn basil
a pinch of torn parsley
juice of half a lemon
slice of lemon
350g tipo 00 pasta flour
2 large eggs
6 large egg yolks
Mixed fresh herb leaves, such as basil, dill, flat-leaf parsley, marjoram.
Pearl barley is a delicious substitute for rice and makes amazing, risotto like dishes.
2 duck breasts trimmed
For the risotto
225g pearl barley
150ml chicken stock
1 onion, fine diced
110g pancetta, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 thyme sprig, leaves only
120ml red wine
(1). Put the pearl barley in a pan, add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until tender, topping up the stock if necessary.
(2). Pan seal your duck breast in a hot pan, render down the fat and seal then turn over and place in pre-heated oven to cook through.
(3). Melt the butter in a large frying pan or wok and gently saute the onion, and pepper for 5 minutes. Add the pancetta, and fry on a higher heat for 5 more minutes.
(4). Add the garlic, most of the thyme leaves and wine. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
(5). Remove duck from oven, rest for 5 minutes then carve.
(6). Drain the pearl barley thoroughly and stir it into the other ingredients, making sure it’s piping hot. Serve immediately, with duck sliced laid on top and some cooking juices from the duck spooned over the top, garnished with a few thyme sprigs.
4 large scallops (removed from their shell)
2 courgettes,cut in to match sticks
2 plum tomatoes,finely chopped
chopped flat leaf parsley
4 basil leaves
1 red chilli, sliced
1 garlic clove finely sliced
3tbsp olive oil
(1). Heat a pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil and the garlic. Cook gently for a minute, then add the courgettes and a sprinkle of sea salt. Cook for five minutes so the courgettes become soft and have a little colour.
(2). Add the plum tomatoes and some basil. Turn down the heat and cook for a further five minutes so the tomato reduces and thickens.
(3). Mix the scallops in a bowl with salt, pepper, olive oil so the are completely covered. Heat a frying pan so it is really hot. Add the scallops to the hot pan so they get a crust then turn over.
(4). Cook for one minute and remove the pan from the heat. Add a dash of olive oil the chopped parsley capers and red chilli.
(5). Spoon the courgettes and tomato on to a plate then place the scallops on top with the chilli capers and parsley on each scallop.
This dishes just screams of southern Italy, a combination of seafood, chilli, tomatoes and basil couldn’t be more southern Italian if it tried.
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
400g baby octopus, cleaned and cut into small pieces
A good splash of white wine
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
4 tbsp tomato sauce
4 slices Italian bread, toasted
(1). Heat your olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and chillies, and gently fry for a minute or two without colouring.
(2). Add the octopus and fry for few minutes, turning once, until white and sealed.
(3). Pour in the wine and simmer briskly to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
(4). Add the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the basil leaves and simmer for 2 minutes more.
(5). Place some octopus and the sauce in the middle of each plate. Drizzle with olive oil.
(6). Set the toasted bread on the side and serve.
Ciabatta is a very popular Italian bread. The recipe below shows the Italian method of making ciabatta, it may seem like a long drawn out process, but believe me it’s worth it.
For the starter
250g ’00’ flour
For the bread
250g ’00’ flour
(1). To make the starter, mix the flour with the water in a bowl and add the yeast. Whisk for three minutes and leave to rise overnight or for atleast eight hours.
(2). Next day, add the rest of the flour and yeast to the starter and mix to a dough.
(3). Add the rest of the water, little by little, to the bread mixture.
(4). When almost all the water has been added, add the salt to the last of the water and mix together for a further five minutes, until a sticky dough is formed.
(5). Place the dough into a large oiled bowl and leave to prove for an hour.
(6). Turn the dough out on to a heavily floured (ideally polenta flour or semolina) then gently in the flour till coated and leave to rest for a further 30 minutes (the coating of course flour will help stop the dough spreading during cooking).
(7). Preheat the oven to 240 centigrade/ Gas mark 8.
Gently place the dough onto a oiled baking sheet and shape into a flat ciabatta loaf shape.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.
Remove and cool on a wire rack.