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Viva Italy

I think of Italy. I think of small cars, lots of traffic circles, the coast of Sicily, Tuscany, Olive trees, Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Amalfi coast, old men with mustaches, tall sexy Italian girls and grumpy old grannies with lots of wrinkles … making pizza and screaming orders!  Yeah!

Back to reality …. in a beautiful space in Parow North, Cape Town, we pretended to be in Italy for a momento, … while our Italian Stallions were playing outside with the Bambino’s!

The dish we made consist of …, lots of fresh ingredients put together to create the ultimate Italian masterpiece that even Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo would be proud of.  Capiche!

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Fresh Homemade Pasta (Jamie Oliver’s basic fresh egg pasta)

Ingredients:

6 Large Eggs

600 g Flour

Method:

Put the flour in a large wide bowl.  Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it.  Beat the eggs with a fork until it’s smooth.  Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined.

Knead the pieces together until it is a big smooth piece of dough.  Now you need to start kneading!!!  This is no joke…. I have new respect for the Italians doing this the old fashion way without the Kitchen Aid or Kenwood.  I am seriously saving up for one!  You will know when it is ready – smooth and silky.  It took me about 5 to 7 minutes to knead.  Wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge to let it rest for half an hour.

I like to use a pasta machine, it’s a comfort zone thing.  Dust your work surface with some flour, take a piece of pasta dough and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the piece of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all.

Every time you just click one number down and roll the dough through the machine until you reached the number one setting. Now the dough should be nice and thin. Then you will use the spaghetti setting.  Just keep the flour close to dust the pasta so it doesn’t stick together.  You can either hang it, but I just lay it on a piece of baking sheet.

I just love this recipe!!!!  So easy and very delicious!

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Fresco Herb Pesto

Ingredients:

30g                       Fresh Spinach (swiss chard or baby)

1                            Clove garlic

30g                       Fresh basil leaves

1                            A hand full of Almonds, roasted & skin on

30g                       Fresh coriander leaves

2                            Fresh chilies, with pips (red or green- depending on your guts)

A sprinkle of salt and pepper & squeeze of lemon juice

250ml                   Olive oil

 

Method:

What I really love about this pesto is that you can literally get rid of all your ‘’not so fresh looking ‘’ herbs in your fridge.  You don’t have to stick with the herbs as mentioned above.  You can mix and match what you have.  If you add mint, you can serve this with middle eastern flavours.  Adding Rosemary/ Thyme can be lovely to serve with steak/ pork chops.

The method is basically to mix everything together until it looks like a pesto. This is great to keep in the freezer and can last up to about 3 months.  Don’t get a fright if the pesto ‘’sets’’ in the fridge – it is only because the olive oil solidifies below 6 degrees.  Just leave it outside for 20 minutes or mix with hot pasta or dish on top of something hot.

 

Pomodoro sauce

Ingredients:

35ml                     Olive oil

Onion, finely chopped

Cloves garlic, finely chopped

20g                       Tomato paste

15g                       Brown sugar

10g                       Salt

2g                          Black pepper

100ml                   Water

2                            Cans Chopped tomato

1                            Tablespoon cake flour mixed with water to form a paste

50ml                     Cream

Method:

Heat olive oil in a pot and add onions.  Fry until cooked and caramelized.  Add garlic, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and black pepper and fry on medium heat for another 10 minutes.  Add water and chopped tomato and simmer at low heat for 20 minutes.  Add flour mix (this is only to thicken) and cream.  Cook for another minute (only for the starch to cook).

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