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Spaghetti With Bottarga & Tomatoes
Cook the pasta in enough salted boiling water as per the instructions on the packet – you will want to remove them one to two minutes before they are cooked “al dente” as you will finish them off in the pan.
While the pasta is cooking, gently heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic clove.
Cook until it just begins to colour and discard; now raise the heat, add the diced tomatoes and the bottarga and cook for one to two minutes. When the pasta is ready, turn the heat on the pan and add to the spaghetti along with a little of the cooking water and toss vigorously until the sauce is nicely incorporated.
Veal Stew with Wild Mushrooms
Clean the mushrooms and roughly slice them, if they are on the small side cutting them in half will do. In a large casserole heat on medium flame about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the same quantity of butter, when the butter stops foaming raise the heat and add the veal roast. Cook on all sides until it colours, then remove and set aside.
Lower the heat back to medium and add the shallots which you cook for a few minutes stirring every so often, and then add the garlic which you will cook for a further few minutes stirring to ensure it does not colour. Once the shallot is translucent you can add the mushrooms, some freshly ground black pepper and cook until they just begin to colour on the edges, this will take a while of gentle cooking. During all this time the heat should be moderate – too high will risk burning the garlic or shallots.
Add back the veal roast and any juices which have collected and raise the heat again to high before adding the white wine. Cook for a few minutes to enable some alcohol to evaporate and follow with the chicken stock, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for about 2 to 2 ½ hours until the meat is very tender. At this stage you can cook it uncovered at medium heat to reduce the sauce and thicken it slightly. Serve with vegetables such as potatoes, spinach, chard, pumpkin…
Beetroot Granita with Yoghurt
Heat the water and add the sugar until it is completely dissolved.
In a blender or using a food processor liquefy the beetroot then add the syrup and blend some more to incorporate well.
Place the liquid into a square or rectangular freezer-safe container such as a Tupperware, and place in the freezer.
Every thirty minutes take it out of the freezer and using a fork scrape the ice which will be forming around the edges, on the top and bottom. Do this about 3 to 4 times at thirty minute intervals until you get a coarse texture with no liquid left.
To serve, place in a glass or bowl (clear is better for visual impact) and pour some yoghurt on top.
Wild Mushroom & Black Cabbage Soup
In a large pot heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté gently for a minute or two then add the carrots and leeks and cook until the onion is translucent – about five to seven minutes. Now you can add the mushrooms which should be cleaned and left whole or cut in half along with the thyme. At this time you can gently season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for a good 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables begin to slightly colour along the edges. The cooking must be gentle otherwise you risk burning the smaller pieces.
Raise the heat and if you are using wine add it using it to soften and scrape any caramelisation which has occurred on the bottom of the pan and cook until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the stock cube and about 2 litres of water along with the potatoes and black cabbage. Cook covered at low heat for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Taste and if appropriate cook uncovered as this will concentrate the flavours by reducing the liquid. Adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. When you serve it you can always add a little drizzle of “raw” extra virgin olive oil, or sprinkle with some grated cheese.
As with most home cooking, the techniques are the important element much more than the recipe. Therefore, use any vegetables you have to hand; the same goes for the herbs and spices.