Yesterday, Rhonda posted about how she's sick.
Yup, you guessed it. I am, too. Of course, I am certain it's because I recently spent over 11 hours in airplanes (not counting the downtime in airports) on Monday, returning from Italy.
I'd planned to use today's post to give a recap of my time at the International Women's Fiction Festival, which took place in Matera, Italy last week. But since I've gotten home, I've basically done nothing but sleep and go to work, so I haven't even gotten a chance to download my pictures, or even really think carefully about my erperience.
So I'm putting that off until next week. What can I post about today?
I think I'll just give some yummy recipes for food I had during my trip to Italy. Enjoy!
Orrechiette con ricotta e canella (Pasta with ricotta and cinnamon)
Yes, this one sounds weird, but trust me, it's delicious!
1 pound (450 g) fresh orrechiette pasta
12 ounces (335 g) fresh ricotta
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Set a large pot of cold water to boil. When it reaches a full boil, add a pinch of salt. When the water returns to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. One minute before the orrechiette are supposed to be done, taste one and decide for yourself how much longer to cook it.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Traditionally, in Italy, they would make their own tomato sauce, but to be simple here, just use a ready-made, good quality tomato sauce. Or you can make your own sauce if you want. Your choice.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain in a colander but leave a little hot water clinging to the orrechiette. Transfer to the red sauce, toss well, and serve immediately in 6 to 8 bowls. Top each bowl with a generous dollop of ricotta, and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. This serves 6-8 as a first course (or 3-4 as a main course).
Orrechiette e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
This is very traditional to the Basilicata region, where the conferece was held in Matera. It's also served in Puglia and in Calabria. You can use penne if you can't find orrechiette. Of course, they make the pasta fresh there.
250 g chick peas
Leave the chick peas in water to soften up to 12 hours. Then boil them in water along with a laurel leaf to add flavor. Lightly fry the garlic and tomatoes, which have previously been boiled in olive oil, then add the chick peas and salt, to taste. Boil the pasta, drain, and pour over the other ingredients. Serves 6-8 as a first course, or 3-4 as a main course.
Lagane (fresh pasta in long strips)
400 g wholemeal flour
Prepare a pasta by mixing flour, water, and salt. Fashion into a very thin crust. Cut the pasta into fettucine pieces around 2 centimeters long to form the "lagane". Boil these pieces to cook as you would any other pasta, just until al dente.
Salsiccia all'uva (Sausages with grapes)
Yes, this sounds strange, but our hosts in the Umbria region insisted that we try it. Wow, am I in love with this combo now!
1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh Italian sausage
4 cups seedless grapes
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, to taste
Place sausages in a 10- or 12-inch skiller, and turn heat to medium. Cook sausages, turning from time to time, about 15 minutes. When they are brown all over, prick each sausage and cook for 5 minutes more.
Remove sausages to a warm platter. If more than a tablespoon or two of fat remains in the plan, remove excess. Add grapes, and turn heat to medium high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the grapes collapse. Add vinegar or lemon juice, stir, and turn off the heat. Serve sausages nestled in grapes along with a hunk of crusty bread. Serves 4 as a main course.