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Talking Italian

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Made in minutes with just a few basic ingredients, these classic pasta dishes are simply delizioso

Photos courtesy of stock.adobe.com

Spaghetti Carbonara (Serves 4)

3 large eggs
50g pecorino cheese, grated
50g parmesan cheese, grated
350g dried spaghetti
2 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
100g pancetta, chopped
50g unsalted butter

Beat the eggs and stir in the grated cheeses, keeping a handful back for garnish. Simmer the spaghetti in salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente. While the spaghetti is cooking, squash the garlic with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it.

Fry the pancetta and garlic in the butter until slightly crisp. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so you can discard it. Keep the heat under the pancetta on low. When the pasta is ready, lift it from the water and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta.

Remove the pan from the heat, and quickly pour in the eggs and cheese. Coat the pasta with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with black pepper and the remaining cheese.

Spaghetti Vongole (Serves 4)

1kg small clams, scrubbed clean
15g fresh parsley, chopped
400g dried spaghetti
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1-2 dried red chillies
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
250ml white wine

Sort through the clams and if there are any that aren’t tightly closed, give them a sharp tap. If they don’t close, throw them away. Slice the parsley stalks, then put them to one side and roughly chop the leaves.

Simmer the spaghetti in salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente. About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, fry the garlic and parsley stalks in the olive oil.

Crumble in the dried chilli and add the chopped tomatoes. Stir constantly and just as the garlic starts to colour, add the clams and wine. Shake the pan and put the lid on it.

Keep shuffling the pan around until most of the clams have opened – about 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. Get rid of any clams that haven’t opened.

Drain the pasta and add it to the clams along with the parsley leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir for a further minute or two and serve immediately.

Tagliatelle al Limone (Serves 4)

Melt the butter and gently fry the garlic and crumbled chilli. Grate the lemons, discarding the tough white skin. Slice the ham and add it to the pan. Heat gently and then add the lemon rind and cream.

Simmer uncovered for just under an hour. Heat a large pan of water and when it comes to the boil throw in the tagliatelle. Drain immediately – you are not cooking the pasta at this stage. Add the pasta to the cream sauce and cook gently until al dente.

Season and stir in a little lemon juice or additional cream if the sauce has become too thick. Garnish with chopped parsley to serve.

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