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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Concluding my Italian adventure this year with this amazing pasta dish in Sicilian flavour notes



Now that the Italian Cuisine World Summit 2015 is behind us, I am reflecting on my whole Italian adventure this year, which kicked off with a road trip in Italy and concluded on November 6th with the end of the summit. So I am posting my recipe for this fantastic pasta dish that reflects the key flavour notes of the one area that I still have not visited and looking forward to the most. An area I have been learning loads about and one worthy of my fully focused attention: The Sicilian region. I had learned that anchovies, black olives, tomatoes, onions...  are key flavour notes to the Sicilian kitchen, all are flavours I love and therefore have combined into this pasta dish that is inspired by one that I have enjoyed in one of the communal dinners I had the pleasure to be part of when I was in Florence.

This is a seriously good pasta dish that you guys are going to love, it is decadent and very easy to prepare, also very fast, which comes in handy especially when you have a period where you are very pressed with time. I am focusing more and more on meatless cooking, as I have recently read that red meats are believed to be associated with increasing the chances of developing cancer tumours, but also because consuming so much meat is not the best practice for your body nor does it help the case of sustainability or the environment. And while this has a very small amount of anchovies therefore not exactly vegan, it is a very conscious dish where the environment is involved, and this of course is guaranteed when your choices for pasta, tomatoes and other ingredients are conscious and thoughtful choices. Why not? This earth is ours to give back to and be grateful for.

Before I run into the prep and the recipe let me share you some of my latest news.
DS Organic Mooneh Essentials
It is a matter of days for the farmers' market season to kick off in Dubai and it is the season I love the most. Yes because the weather is gentler on all of us, and outdoors are again an option, but mostly because this is the season for fantastic local flavours to spread on our tables. And as you may already know, it is the season when I produce the products for my Organic Mooneh Essentials, which are seasonal organic foodstuffs that are made during the season and sold at the farmers' market on the terrace. I also have some other organic mooneh items that are made using the seasonal produce of this region, as you know while Dubai generously gives us produce, there are missing ones that a pantry is never complete without. Like my small batch organic extra virgin olive oil (produce of Jordan) and the hand made Organic Zaatar Mix that I am introducing this season which is made following my family's ancient recipe (also the produce of Jordan), the revenue of which is going to support 5 Palestinian families in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. (I will dedicate a post for these in the coming few days).
So I am hoping that I will see you at the market, and have you taste these fabulous, honest, made with love products and hopefully like them enough to fill your pantry with them :)

DS Cookbook
We are still in the final phase, how I hate how things take forever here to be finished, especially when the delay is not mine nor in my control! But this book has a life of its own, as I had come to learn and I had promised myself to enjoy the journey not just the destination, and so I am. It is very near, because it really is done! But you know books get reviewed and approved and am waiting for mine to be done with that. As soon as it is, it will be sent from my heart to your hands and I honestly can hardly wait.
Good news is, it is going to be soft launched at the ProChef Awards this November 11th!!! so if you have made it to the list of that party, then you will get to see it and know it closer :)) After that it will be a few weeks and in your homes  (I hope) :))

DS Latest Video Recipe
I had recently shot a video with Al Alali for a lasagne recipe with a twist, where I used lasagne sheets and rolled them similar to a cannelloni and filled the with a pumpkin and walnut filling, cooked them in a parmesan sauce and served them with a balsamic reduction! I am telling you it is to die for!! As agreed by the 7+ people who tasted the dish that day! watch the video and see how I made it, then really try it because it is fantastic. The video is both in Arabic and English so all of you will enjoy it.




Now here is the Pasta recipe for the top picture in this post

Fidelline or Fettuccine  with Sundried Tomatoes, Anchovies & Olives
Serves 4
 
Ingredients:
Fideline or Fettuccine Pasta 
400 g sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped.
100 g baby plum tomatoes, peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
2 tbsp baby capers, rinsed
¼ cup pitted, and halved black olives
1 small bunch basil, use only the leaves and break them by hand

¼ cup olive oil
Salt & Black pepper to taste
Parmesan Shavings for garnish

Method

Cook the pasta until al dente.

In the meantime prepare the tomato sauce.
·      Place the olive oil and crushed garlic in a medium sauce pan and sauté until the garlic starts to brown.
·      Add the halved baby plum tomatoes and sauté stirring and pressing the tomatoes to release their juice. Carry out for 3 minutes.

·      Season with salt and black pepper and add the sundried tomatoes and stir to mix. Continue to cook stirring often until the tomatoes are all soft.

·      Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate, add a little water if the sauce appears too dry.
·      Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat.

·      Stir in the capers, anchovies, olives. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
·      Fold in the broken basil leaves, reserving some for garnish.

Fold the cooked pasta into the tomato sauce and make sure to coat all very well.
Plate and sprinkle with the reserved fresh basil leaves and parmesan shavings.


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