Spaghetti Palermo

 

Spaghetti Palermo

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

A few years ago, I worked at an Italian restaurant in the South of Spain, and they used to serve this beautiful pasta dish called Spaghetti Palermo; it was my absolute favourite dish of the whole menu and was my first encounter with pasta that didn’t have any sauce to speak of, before then I was used to  either the “tomatoey” or the creamy sauces smothered all over the pasta.

After so many years of tweaking the recipe, I am no longer sure what the original dish was like… mmm definitely had garlic, anchovies, black olives and fresh tomato… I guess the rest of the recipe has been maturing over the years.

Spaghetti Palermo

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

I like making this pasta on the weekends, when I am trying to avoid a mad dash to the take-away shop (I have time it, it takes exactly the same amount of time to order and pick up the take-away than to make this pasta; no word of a lie!) I have sometimes used anchovy paste instead of anchovies (it comes in tubes, like the tomato paste) and it works well, because anyway, all you do with the anchovies is to reduce them to a pulp; even the open tub will last for a fairly long time in the fridge due to its salt content. A little bit goes a long way, and you can use it as well to add that savoury moreish touch to stuffings and casseroles and you won’t even notice any fishy taste at all, I promise.

Make this pasta your next weekend favourite!

Spaghetti Palermo

SPAGHETTI PALERMO

Yield: 4 Servings

SPAGHETTI PALERMO

Ingredients

  • 320 g (10 oz) dried spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 160 g ((5 oz) red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 12 anchovies in oil, drained
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 200 g (7 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved (or chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • To serve
  • Grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions

  1. Cook spaghetti in lightly salted boiling water (you can add a stock cube to the water to enrich pasta flavour) following packet directions until just tender. Drain well (reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water) dress pasta with a little olive oil to avoid spaghetti from sticking together. Keep hot
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add anchovies and sugar; cook until anchovies have almost dissolved in the oil
  3. Add tomato paste and oregano; cook for about 1 minute. Add fresh tomato, sliced black olives and capers; cook stirring until tomato starts to soften
  4. Stir in reserved cooking water from the pasta and drained spaghetti. Stir to combine all ingredients
  5. Serve spaghetti immediately with some black pepper, Parmesan cheese and torn basil leaves
http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/spaghetti-palermo/

Spiced Pumpkin and Coconut Milk Soup

Spiced Pumpkin & Coconut milk Soup

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

And winter is finally here… I have already posted another 2 soups in the last couple of months, promising winter was on its way… (Any excuse is good to make soup :0) and finally it’s official, I do not need any more excuses for whipping up a batch of comforting heart-warming soup! I am entitled to slurp on my favourite soup whenever I feel like!! Yuuppiiii! With the added bonus that they are normally choker with fresh veggies, yes!

You are going to love this spiced pumpkin and coconut milk soup; if you have had a long day, this soup will just hit the spot. Pumpkin always manages to lend a velvety texture to soups and it gets on ridiculously well with the curry spices, that brighten up the pumpkin’s day a little, because let’s face it, pumpkin can be a little “meh” if left on its own devices.

The Spices together with the pumpkin put a good show and a dollop of yogurt to serve is a refreshing touch. For extra oomph, sprinkle some spiced pepitas (pumpkin seeds) … aaahhh hands down, best thing about winter… beloved soups… (Although I know somebody from Canada that couldn’t wait for winter…. Nahhhh… that will never happen to a Spaniard! Never ever… already making plans for Spring… but for the time being… slurping soup in front of the fire while I see the leaves fall, is as good as it gets!)

SPICED PUMPKIN AND COCONUT MILK SOUP

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

SPICED PUMPKIN AND COCONUT MILK SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 small red chilies (no seeds) chopped - optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon mild curry powder
  • 1 big potato, peeled & cubed
  • 600 g (1.3 lb) pumpkin, peeled & cut in chunks
  • 400 ml (just over 1+1/2 cups) coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-6 tablespoons thick Greek yogurt, to serve
  • spiced pepitas, to serve - optional
  • Spiced Pepitas
  • 50 g (1.7 oz) pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pinch each garlic salt, ground cumin & coriander
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion stirring until soft. Add ginger, garlic & chili, cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Stir in spices, cook until fragrant (about 1 minute)
  2. Add potato and pumpkin to the pan with the stock and coconut milk, combine and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer covered for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Cool 10 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, cook pepitas and set aside to cool slightly
  4. Blend soup using your immersion blender until smooth and velvety
  5. Ladle soup into serving bowls; top with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with reserved spiced pepitas
  6. Spiced Pepitas: heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat, stir in the rest of the ingredients; cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally (you can serve this pepitas sprinkled on your salads too, for added crunch and a punch of flavor)
http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/spiced-pumpkin-coconut-milk-soup/

 Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver