Pasta with Broccoli | Orecchiette ai Broccoli


Pasta with broccoli. Normally  I eat this pasta in Rome and it’s then served with ‘broccoletti’, not broccoli. Broccoletti is a slightly different version of broccoli mostly famous in Rome. The easiest way to describe the difference: it’s a smaller and finer version of the standard broccoli. The taste is also slightly more ‘green’. To be honest I find it just as good as using the standard broccoli. Where I live they sell broccoletti per 5 branches for a ridiculous price so that helped convincing 😉 The pasta itself comes from the region of Puglia, southern Italy. The pasta shape reminds you of a little ear and that’s also why this pasta is called ‘orecchiette’.

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Pasta | Pumpkin Ravioli


Ravioli di….Zucca! One of our top ten favorite dishes of all-time: Ravioli di Zucca. The first time I ate these tortelli of pumpkin, was in a restaurant called Alla Borsa. This restaurant is situated in the North of Italy: Valleggio sul Mincio near the Garda Lake. It has a simply and very traditional feel inside. Their menu is amazing and basically everything is tasty and ofcourse made by hand.

The day has come to try and replicate this fantastic dish so full of flavor. The last time we were at the restaurant we asked the cook what made the filling of this pasta so special. The most important ingredient besides the obvious pumpkin and amaretti is the mostarda di Mantova: condiment of candied apples in a mustard syrup. As I have not been able to find this in local shops in The Netherlands I’ve used apple compote. This will have major impact on the final taste. As this recipe is time consuming I would prefer to buy some ready made in Italy. If I catch the winter blues I might consider to make the mostarda in a bigger quantity and preserve it.

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Pasta | Potato Dumplings Gnocchi


Thursday is Gnocchi Day in Rome Let’s enjoy some pasta made from potatoes!

Gnocchi is the plural of Gnoccho which are little potato dumplings. The documentation on the potato dumplings dates back to the 14th Century. This dish is cheap to make, so in the olden days it was a popular dish to prepare at the end of the month when there would hardly be any money left.

There are many food oriented festivals in Italy. The gnocchi are also celebrated. Every year the last day of the carnival in Verona is dedicated to ‘Baccanal del Gnoco’/Festival of Gnocchi. Besides all the meal is tasty and also filling: great comfort food! A very accessible dish to the ordinary cook. Gnocchi can be served with a wide variety of sauces. As shown in the photograph, this is a simple version with a  sage and butter sauce. Continue reading

Pasta | Oven Pasta Dish


Pasta di Semola di Grano Duro. Since 1947. On the fields of gold in Umbria, high quality wheat is harvested to make a fantastic pasta from the brand Filiberto Bianconi. For this dish I’ve used durum wheat pasta in the shape of a flower. The shape is in fact the symbol of Florence: Giglio. It’s a pretty pasta with a full taste because the pieces are short and fat. The combination of eggs, spinach and pasta is my favourite dish of success. It’s colourful, tasty and looks beautiful on  your plate. Besides the look, spinach also  contains high quantities of  antioxidants and is a rich source of iron.

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Pasta | Red Sauce, Sugo di Mamma

Red sauce, pasta sauce, sugo

Traditional Italian tomato sauce to beautify your pasta Che Buon Sugo!

This sauce is made in every Italian family kitchen. It’s surprisingly simple: the key is getting hold of the right ingredients. I taught myself how to reproduce this sauce by watching my friend in Rome making it time after time. The smell of the sauce fills the room with homey fumes!

If you are planning to make the fresh tagliatelle, you can already prepare the sugo in the afternoon. A few notes on the ingredients:

Grow your own basilico, use tasty extra virgin olive oil. Buy the tomatoes at a local market instead of in the supermarket.

  • Tomatoes I find that the smaller tomatoes you use, the tastier. A good example are the so called honey tomatoes.
  • Olive oil We use Capano olio from our family in the South of Italy. There are many varieties on sale. Make sure you take one that has a rich taste.

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