A lovely new pasta recipe book caught my eye recently, The Long and the Short of Pasta. It’s written by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi owners of Caffe’ Caldesi in London and the Marylebone La Cucina Caldesi cooking school and of course, it’s all about pasta. How to make it from scratch and some delicious recipes to try.
An initial flick through the book shows recipes accompanied with lovely photos, not just of the food but shots of Italy, Italians and images you can expect to see wandering the streets of the country. In fact, the recipes are from all over Italy, Tuscany, Rome, Sicily and more of my favourite places.
Fresh pasta is something I have yet to master. Mum did suggest we make some on our last trip to Sardegna and we did buy all of the ingredients but you know what it’s like when you’re on holiday, we never got around to it. However, the how-to in the Caldesi recipe book is very easy to follow accompanied by some very inspiring images. One day I promise, I’ll give it a go. WAtch this space…
Then, there are plenty of wonderful sauces to use on your pasta – fresh or dried. I couldn’t decide at first but in the end, I decided to go with an old favourite of mine – Pasta alla Checca or Pasta with raw sauce. Don’t be alarmed at the ‘raw’, it’s all perfectly edible and in fact, is a recipe from Rome used by families to celebrate the arrival of summer. The sauce has cherry tomatoes, capers, olives, basil (my kitchen smells divine!) and mozzarella. It uses garlic and chilli too and is finished off with ricotta cheese
Pasta alla Checca
- 320g spaghetti,
- 200g cherry tomatoes halved,
- 1 garlic clove,
- 20g capers
- 100g whole green olives stones removed and chopped
- 125g mozzarella cut into 2cm cubes,
- olive oil (extra virgin)
- salt and freshly ground pepper,
- handful of basil leaves,
- 100g ricotta
- Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of well-salted water until al dente.
- Meanwhile, mix the tomatoes, garlic, capers, olives, chilli, mozzarella and oil in a large bowl.
- Add the cooked, drained spaghetti and toss all of the ingredients well.
- Season well and add the basil.
- Serve with spoonfuls of ricotta on top.
Gluten-free fans will be pleased to know that Giancarlo is also gluten intolerant and has spent a long (very long) time developing the perfect gluten-free pasta recipe which can be used for cut ribbons, stuffed and shaped pasta.
Other recipes I want to try out include Semolina gnocchi, (one of my favourites off the hotel menu when I lived in Italy) Linguine with seafood, Lamb ragu with spices and Sicilian ragu. As far as the fresh pasta is concerned, I’m going to start with some ravioli.
Disclosure: I was sent a book for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own.
Find lots more of my Italian recipes on the blog.