Maccheroncelli with Guanciale al Brandy Sugo

 

Fancy some quick pasta lunch? Try this recipe, it’s very tasty and prepared in less than 30 minutes, unless you want to let simmer the sugo for some longer for even more taste!
Ingredients for 2 persons:
300gr Pancetta (not our cat Pancy of course!), I used Guanciale aged in brandy. Basically any type of greasy bacon works.
300-400ml canned tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
2 spring onions
Small tin of peas
Oregano, Thym, Salt, Pepper, spicy olive oil, chilli flakes, bay leaves
500gr Pasta, me: Rummo Maccheroncelli
In a deep pan, fry the Pancetta without adding oil. When slightly brown, add garlic and onion, stir fry for 2-3 minutes, add 1-2 teaspoons of the spiced oil, thym and oregano.
Now add the Tomatoes and the salt, pepper, bay leaves and chilli flakes. Stir well. Add the peas and let simmer on low heat.
Meanwhile, boil water in a pan, add salt and the pasta, cook as per instructions. Me, usually 2 minutes less to really have them al dente.
Add the pasta to the sugo, stir well and serve. For those who like it, add grated Parmesan cheese. Buon appetito!
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Pasta Casalinga di Grano Duro

Homemade pasta is a real treat, and I thought I am going to spoil my guests tomorrow with a “primo fatto in casa”! The recipe is very simple, it just takes time and patience to do it!

200g flour type 00
150g durum wheat, Grano Duro
3 eggs
1-2tbl spoons native olive oil
1-2tbl spoons water
Salt

I used my Kenwood Chef food processor to do the dough, mixing all ingredients in the bowl at once and let the Chef do the hard work for about 10 minutes until I got a smooth dough. You may have to add a bit more oil or water if it is too dry.
Wrap the dough in a kitchen towel and let rest in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.
Now comes the fun part. I decided to create Tagliatelle. Luckily, I have a pasta maker, meanwhile 20 years old, to create the pasta. The conclusion is: I need a new one as the cutter is no good any more. But it worked with lots of patience.
If you do not have a pasta maker, I would recommend to cut the dough in 8 pieces and roll it as thin as possible with a rolling pin, then cut it in Tagliatelle with a very sharp knife.
Since I do not have one of those fancy pasta-dryers, I used my laundry rack to hang and dry the Tagliatelle.
They will now hang in a cool and dry place until tomorrow. I will cook them in boiling salted water until they are al dente. 3-4 minutes maximum.
And now, I have to think about which Sugo goes best with the Tagliatelle:-)
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The unknown Sardinia

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What is the best thing that can happen to you when travelling? For me, it is being embraced by locals, who wrap their arms around me, accept me like an old friend and show me the beauties of their land. Happened so on my last trip! I am endlessly thankful, having spent a wonderful and carefree week, I would say, I had a trip back to my roots. Appreciating the simple things in life, friendship, love, nature, a down to earth trip. We were invited to join the Aresu’s for different culinary and nature excursions. Firstly, an outstanding fish meal at a beach bar. Never ever would I have expected that the chef can do those miracles in his tiny shack kitchen! Absolutely amazing what he presented, freshest seafood and pasta…I just let the pictures speak for themselves

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After that, all we needed was a nap @ the beach. Somewhere between Villasimíus and Muravera. Not sure if I want to disclose the name. Ask me, if you plan to go, I might tell you:-)

Next day, we were invited to go to the mercato in Muravera and traditional Pollo Pranzo. The market is not huge, but offers all you need, summer clothes, flip flops, vegetables, fruit, dried meat, amazing honey and…the Pollo. Chicken from the roast, stuffed with Mirtó leaves. Wow, together with a bottle of Buio Buio and some salad we had a feast! So totally simple, but extremely tasty.

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We spent the afternoon at Feraxi Beach, we were almost alone, a good opportunity to launch our very own beach party, listening to good old Italian Canzoni, having a blast.

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Tuesday night was time for a Cena Sarda. Now, that meant, no food for at least 24hrs before, because what is served is more than enough to feed a whole army! Traditionally, it starts off with cold cuts and cheeses from the island. Sardinia is known for its different types of Pecorino (Goatcheese), from very young to very ripe we tasted them all….all? Nope, there is one which I was not keen to taste…a specialty containing little worms…actually, that one is not sold officially anylonger…but some families still produce it.

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Then followed two very typical sardinian pasta plates: Malloreddus alla Campidanese, with tomatoe-salsiccia sugo and Culurgiones, a pasta filled with a potatoe-mint mix, just butter and sage added-a dream, and full of tasty calories:-). Then came the masterpiece: a piglet, slowly bbq-ed for endless hours over open fire. Needless to say that we digged in and enjoyed it much! Was that it? Of course not, the meal ended with Pardulas, sweet Ravioli filled with Ricotta and topped with honey. Coffee and Mirtó made the entire meal complete. I thought, there’s no way I can move my body anywhere anymore…the next day was a fruit-only day, no way I could have eaten anything else, I was too full, but a very happy camper! On Thursday, Maya and Cesare invited us to explore Sardinias Hinterland, the very unknown parts of the island. We gladly accepted that invitation. Both had so many interesting stories and facts to tell. A lot reminded me of my parents, how they met, what their struggles were, running an own business and so on. We went to amazing places, visited Cesare’s village Seui, far up in the mountains, bought world’s best Amaretti right there. We saw a lot of wild animals, horses, wild pigs and many more. And, I took a branch of mountain oregano with me, hoping it will now grow on my balcony. Honestly, it doesn’t look good right now, but there’s always hope that it will recover and grow! And Cesare cut a whole bag of fresh wild rosemary for us. Believe it or not, but the wild one smells much more intense than what we grow in our gardens!

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On we went, along beautiful lakes until it was time for lunch. We visited a place which both knew. The guy there did not really expect any guests, but he started to do miracles as well. He loaded our table with delicious antipasti, cut his own ham for us, served his mother-in-laws home made Culurgiones, these were slightly sweet, still with a potatoe-mint filling, yummie. And then, he served us a rare “delicacy”: fermented goat milk in a goat craw. I tasted it but even for me as a cheese lover, that taste was too strong for me. But it looks funny, no doubt. imageimage

We continued on through endless hilly areas, rarely seeing other cars or people, we drove all the way to Arbatax where we stopped to admire young boys jumping from the famous Red Rocks. On we went along the coast, abundantely covered with vegetation, mainly vineyards, citrus fruits and vegetables. What a beautiful island this is. Not only the emerald colored water and white sandy beaches make Sardinia worth a visit. A deeper look into its inland and history is absolutely worthwile!

Other recommendations:

Boutique Hotel S’Arenada, Villasimíus. Alessandra treats you like a member of the family, beautiful rooms, nice balconies to enjoy the night sky, freshly baked sweet treats for breakfast! A gem! image

La Capanna al fresco dining Villasimíus, absolutely delicious and freshest raw seafood and an owner who knows what hospitality is all about:

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Arcada Wine&Restaurant Villasimíus, serving very nice seafood, fish and pasta.

Beach Life: Is Fradis Beach Club, a little bit like Miami Beach, beautiful beach, cozy Gazebos, great food

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Our wines: Terre Brune, Santadi. Buio Buio, Cantina Mesa.
Our drinks: Mirtó, Montenegro, Aperol Sprizz, Ichnusa Birra, Crodino

about Mirtó:

Mirto is a liqueur popular in Sardinia, Capraia Island and in Corsica, obtained from the myrtle plant through the alcoholic maceration of the berries or a compound of berries and leaves. Myrtle grows freely in Sardinia.

Mirto rosso (red) is made with the berries and is sweet.

Mirto bianco (white) is made from the leaves.

Chitarrine ai carciofi isilino style

Not only did I get bear garlic at the farmer’s market, I also bought a few cute little artichokes, the small purple carciofini.
They can be prepared in different ways, I decided to make them with pasta.
So I cleaned the little devils, removed the outer tough leaves, cut them in half and did squeeze some lemon juice on them so that they do not turn brown.
In a pan, I heated my wonderful olive oil de Provence and added the artichokes and a few fresh garlic gloves. I did stir them until they started to get a brownish color, then I added 50g of bacon cubes and continued to fry the mix for 2-3 minutes.Then, in a glass I mixed about 1 tbl spoon of tomatoe puree with 2dl water and added that to the pan….careful, it may splash all around your kitchen..well, it did in mine:-)
I added salt, pepper and of course my Cretan Oregano, then lowered the temperature to a minimum, covered the pan and let simmer the artichokes for 10 minutes. I did add some more water, just to make sure they would really turn soft and not remain hard and bitter.
In a separate pan I did bring water to boil, added salt and the Chitarrine (kind of Spaghetti), of course, any other type goes too. And, never ever add oil to the water in which you cook your pasta, this is a no-go!!
After 5 minutes the pasta was perfectly cooked al dente, I drained the water and put the pasta into a large bowl, I added some chopped fresh italian parsley to the artichokes and topped the Chitarrine with them.
This is really a fast and simple recipe, and it is really very tasty!

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Fry artichokes with olive oil and garlic. Don’t buy cheap olive oil, extra native has its price but is worth it. It just tastes much better

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The pasta is close to “al dente” and the veggies ready.

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Et voilà…simple, fast, tasty.

My wine recommendation to accompany this dish:

Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggiale di Castellare