Some days, my hubby shocks the living daylights out of me! Riccardo Tripepi is an Italian – he is an Italian, Italian. He loves ALL things Italian; supports Ferrari, Italian Food, Italian Fashion, Italian Architecture, Italian Art, flag, soccer, coffee, music, hunna… hunna… hunna …. Yakkedy yak! Catch my drift? Basically, he could be described generally as a proto-typical Italian. For they are all the same!!! Actually, I believe and find that there is something very special about owning and being proud of one’s value system, national identity and belief structure.
Try and ignore the debacle that is known as Italian politics for modern Italians are a Nation of followers and not leaders and understand that every Italian that I have ever met – loves being an Italian. We often go to the Italian Club in Durban North for a Sunday lunch. The whole family from the new additions as in babies, girlfriends and kiddies, to the Nonni’s (grandparents) gather to enjoy Italian food, the company of other Italians in the wider community, wine and song – and they LOVE it! It is very satisfying and natural to congregate in common groups where you are totally able to identify with one another and not have to explain behaviours, food, language or differences.
I remember my dear late mother-in-law, Mamma Lilliana coming home to teach me how to make one of Riccardo’s favourite dishes, Polpetone … a meat loaf cooked in lemon & onions and horror of horrors I did not have chicken stock available for the dish ….. Never did that situation arise again – Ever – I tell you!!! The entire cooking process was halted until I could produce chicken stock! Food is one of those ‘Not Negotiable’ parts of Italian life that is the very essence of their existence – it’s like the glue that sticks them all together and is sacrosanct and you just don’t mess with it! Mamma’s recipe is always right! And it is! Why mess with thousands of years of perfection?
So when TrickyRicky asked me to make a pasta sauce with calamari and CHICKEN!!! I really was floored! “CHICKEN?” I asked crossing myself and turning face-down all the frames containing photographs of Nonna lest she hear her blasphemous son from the other side and feel the need to lean in and whack him ….
Times they are a changing!
It’s all good ….
Sugo al Calamari, Polo e Pomodorini Freschi
Calamari, Chicken and Fresh Rosa Tomato Sauce
When you wish to invent your own new recipe it is imperative to just stick to the basic principles of cooking – this way you have every change of success. Keep in mind the end result that you wish to create. This has two components and they are taste and the look of the dish. If you give these some serious consideration you should be fine.
Of course you could make this sauce with only calamari – or only chicken.
Adjust as you wish!
Calamari – tubes cleaned and cut into three small rings Plus tentacles
8 chicken thighs deboned and chopped into 4 and patted dry with a tea towel or some kitchen paper
1 large onion chopped
2 medium sized red chillies – chop with the seeds – if you don’t like too much chilli just add them whole and take them out before serving.
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
600g Rosa tomatoes – cut into quarters
300ml dry white wine
1 chicken stock cube
I must admit that this combination – although being highly untraditional,
actually tasted fab!!! Can you ever?
Heat enough olive oil to just barely cover the bottom of a frying pan –
Add the chopped chicken in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan – lightly
brown and remove to a bowl and cover with a plate
Brown you onion, chilli & garlic – add back the chicken and chopped tomatoes
Add the white wine to the pan and make sure that you scrape all of the nice
caramelised brown bits off the bottom of your pan as this is where all the flavour is hiding.
Cook until the alcohol has all evapourated. How do you know when the alcohol
is all cooked out – just put your face over the frying pan and smell – if there
is still alcohol – you will smell it.
Add the chicken stock cube, black pepper and a cup of water to keep the sauce loose.
Bring to the boil and reduce to a medium to hot (I use setting 7 out of 9)
and let the sauce cook for about 20 minutes.
Now, there are only 2 ways to cook calamari that is tender –
and that’s either for 3 minutes or 3 hours!
So DON’T OVERCOOK it.
Add the calamari to the pan, give it a stir and put the lid on and let it cook at full heat
for about 3 minutes – NO MORE. Give the sauce another stir,
cover it with a lid and switch off the stove and remove the pan to a cold plate.
Leave the lid on and let the sauce rest.
The calamari will be juicy and like butter and not like
chewing a mouthful of elastic bands!!
Boil your pasta of choice – in a big pot of salted water. Drain and mix with half of the sauce.
Serve portions with a little extra sauce on top of the pasta and a drizzle of basil pest.
As this is a shellfish sauce it is not customary to serve it with parmesan cheese.
Ps: Here is the ONLY way to eat the left-overs!
a handful of basil leaves
4 -5 eggs – freerange organic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Large knob of butter
Heat your left over pasta up in the microwave
Beat together 1/2cup of parmesan cheese and 4 – 5 eggs with some pepper
Add a dash of water.- 1/4 cup will do
Combine the egg mixture and a handful of torn fresh basil or
parsley with your pasta and give it a good stir
Heat a big knob of butter in your frying pan
Pour the mixture into your frying pan and fry on a moderate heat until the
Bottom has browned.
If you are feeling brave and your Frittata is not too big,
you can cover the top of your frying pan with a large
plate – flip it over –
and slide the frittata back into the frying pan to cook the other side.
Pop the frying pan under the grill – and brown the top.
Turn the Frittata out onto a large plate, garnish with some fresh basil and either serve with a salad
or cut and place on bread rolls for lunch.
Hubby & I go for the Frittata and salad option and Max
Goes for at least 4 bread rolls!!!
Here are some more delicious Italian Pasta Recipes.
Click on the picture to be taken directly to the recipe.
Spaghetti alla Siciliana!
I am loving Masterchef – hubby and I watch it most evenings!
AND we have Wimbledon to watch to!!!!
Have the very best of Wednesdays!