Recipes and News

Gigli with Chickpeas and Za'atar

This Ottolenghi recipe seems made for January. Warming and beautifully spiced with zaatar, lemons and herbs, it is a wonderful antidote to the rich and heavy foods of the past season. Orecchiette pasta works equally well here. If you do not have the time or inclination to make fresh za'atar, use the Mymoune ready-mixed version to speed things up (find this in the 'Store Cupboard' section of the website).
For vegetarians or vegans the chicken stock can be replaced with vegetable, and simply omit the anchovies.

Serves 4

90ml olive oil (something with creamy texture and herbaceous notes such as Colonna would work very well here)
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 long shaved strips of lemon skin
2 tsp chopped rosemary
2 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp chopped sage
2 400g cans chickpeas, drained
1½ tbsp finely chopped anchovies (optional)
300ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
400g gigli or orecchiette
20g chopped parsley
20g chopped mint
1 tbsp za'atar

Put a large sauté pan on a high heat, add two tablespoons of the oil, then add the onion and cumin and fry for eight minutes, until caramelised and soft. Add the garlic, lemon peel, rosemary, thyme and sage, cook for two minutes more, then add the chickpeas, anchovies, stock, lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for three minutes, so the liquid thickens; mash some of the chickpeas into the sauce to help it along.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the gigli and cook for eight minutes, until al dente. Drain, transfer to a bowl and mix with two tablespoons of oil.

Divide the pasta between four plates. Fold the parsley and mint into the sauce and spoon over the pasta. Sprinkle za'atar on top, add a final dribble of oil, and serve at once.

Frescobaldi Laudemio's 30th Anniversary

Frescobaldi Laudemio have launched their 2018 harvest olive oil with a special edition gold bottle. This is to mark the 30th Anniversary of their involvement in the Laudemio collective, a group of producers who, after the terrible frosts in Tuscany in 1985—when 90% of olive trees were killed—signed an agreement to guarantee the quality and provenance of their estates’ oils, and relaunch the Tuscan olive oil production by focusing on excellence, not quantity.
These oils were then housed in a distinctive faceted bottle, which this year Frescobaldi has coloured gold as a celebration of their achievements in the olive oil industry over the past 30 years, and to represent the distinguished provenance of the precious oil inside. The word ‘Laudemio’ in the Middle Ages was the name of the best part of the harvest, destined for the lord’s table.

Sicilian Pasta with Cauliflower and Pine Nuts

Sicilian cauliflowers are a popular staple on the island, and this pasta dish combines them with north African flavours of saffron and pine nuts to make a delicious and quick dish which is perfect on its own as a weekday night dinner, or as an accompaniment to roasted meats such as leg of lamb. Just be sure to finish it with plenty of Ravida olive oil!

Serves 4

1 cauliflower weighing about 600gms/1 ½ lbs
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup sultanas
1/2 tbsp of tomato extract or alternatively, ¼ teaspoon saffron
3 anchovy fillets
1 onion, finely chopped
300 gms bucatini, caserecce or rigatoni pasta
Lots of Ravida Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Caciocavallo, pecorino, parmesan cheese, finely grated

Cook the cauliflower florets and chopped stems in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
Drain and reserve the cooking water to cook the pasta or add to sauce.

Soften sultanas in a cup of hot water.

If using tomato extract, dilute tomato paste with three tablespoons of hot cauliflower water.

In a large pot, sweat the finely chopped onion in four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a small piece of chilli (optional) under very slow heat. Do not brown - add a bit of cauliflower water if needed.

Cream in the anchovy fillets, add the pine nuts and sultanas and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, the tomato paste (or alternatively the saffron) and mix by adding 2-3 ladles of cauliflower water. Cook until soft and mushy. Season with salt if necessary.

In the meantime, cook pasta al dente and drain well.

Add to the cauliflower and stir over medium heat with a few spoonfuls of cauliflower water and a generous pouring of olive oil. Sprinkle with some of the cheese.

Pour into a dish, mix and serve hot.