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Rachel Roddy's Italian recipes for lockdown | Food

Rome went into lockdown 17 days ago. With news of what was happening in the north of Italy ringing in our ears, we were told to stay at home, leave the house as little as possible and to do so only for essential shopping.

That night, I looked in my cupboards and freezer and made a list of recipes. While words like “resourceful” and “ingenious” spun through my head, the recipes that formed from the packets of pasta, bags of peas and lentils, tins of tomatoes and oily peppers, chickpeas and chickpea flour, the lonely carrot, and the frozen chicken, were some of the things I like to cook and eat most, the recipes I have so enjoyed writing about here.

The other day, standing by the wall outside a local shop, I realised it was my neighbour behind the pale blue mask two metres in front of me. We talked about lunch and it turned out we were both making minestrone, then chicken for supper: certain recipes for uncertain times, she said. I can’t put it better than that.

Not only a great recipe that we make every week, but a great principle: almost all vegetables, if cooked in this way – until soft and saucy – form a pasta sauce.

Rachel Roddy’s classic Neapolitan puttanesca sauce recipe

Photograph: Rachel Roddy/The Guardian

Four jars, a tin and a packet. Again, an idea as much as a recipe, one that can be shaped according to the ingredients you have in your fridge and cupboard – and how much you like each of them.

A Roman classic, and not just for midnight after an evening out.

Minestrone soup

Photograph: Rachel Roddy/The Guardian

The big soup: endlessly versatile, endlessly good.

I make a variation of this dish at least once a week, trying to make enough so the next day there are leftovers that can be mixed with short pasta.

Chickpea pancakes

Photograph: Rachel Roddy/The Guardian

I have come to feel about bags of chickpea flour the way I once did about packets of cigarettes: one on the go, one spare at all times. There are endless ways you could top these pancakes.

The chicken is browned and then simmered until tender with white wine and a great handful of finely chopped rosemary, chilli and garlic, and the dish finished with a spoonful of vinegar and some olives.

This second version of pasta e ceci – the ‘storecupboard version’ – begins by draining tinned chickpeas and results in a thicker, creamier pasta e ceci.

Photograph: Rachel Roddy/The Guardian

Another great favourite and principle – making a thick soup and cooking pasta in it – that can be applied to almost all pulses.

The magic of pasta-cooking water is revealed in this favourite recipe. I am not calling it carbonara or even carbonara-like Рbut the idea is the same, the egg and parmesan mixture meeting the saut̩ed courgette and pasta, along with the starchy water, to make a sauce.

Delicious and simple: meltingly soft smothered cabbage under a fortanini sausage.

Photograph: Rachel Roddy/The Guardian

How to bring out the best in cabbage: slice it, cook it gently in plenty of fat with salt for a long time to serve with sausages.

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