Friday, 6 December 2013

In the Papers Again...

Merluzzo in Cartoccio con Couscous, Finocchio & Peperone
Parchment-Baked Cod with Couscous, Fennel & Peppers

Whilst most people are busy wrapping gifts at the moment, I got busy wrapping my supper this evening instead. Yes, the gifts are there and Christmas is drawing closer, but there is still time for that... but first and foremost this evening it was time for me to cook!

Now that I come to think of it, although I am not much of a fish fan to be honest, this would be a great idea for me to prepare for my folks back home in Sicily on Christmas Eve, where traditionally only fish is eaten. The great thing about this, asides from the fun-factor and the minimal washing up afterwards... is that all of the flavors are trapped and concentrated in the paper parcel, it is guaranteed to reach each guest piping hot and aromatic... and it is going to make you a star for the evening! And what's not to love about all of the above? Haha! 

This was super-easy to make and here are the pictures and a step-by-step explanation for you good people :-)

The first thing you are going to need is 2 circles of parchment or baking paper that are a good couple of inches larger than your plate.

The first ingredient to prepare is the couscous- simply pour twice the amount of boiling water onto the couscous, stir and let sit of 5-6 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed and the couscous fluffs up. Whilst it is still warm, add a little finely chopped parsley and season with a little salt, pepper and a hint of delicious smoked paprika powder. 

The next layer is finely sliced fennel, to which I added salt, a pinch of sugar, a sprinkle of fresh thyme and a little more of the smoked paprika- yum, yum!

Then came a couple of slices of lemon and the fish- in this case cod, but you could make this with any other fish you might prefer, or even shrimp I would imagine. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and then added the last ingredient... 

...which was a red miniature bell pepper. A couple more slices of lemon, a little lemon juice all over, a drizzle of olive oil, a scattering of fennel greens and a last sprinkle of smoked paprika and that was it- my parcel was all ready and waiting to be packed! So I turned on my oven up to full power to heat up in advance and got busy wrapping...

Of course you could simply fold the paper over and fold the ends shut in a kind-of envelop, but I decided to make mine a little prettier... plus this way it is easy to simply remove the top layer once the parcel is cooked and ready to be opened.

Sealing is simple- just imagine you are folding over the edge of a pie crust. You will find the paper tries to unfurl itself almost as soon as you have folded it- but don't despair! Twist the paper shut all the way around and then twist it again, revolving as you go, and after going around 3 times it should stay shut! 

Into a hot oven it went- at 350°F, for between 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece of fish you are baking- you want a high temperature to create enough steam in the parcel too cook everything nicely. And after 20 minutes of baking... the parcel came out looking like this!

When you come to unwrap your parcel- do be careful! There is a lot of steam in there and it is going to be very hot! But the aromas and fragrances of the paprika, herbs, lemon and fish that will also come billowing out are soooo good and your are going to be ready and rearing to go at it and enjoy straight away- but trust me- it will be hot, hot, hot!

Incredibly, the lemon and some of the bell pepper slices actually got scorched from the heat during steaming- which was pretty awesome as that of course also added great flavor to the already yummy dish!

I removed the top circle of paper, added a sprinkle of fresh fennel greens- and voila! One pretty plate of fish I'd say" Yummy, healthy and fun too- you've got to like that!

The other good thing about preparing this dish this way is that, let's say you are preparing it for 5 people and you have someone who doesn't like fennel... or paprika... or someone who wants to have theirs more spicy... or have other ingredients added like garlic or ginger- well- you can add or subtract ingredients individually for each person and not have the problems of trying to please 5 different people with the same dish. 

Have fun with it- write peoples names on the paper and make it into a fun event- because that is the most important ingredient of all- having fun and making your guests happy! Oh- well and being happy in the kitchen yourself! And I know you will be when you make this! Enjoy!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Going Bananas

Plantano Arrostito in Secco con Cocco & Nutella
Dry-Roasted Coconut-Plantain & Nutella

I had bought this plantain on Saturday, planning on letting it ripen for a few days and then making some savory dish with it later this week. A curry or a soup. That was the plan... that was my intention and this is what might have happened, had I not suddenly had an overwhelming urge to eat something sweet this evening...

... and so I came up with the idea of making this yummy little snack for myself! Quick, fat-free and yummy, coconut-coated slices of banana yumminess... again- that was the plan. And then I thought to myself- go on, be a devil! You can see the pictures of course... so need I say more? ;-) No, I didn't think so!

There is no recipe involved in making this little treat- it is as simple as it looks. I simply cut the plantain into slices, on the diagonal, so that they would be nice and long and a little prettier and more fun to eat than simple round slices. 

The plantain has a slightly pinkish/orange color on the inside and was of course as sticky as all bananas are when sliced... which of course made it perfect for dipping into coconut flakes. Whilst I was doing that, I heated up a non-stick pan to a medium setting so that I would have a nice, constant temperature for cooking, and then laid out the first layer of slices and let them gently toast on the dry surface.

I didn't stir or fuss over the plantain slices at all, I let them sit still until I saw the outermost coconut flakes on the bottom of the plantain slices begin to brown and then I carefully flipped them over. During cooking, the plantain turns a lovely deep yellow color- which I would say is the sign that it is cooked enough. Keep the heat low though, because otherwise the coconut flakes will brown and begin to burn before the plantain slices have had a chance to warm through right to the center... it is worth the wait!

Obviously, you can only do as many slices as will fit into your frying pan as you can not have them lying on top of each other, so you will need to do this in a few steps. Simply toss out any of the loose coconut flakes that get too dark each time... nice and toasty is good- but burned is not!

This was 1 plantain in all and all it took in Nutella, to give it a nice, deliciously chocolate-hazelnut drizzle, was 1 teaspoonful, which I dropped into the frying pan after I had removed the last plantain slices and discarded any remaining, loose flakes of coconut. There was still enough residual heat in the pan to melt down the Nutella enough for it to be drizzled over the plantains. I am guessing you will use more if you try this- but I was a good boy- haha! No- seriously, I think that the amount that you are looking at in the photos is more than adequate, but of course as with all things that is a matter of taste.

But that is what I liked most about this- it was sweet but not too sweet, it was warm but not fried in fat, it was simple, it was delicious and it was eaten up more quickly than I would care to admit! Sometimes it can be so easy to make something good to indulge in- and this was almost good enough to serve as a dessert. Sometimes less is indeed more. And those are the times that I like best :-)

Heaven-Sent Supper!

Uova in Purgatorio con Zucca & Olive
"Eggs in Purgatory" with Pumpkin & Olives

There are many dishes that my mother used to make that I love to enjoy now and reminisce about my childhood and growing up in a house filled with my 8 other siblings and mealtime, one of the few times of the day that we would all be gathered around together... but this variation on "eggs in purgatory", which my mother used to fix for us back then is one that always makes me feel warm and cosy :-)

Trying to manage to feed 9 children must have been a momentous task, but mother was always resourceful and dishes like this, which is basically eggs poached in a tomato sauce were perfect as they were inexpensive and delicious. With some nice crusty bread to dip into that yummy sauce and the lovely poached egg- who could ask for more? Well... on this evening, 30 years later... me- that's who!

I decided to elaborate a little on the original dish and to add some pumpkin and olives to make it a little more satisfying this evening... I hadn't eaten all day and there they were in the fridge with no one to save them from their fate- and so into the pan they went!

To make this simple dish, I began MY version and single-serving of "eggs in purgatory" by sautéing the diced pumpkin, a some finely diced onion and garlic, half a stalk of finely diced celery in just a little olive oil. This was just a handful or so of pumpkin for this good portion. I stirred them around until the onion became translucent and then added a tablespoon of tomato paste and stirred this in well for 1-2 minutes- this will take away any of the bitterness that the paste might have.

I then deglazed the pan with just enough boiling water to cover everything and stirred it through well so that the paste dissolved completely. I then added 5-6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, a handful of sliced black olives, a handful of whole basil leaves and a bay leaf. I seasoned with salt, pepper, a hint of nutmeg and a pinch of sugar and let the pumpkin and sauce simmer gently for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes were up, the pumpkin was almost good, the tomatoes were totally cooked into the sauce and it had reduced and thickened down somewhat, so I of course topped up the sauce with more boiling water. But this time, as I knew the sauce would reduce further by the time the egg had poached, I pushed the sauce back a little, leaving a bit of a well in the middle of the pan and poured the water in there. As soon as it began to boil, all I needed to do now was to crack my egg and drop it carefully into the middle of the pan, where it could gently poach away for the following 5 minutes or so.

After 5 minutes, the bottom of the egg was nicely set, but the top was still looking a little soft, so I put on the lid and let it continue to simmer and gently steam for a further 5 minutes or so. Obviously, the time you cook your egg for is a matter of taste, but generally speaking, as it is only half submerged it will not cook as quickly as a normal poached egg with swims fully submerged in boiling water... but we are not in that much of a hurry are we folks?

With a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and some fresh thyme for an extra, added "kick" of flavor, supper was ready to enjoy! The pumpkin and the egg were nice, mild flavors which combined wonderfully with the tart and fruity tomato sauce and the richness of the olives- with a little fresh bread- this really was a treat! And one that I hope you try for yourselves sometime soon!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Perfect Parcels

Wonton al Forno con Satoimo, Zucca, Galangal, Menta & Piselli
Baked Wontons with Satoimo, Pumpkin, Galangal, Mint & Peas

Wonton wrappers are great fun- there are so many great things you can make from them- spring rolls, dumplings, chips and of course... wontons- haha! Although it is possibly very easy to make yourself, wonton pastry, puff-pastry and filo pastry really are a bit time consuming to prepare for yourself in day-to-day like... So, yes there are SOME industrially made food products that are simply a godsend in the kitchen- and this is one of them!

I based this dish on those yummy Indian samosas and pakoras that you get with the potato and pea filling and Sicilian potato fritters with mint- and then decided to wrap them up in an Asian pastry and serve them with a sweet Thai chili sauce... that's just the kinda guy I am folks! I hope you don't have a problem with that- 'cause I don't see my self changing much in the near future!

The only thing with crispy wonton recipes, like for example spring rolls, is that they are deep-fried 99.9% of the time- which is fine if you are not watching your waistline, but being as I do like to be careful about the state of mine- I decided to try making a baked snack this evening...

I had a few of those funky satoimo roots and some pumpkin still that were begging to be combined in these little parcels- and who was I to refuse them? So into a non-stick pan they went- if you check out the picture below you will see about how much. 3 small satoimos, about 2" of galangal, about a third as much pumpkin as satoimo, all finely grated and a half of a small red onion, finely chopped.

Then came the peas- just a couple of handfuls of frozen peas added a lovely sweetness to the mix, a tablespoon of dried mint added some freshness and the seasoning was simply salt and pepper. These all went into the pan and were stirred continually for around 10 minutes. 

After just 2-3 minutes, the satoimo, which already oozes lots of starchy moisture during grating, almost disintegrated away into a soft, sticky pulp... but don't let that unsettle you! Just keep stirring and you will find, that now matter how much it sticks to the pan, as long as it is a non-stick one, it WILL come away from the surface and you can keep on stirring without any great difficulty. Well... not too much anyway!

I was tempted to add other spices, but found the aroma of the galangal so nice, that when I tasted it after about 10 minutes of cooking, I decided to leave the filling as light and delicate as it was. The flavor of the mint and peas came through wonderfully and the pumpkin gave a lovely yellow color and a hint of sweetness which complimented the bland satoimo very well. It was a mild flavor, but that was what made it rather nice!

I let the sticky mixture cool down before beginning to fill the wonton wrappers of course and the whole reason that I prepared the filling this way was to try to keep it from becoming too moist as both the satoimo and the pumpkin give off a lot of moisture when cooked.

The folding is as easy as can be- all you need to have is a little water close by so that you can seal the edges of the parcels with. Each parcel consisted of one sheet of wonton wrapper laid out diamond shaped, with one good teaspoon of the filling set out just off-center as you can see in the next photo.

Next- simply moisten the edges of the wrapper on all sides and then fold it shut in a triangle... very simple.

After that, fold the two outer edges inwards and over each other, like so.

Then moisten again and fold shut like an envelope... finished! It is a very simple affair as you can see and the added advantage of making them this way, as you have all of those folded-over layers on the one side, that will serve as a good, thick base to bake them on and ensure some added crispness once they are baked.

As you can see, the yield from this small amount of ingredients was 12 little parcels- which isn't bad going! So keep these in mind the next time you are preparing snacks for a party- it's always nice to be able to wow your friends with something a little different and new- isn't it? :-)

I gave them a very light coating of sesame oil and set them out on a silicon mat to bake for 5-10 minutes on each side under the broiler on a medium setting- this of course is going to depend upon your oven, but for me it was almost 10 minutes from each side.

Right at the end, when they were almost as golden as I wanted them, I decided to add a little decoration and extra crunch and flavor with a little honey and sesame. I simply squeeze a little honey onto a saucer and then dipped each little parcel first in the honey and then into some sesame seeds, before popping them back under the broiler for 1 last minute to give them a nice toasting... terrific!

Although I am still being cautious with a poorly tummy and didn't actually eat it myself this evening, as you can see, I recommend some of that yummy Thai sweet chili as a dipping sauce. The combination with the potato-like flavor of the satoimo along with the pumpkin, galangal, mint and peas is pretty fantastic- especially with the added honey and sesame!

And the best thing of all- no frying, no smoke, less calories and less hassle! What's not to like about that? Not much! That's why I am simply going to say... Enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Festive Fun Frittata

Frittata di Zucca al Forno, con Feta, Salvia e Cranberry
Oven-Baked Pumpkin Frittata with Feta Cheese, Sage & Cranberry

You have to admit- that is one mighty pretty looking frittata, right? And the best things about it are that it is totally easy to make and that it taste better than it looks! This was another of those dishes that "just happened"- where I checked the fridge for what was there, still had no plan- and then went into ""auto-pilot mode" and improvised this out of thin air... Yay! That's probably my favorite kind of meal anyway!

Pumpkin, sage and eggs were there, hunger was lurking in the shadows and I was tired- great ingredients for some creative cooking! With a little grated cheese and bread-crumbs, some chopped onion and parsley and that finishing sprinkle of Feta and cranberry, this was as much a feast for the eyes as it was for the taste-buds! And this is how I made it...

I started off by finely grating the pumpkin- a Hokkaido again, which meant that I could grate it peel and all, and spreading it out in a bowl. I tried to not apply too much pressure to it, as it is so delicate and squashes easily together. The amount I grated to make this yummy, thick, single serving was about 1 coffee mug full or pumpkin.

I then sprinkled about a third of a mug of bread crumbs onto the pumpkin and gently stirred them in- this helped to be able to mix the rest of the ingredients into the pumpkin without them clumping together. I added about half the amount of the bread crumbs in grated cheese- I used a last piece of scamorza in mine, but cheddar, gouda or emmentaler will be just fine- they will help to bind the mixture together.

I then added a good tablespoon of finely chopped parsley and about 1 teaspoon of  finely chopped sage leaves- that would be 2 nice, large leaves. The final ingredient was one small, finely sliced shallot. I seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg and then added the eggs- in this case, 2 was plenty for a single serving. Once everything was nicely mixed together, I poured the mixture out into a small non-stick pan and patted it down. I turned on the oven to full power to get it nice and hot and ready, but let the frying pan give the frittata a head start for 4-5 minutes on the stove top first.

I used my little trick of covering the handle of the frying pan with aluminum foil, so that it would be protected in the oven, and popped the frittata in for between 10-15 minutes at the highest setting... no pussy-footing here! We are probably all getting hungry now!

After 10-15 minutes in the oven, the pumpkin was cooked and nice and moist on the inside, but getting to be slightly brown on top... which meant it was time to do one more little thing before giving it a final couple of minutes under the broiler...

I took 4-5 nice sage leaves and drizzled them with olive oil, rubbing it in from both sides, then sprinkled them lightly with salt. These went on top of the frittata and then the whole shebang went back into the oven for 2-3 minutes under the broiler... time for the leaves to crisp up, and the crust to go nicely brown... and that was all there was to it!

As an extra treat, I added a small handful of crumble Feta cheese, then lay the crispy sage leaves on top and gave everything a dusting of nutmeg as well as coarsely-ground black pepper. And then the last finishing touch. Normally, I would add a light drizzle of honey to feta cheese, as its rich, salty flavor harmonizes wonderfully with something sweet... and as I had a little cranberry preserve and as it IS that time of the year... and as they did look beautiful- I decided to add just a little of that instead.... which turned out to be a great idea!

You can't get much prettier, you can't get much yummier and you would be hard pressed to find anything much easier... so all you have to do is to make yourself one of these babies! And if you do, I am sure that everyone will enjoy!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Rooting for Suppertime

"Satoimo" Arrosto al Forno, con Galangal, Tahini e Sugo di Hoisin e Ostrice 
Roasted Satoimo with Galangal,Tahini, Hoisin & Oyster Sauce

Strange little gnarly veggies these "Satoimo's"- like a mutant combination of coconut and potato. Which is possibly why another name for them is "cocoyam". They grow voraciously in Asia and South America, as well as in Africa, where they are a main staple of the daily diet there. They are also known as Japanese potatoes- and yes, once peeled, they are very much like a regular potato at first glance... but also very different...

Satoimo's cook a little more quickly than regular potatoes and quickly become soft. They have a lot more starch and are therefore also very suitable to be mashed as they become lovely and creamy. They have a flavor which I would describe as a cross between regular potato and chestnut- and also tend to be as filling as chestnuts- which is precisely why they are eaten in poor countries. Which shouldn't stop us from enjoying them too!

You will find, as soon as you peel the satoimo... that it is a pretty slippery customer! Also, with all of those strands and fibers on the outside, they can tend to be a little fiddly. The way I peeled mine was to "top and tail" them and then to cut the peel generously away from top to bottom. As soon as I did so, I rinsed them immediately and cut them into quarters, lengthways. I have cooked satoimo's once before- which is how I found out how soft and sticky they can become... so this time I wanted to try something a little different.

The first step in the preparation of these super-delicious wedges, was to boil them in salted water, with about 2" worth of sliced galangal for 10-15 minutes. Galangal is similar to ginger, but has a slightly more citrus/lime flavor- and is totally yummy!After 7-8 minutes you will notice the change in color of the satoimo- it will lose its slightly transparent texture and become denser, less "see-through" and white. By this time there will probably be a lot of white foam bubbling up in the saucepan too- at least there was for me! I told you all about that starch!

Being wary of over-cooking them, I decided to stop at 10 minutes of cooking time, drained off most of the water and the transferred them from the saucepan to a frying pan. I pushed the satoimo to one side and added a tablespoon each of tahini, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce to the water, stirring it well so that it blended nicely together- and then stirred the satoimo wedges into it, gently flipping them over to get them all nicely coated. I added a hint of sesame oil and let things bubble away for 3-4 minutes, until all of the moisture and the flavors of those sauces had been absorbed into the now soft satoimo and then removed them from the heat and turned on the oven and broiler, ready to roast them up!

I popped them into the oven on the highest setting, with the broiler on at the lowest setting, on the middle shelf, for maybe 10 minutes, then carefully turned them over to brown from the other side too. The great thing about how soft the satoimos become when you boil or steam them, is that the outer surface quickly becomes soft and flaky. The first time I cooked them, I thought that, that would mean that about the only thing I could do with them would be to make a soup or mashed potato dish. But this evening, I suddenly realized how cool they would be roasted, until that fluffy, flaky outside texture became crisp and crunchy... and filled with the flavors of the galangal, oyster sauce and hoisin sauce and the yummy sesame flavor of the tahini... mmmmh! Delicious!

Once they were nearly as crispy and brown as I liked them, I gave them an extra light drizzle of oyster sauce and then popped them back under the broiler at the highest setting for a minute or so- just time to make it all bubble-up and slightly caramelize- yummy!

As this was just an experiment, I simply ate mine as they were- but they would make an excellent side dish for and spicy meat or poultry dish, or even to a spicy, sauced vegetable dish. I added a last drizzle of Hoisin and a sprinkle of sesame before serving, a little parsley as a relish and a bit of added freshness... and thoroughly enjoyed the crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside texture and the mild, Asian flavors- so yummy and different to any regular roast potatoes- and of course different ! And we all should try something different every now and again, no? 
I say yes!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hold Onto Your Hats!

Cappelli Messicane con Sugo di Zucca & Pomodoro
Home Made "Sombrero" Pasta with Pumpkin & Tomato Sauce

Yes, we all know how to make out own pasta by now- linguini, tagliatelle, fettuccine,  pappardelle, ravioli are shapes we are familiar with and able to make using our pasta machines, or knives if we are more "old-school"... but how would you like to make a different shape at home that is kinda fun? Yeah... I thought you would!

These little "sombrero's" are pretty adorable, and although you have probably seen them in the stores, they are not the most common pasta shapes around and so they are bound to go down well with guests. Oh, but sure- family, spouses, partners and even your yourselves might like them too! In fact- these are great and I am sure anyone and everyone would love to try a plateful of saucy sombrero's!

They are so easy to make! I am going to skip giving you a standard pasta recipe all over again- it really would not do for me to repeat it every single time! It's not about how you make and knead and roll out the pasta- it's about how you transform it into this great, fun shape and about the sauce you make to go with it... because this shape of pasta is absolutely perfect for carrying lots of sauce!

But... first things first! We need to cut the pasta into little circles... like this...

... and then we need to cut a slit into each circle- just to the center... like this!

The next step is to twist the opened circles into the shape of a "witches hat", making sure that about a good part of the circle overlaps. What you then need to do is to place this pointed hat, upside-down, into an open glass bottle- anything with a smooth edge at the top- wine, oil, whatever you have handy. 

Put the upside-down pointy hat into the bottle and press down firmly with the palm of your hand- or even smack it down if you feel like showing-off for spectators :-) The important thing is to apply plenty of pressure to the parts that overlap each other and to squeeze them firmly together- and of course also you need to make sure the edges curl over to give that typical upturned rim. 

Once you have formed the pasta, let it sit and dry for a while- this will also help it to maintain its shape better when boiling. In the meantime you can get busy doing a little prep-work for the sauce... great! Or should I say "grate"- because that is what you need to do!

To make a nice generous helping for this single serving of pasta, I used 2 slices of a small pumpkin- again a Hokkaido in this case and a 1" slice of ginger. I grated the pumpkin coarsely and the ginger finely. I also diced up 5-6 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped just a half of a clove of garlic and also finely chopped a small shallot. A little extra flavor came from a small sprig of rosemary which I also chopped nice and finely- and that was all of my prep-work done!

So now I had all of the ingredients for my sauce ready, I popped them into a deep frying pan with just a tiny drizzle of olive oil and let them begin sizzling away. In the meantime, I brought the pasta water up to the boil, added salt and then dropped in the little sombrero's. 

One thing you will need to do is to keep stirring the sombreros, as they can tend to slide inside of each other, and when that happens, not only do you get 2 stuck together, but they also will not cook properly. So keep gently stirring and within 2-3 minutes, they will all come floating up to the surface and be almost done :-)

Have a bowl of cold water on hand and then lift the sombrero's out with a slotted spoon and carefully place them into it to stop them from over cooking- but don't discard the hot, starchy water as we can make good use of that now to prepare the sauce with. The pasta should be not-quite al-dente... we will finish the cooking process later directly in the sauce.

In the meantime, the pumpkin, tomato and shallot mixture will be softening up nicely and will have a lovely aroma of ginger and rosemary. At this point, when the shallot is translucent and things are beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan a little, add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and stir this in well. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg and then add some of the hot pasta water, just a ladle at a time to deglaze the frying pan.

Let the pumpkin continue cooking away and softening and keep on stirring- and when the water has all evaporated away or been absorbed by the pumpkin, add enough milk to the pan to cover the base and stir this in nicely until everything is nicely and evenly mixed. 

Keep on stirring and you will see that the pumpkin will thicken up the water and milk, together with the tomato paste, to turn these few simple ingredients into a mild but tasty sauce. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and then carefully place the pasta back into the sauce.

Initially, there will not seem to be enough sauce- but you also need to bring the pasta back up to temperature- so what do you do? That's right- you add another couple of ladles of water into the pan and stir it in gently. Bring it back up to a gentle boil and you will see the excess liquid soon be absorbed by the pasta as it finishes cooking. This will only take 2-3 minutes at the most. The great thing about cooking pasta this way is that it absorbs so much more flavor from the sauce than if you were simply to spoon some on top of the plain white pasta... that's not how we do it in Italy!

And that's it! Sexy little sombrero's- just waiting to be sprinkled with Parmesan and pepper and to be enjoyed by one and all! The sauce is sweet and savory at the same time, tangy from the tomato and ginger but mild from the added milk... with a gentle touch of herb from the rosemary. Friends- I think you are going to like it! Because I know that I sure did! Buon appetito!