Monday, 18 May 2015

There's No Taste Like Home!

Spaghetti, Cicoria, Pomodorini, Pancetta & Ricotta Salata
Spaghetti with Chicory, Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon & Salted Ricotta


Ok, I may be a little biased, being Sicilian and all that... But there is no better food on earth, when you are tired out and hungry and really up to too much more work in the kitchen. And trust me, after 12 hours at the office and the long walk home, that was pretty much the way that I was feeling this evening!

So pasta is was to be, a simple bowl of spaghetti with a few greens and tomatoes. Nothing much more than that. And that is the beauty of pasta dishes... They can turn out to be pretty magical without too much hocus pocus... If you know how to make them so!


Being Sicilian, it goes without saying that I love those bitter greens... Tuscan kale, cime di rapa... And of course, Italian, wild chicory! And all it took was a few stalks of it, to infuse this dish with one of the rich flavors of the deep South... And after all... There's no taste like home!


For one nice bowl of spaghetti, I needed just 4-5 small leaves of tender chicory, 1 small onion, a handful of sweet, little cherry tomatoes, a small handful of finely chopped bacon. oh, and the spaghetti of course and a little salted ricotta to grate onto it right at the end.... That along with salt, pepper and was all it took... And a supper time dilemma was solved in just 25 minutes or so.


Twirl it, taste it, eat it and love it... It's as simple as that and so simple to make as well! Read on... It will only take a minute!


Start off by boiling the chicory, which I cut into bite-sized pieces, for 5-6 minutes at a rolling boil, before adding the spaghetti. Continue cooking for 5-6 minutes and in the meantime, take care of the tomatoes and onions... And bacon!


Fry the bacon and onion together until the onion becomes translucent and the bacon begins to brown, then add the halved cherry tomatoes and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

Keep sizzling them away until they begin to Caramelized and turn lovely and golden... And so rich with sweet flavor!


After the spaghetti has boiled for 6-7 minutes, add it to the frying pan with quite a bit of the water it has been boiling in, to deglaze the frying pan and to pick up all of the good flavors that have developed there from the bacon, onion and tomatoes.

This will of course infuse them into the spaghetti whilst it finishes cooking for the next 3-4 minutes, until it has all been absorbed and the spaghetti is silky- smooth and ready to be enjoyed!


Serve with freshly ground pepper and freshly grated salted ricotta... Rich and flavorful and delicious... And was I right, or was I right? SO simple!


Toss gently together before you begin, in order to get that salty, smooth and delicious ricotta coating everything lightly... If you add too much, you may well ruin the dish, as it IS very rich and salty... But if you just add a touch... It will enhance AL of the other flavors and make this simple dish into something utterly divine! Trust me!

So no matter how long your working day has been or how tired you are... You can always rustle up a little something like this... And you will be glad you made that little extra effort... Word!

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