World Food Challenge

Day 84: Italy with Linguine al nero di seppia and Caponata

Ciao, Raffies!

After this wonderful almost summery day, we are going home! We are going to my other home country: Italy.

A serious Italian meal consists of: antipasto, primo, secondo e dolce – appetizer, a first course, usually pasta, risotto, gnocchi or tortellini, a second course, usually fish or meat with salad or vegetable and/or potatoes and a dessert. We are skipping the second course today and I must say that I feel awful because of it.

Within the infinite recipes I know and I can think of, I decided to make something maybe less known. Today we are making Caponata, a Sicilian dish, often served as an appetizer.

Actually, I know the recipes by heart. But, I initially learnt how to cook Caponata thanks to my marvellous Sicilian cookbook, La Cucina Siciliana by Eufemia Azzolina Pupella, Ed. Bonechi.

For Caponata you’ll need:

4 aubergines, diced
2 onions, chopped
100 g ripe tomatoes or canned tomatoes
2 big stalks of celery, sliced
50 g capers
200 g olives, sliced
olive oil to fry
salt
pepper
1 c vinegar
1 tbsp sugar

Start by chopping the aubergines, salting them and placing them in a sieve. Leave them to rest for approximately two hours.
If you are using the capers that are preserved in salt, place them in a bowl with hot water for about 10 minutes. Rinse them well.
In a skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion, olives and capers. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Leave it on medium heat, until it turns into a dense sauce.
In the meantime, boil the celery in hot salty water for about 5 minutes. Rinse the celery.
In a separate pan, fry the aubergines, after having washed them in order to remove most of the salt. Add the celery and fry for 5 minutes. Now add the aubergines and the celery to the sauce and stir well. Cook on medium heat for another 5-10 minutes. Now add the sugar and vinegar. My experience was that, depending on the vinegar I used, the amount varied slightly. You should have a sweet and sour flavour. Adjust with salt and pepper. Decorate with some fresh parsley and serve either hot or cold.
This is usually a common starter in Sicily, but you can also serve it together with meat.
Depending on the season, the ingredients may vary. You can also use pumpkins or zucchini, for instance.

As Primo, we had Linguine al Nero di Seppia, which is pasta with squid and its ink. The dish is very easy. You’ll need:

2 squids with their ink sacks (otherwise you can buy two already cleaned squids and separately, two packages of ink)
400 g canned tomatoes
400 g linguine
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c white wine
water
olive oil
salt
pepper

Start by frying the onion and garlic in a pan with some olive oil. Add the sliced squid. Adjust with salt and pepper and simmer with the wine. Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the ink and stir well. You might need to add some water.
In the meantime, boil the linguine. Mix the linguine with the sauce and garnish with some fresh parsley. Remember to use a napkin while eating, to prevent everything from getting black.

To be honest, I think I will be making a lot of Italian dishes again, after this challenge. There’s just so much I have to share 🙂

Love,

Raffi

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