Bavette with fresh herbs

Bavette Al Prezzemolo. This is a really nice, fresh tasting, summer dish. I first had it over ten years ago in Bergamo and have only just got around to tracking down the recipe.
Serves 4

  • 320 grams bavette
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of basil, finely chopped

  1. Heat plenty of oil in a pan, add the garlic and cook over a medium heat until it is well coloured.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the herbs. Leave to infuse for a minute or so.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix well.
  4. Variation: You can use other fresh herbs eg. mint, chives, dill etc. Whatever you fancy. Don’t try it with dried though.

Broad beans and wild chicory

Altamura crestFave e cicorie. This is one of the most traditional and most loved dishes from Puglia. The recipe varies from town to town and even from family to family.  Many thanks to Grazia from Altamura for her recipe.  I don’t know if ‘wild’  chicory is available outside Italy, but if you can find it, this dish is well worth trying.

Serves 4.

  • 200 grams dried peeled broad beans — soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 stick celery
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 700g wild chicory, washed and separated into individual stems.
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil

  1. Add the beans, onion, bayleaf, tomatoes and celery to an earthenware pot and cover with two fingers of water.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook very slowly until the beans are very tender – at least 2 hours. The water should have been completely absorbed at the end of cooking.
  3. Remove the onion, celery, and bayleaf. Mash the beans with a wooden spoon while adding a trickle of olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Meanwhile boil the chicory in plenty of salted water until tender and drain.
  5. Add olive oil and garlic to a pan and cook until softened.
  6. Dress the chicory with the garlic oil.
  7. Serve on individual plates, arranging the beans on one side and the chicory on the other.
  8. Dress with a little more olive oil before serving.
    Variations:

  1. Grazia likes to grate the onion and celery and incorporate them in the puree.
  2. In some places potatoes are cooked along with the beans.
  3. Dress with a little chilli oil before serving (olio santo)

Red pepper and aubergine carbonara

Serves 4.

Red pepper and aubergine carbonara ingredients

  • 320g gnocchetti di sardi
  • 1 medium red pepper, cut anto small dice
  • 1 medium aubergine, cut into small dice
  • 1 stick celery, cut into small dice
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1 whole small chilli
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 80g parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Fry the pepper, aubergine, celery, garlic cloves marjoram and chilli in half the olive oil for about 15 minute.
  2. Remove from the heat and discard the garlic and chilli. Keep warm
  3. Beat together the eggs, cheese and the rest of the oil.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente
  5. Add the drained pasta to the vegetables and mix well
  6. Finally, add the egg mixture and stir thoroughly.

Red pepper and aubergine carbonara

Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chilli

Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino. Another simple dish that is popular all over Italy. Serves 4.

Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chilli ingredients

  • 320 grams spaghetti
  • Garlic to taste — peeled and left whole
  • 1 fresh red chilli — whole
  • Olive oil

  1. Heat plenty of oil in a pan and fry the garlic cloves and chilli until the garlic has browned.
  2. Remove the garlic and chilli. Discard.
  3. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Cook the spaghetti al dente, drain and dress with the flavoured oil.

Variations:

  1. Add chopped parsley before serving.
  2. Use dried chillis
  3. For a much stronger flavour, chop the garlic and chilli and don’t remove from the oil.

Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chilli


Grilled aubergines

puglia crest Melanzane arrostite. From Puglia.

 

 

  • 600g aubergines, cut into thin slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 handful mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful parsley, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

 

 

 

  1. Sprinkle the aubergine with salt and drain in a colander for around an hour. Rinse and dry with kitchen towels.
  2. Grill the slices, prefferably on a barbecue.
  3. Arrange the aubergines in layers in a dish. Season each layer with garlic, mint, parsley, pepper, a good drizzle of oil and a few splashes of vinegar.
  4. Leave to rest for a few hours.
  5. Drizzle with a little more oil when you are ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

Poor man’s courgettes – Salento style

Zucchine alla poverella, versione salentina. From Salento, Puglia.

  • 1 kilogram courgettes, washed and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • olive oil
  • parsley, chopped
  • salt

  1. Sprinkle the courgettes with salt and drain in a colander for a while to remove some of their liquid.
  2. Fry the cloves of garlic in plenty of olive oil until golden. Remove the garlic and discard.
  3. Add the courgettes to the pan and fry until done. Note: Shake the pan rather than stirring to avoid the courgettes becoming mushy.
  4. Adjust the salt, sprinkle with parsley and serve as an antipasto or a side dish (it is also good cold)

Tuna alla Genovese

genoa crest Tonno alla Genovese. From Genova. Serves 6.



  • 600g Fresh tuna, cut into 6 steaks
  • 2 salted anchovies, soaked and filleted
  • 30g dried porcini mushroom, soaked in warm water for half an hour and drained. Reserve the liquid.
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Plain flour
  1. Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and parsley. Fry for a few minutes.
  2. Add the anchovie fillets and allow them to dissolve.
  3. Add the wine, the mushroom liquid and a table spoon of flour. Allow to cook for 6 or 7 minutes.
  4. Add the tuna, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over a low heat for around an hour.