Friday, 11 May 2007

S starring in the kitchen (and a white plate guest starring)

S bought me a white plate! ‘For your food pictures’ he said. Sweet, non? But the plate is only guest starring, so let’s quickly move on to the real star.

Quite a while ago, S came home after work one day with a copy of Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy: Food and Stories. S has a completely food-unrelated job in a food company, and one of the food people at his office had told him it was an excellent book. S also happens to be mad about pasta; he could eat it 24-7. He even eats it uncooked. But then he also eats stock cubes, flour, coffee and bread crumbs (preferred method for these:‘inhaled’ straight from the packet with a drinking straw) and after more than ten years together I’m used to these little quirks.

The book is not one I would buy myself – my first impression was that it looked a little bit messy. There is a lot of background story and explanation intermingled with the recipes, and I prefer it somewhat more separate and organised. When I started reading however, I found myself completely absorbed in Locatelli's family stories and anecdotes. He is clearly very passionate about good food, cooking, and conveying to his readers an understanding of Italian cuisine. And of course the title of the book is food and stories, so both are of equal importance.

The first thing S made from the book was pesto a la Genovese – a beautiful and delicious intensely green paste, which we added to pasta, sandwiches, chicken and lots of other things. Last weekend he was feeling a bit more ambitious and decided to make ravioli from scratch. Now I love me a good ravioli – I usually buy mine home-made from Lina’s, a wonderfully old-fashioned, family-run Italian delicatessen in Soho (18 Brewer Street) – so I wasn’t about to pass up on that offer! Also, S had a new toy to try out; a little pasta-shaping-mould thingy that we bought on our last trip to Antwerp.

And so last Saturday, S set about making dough and filling. We don’t have a pasta machine (it’s on our wish list), so getting the dough thin enough was a bit tricky and it ended up a bit on the thick side. For the filling he used my favourite: spinach and ricotta – very simply blanched spinach, wrung dry and chopped mixed with a tub of ricotta cheese. He served it with a tomato and basil sauce – even more simply a tin of chopped tomatoes, reduced in a pan with a bit of olive oil – and of course some parmesan shavings. Pasta, a nice glass of red and Billie Holiday in the background – the perfect Saturday evening.


Helen said...

Your ravioli turned out great! You should see the nmber of single plates I have "only" for food photography...! Drives B. crazy!

Baking Soda said...

Clearly this is a "man" book, two of my men came home with this as a present for me, grinning with anticipation... haven't made a single recipe from it yet. It's a very good read though. Need to get cooking now!