This Month's Recipes...
August – Starter – Ricotta with broad beans
From page 140 of Kitchenella.
Ricotta was daring at the time but it has endures as a lovely ingredient to have in the kitchen for hurried, delicious, good-for-you food. In Real Fast Food, Slater wrote: '[Ricotta] must be very fresh if it is to be good, and there should be no yellowing around the edges, which indicates ageing. For me it is at its best when eaten as an accompaniment to baby broad beans. Just put the beans on the table with a lump of the ricotta, let everybody scoop up the cheese, and shell the beans, themselves.' This is dinner, stripped to nudity, but very pretty and nourishing. Not a recipe so much as a great idea.
Main – Aunts Pasta, with sweet cooked tomato and anchovy
From page 403 of Kitchenella.
I learned to cook this dish in Naples, home of the best tomatoes, which are grown in the threatening shadow of Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano. Past eruptions have made this one of the most fertile places in the world and the balance of nutrients in the Neapolitan volcanic soil is always given as the reason why the area produces the sweetest tomatoes in the world.
500g paccheri or other large tubular pasta (choose one without a ridged surface)
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
15 black olives, pitted
400g sweet cooked tomato (see page 400 and Kitchen Note, p405 of Kitchenella)
1 tbsp raisins
1 tsp dried oregano
8-12 good quality anchovies, drained of their oil, or fresh (head and backbone removed), if you can get them, roughly chopped
2 tbsp grated pecorino, plus extra to serve
1 handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put a very large pan of water on to boil then add 2 teaspoons salt and the paccheri and cook for about 18 minutes until al dente (a little firm when bitten) – note that smaller tubes cook in less time, about 12-14 minutes.
A few minutes before the pasta is ready, make the sauce. Heat the oil with the garlic and add the capers and olives. Stir with a wooden spoon, using it to crush the contents. Add the sweet cooked tomato and the raisins, a pinch of salt, some freshly ground pepper and the oregano, plus a tablespoon of water. Cook over a high temperature for 15 seconds then turn off the heat. Add the anchovies and stir – you do not want to 'cook' them. Stir in the pasta with the cheese and serve with the parsley and more cheese on the table.
Dessert – Gooseberry Fool
From page 79 of The New English Table.
Eat this with the Pistachio Biscuits on page 311 of The New English Table.
300g fresh gooseberries, topped and tailed
golden caster sugar
150ml double cream
Put the gooseberries in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and cook gently until just soft. Remove from the heat, leave to cool and then chill. Sweeten with sugar to taste.
Whip the cream until thick, then fold it into the gooseberries. Serve in little glasses.