inspiration2022/04/08

A Southern Italian Easter Feast & Giveaway With Pasta Evangelists

by Emma Foreman

We’ve teamed up with Pasta Evangelists, who deliver restaurant-quality pasta recipe boxes across the UK, to give you the opportunity to win an 'Alternative Easter Dinner Bundle' worth over £1000! 

Chef Roberta’s Southern Italian Easter Feast:

About Roberta:

Born and raised in Puglia, Roberta d’Elia is the Head Chef at Pasta Evangelists, on a mission to share the joys of fresh, hand-crafted pasta, and bring a taste of Italy to the UK. Specialising in pasta fatto a mano (pasta made by hand), Roberta teaches artisan techniques and ancient traditions which have been passed down in Italy through the centuries. Roberta learned how to cut, roll and twist by hand using traditional tools with her nonna as a little girl. 

Why she chose this dish:

“If you come from a religious family like mine, Easter is perhaps the most important seasonal moment in the diary. I come from Puglia, in the south of Italy, where many of the culinary traditions are linked to the period of Spanish domination. In my province of Foggia, lunch always begins with benedetto, a rich antipasto made with local ingredients such as capocollo (a traditional Italian and Corsican pork cold cut) or soppressata (a dry salami), a bed of oranges seasoned with local olive oil, fresh ricotta and hard boiled egg, which acts as a symbol of rebirth and resurrection. The name of this recipe derives from the blessing given to the diners by the head of the family, with an olive branch dipped in the Holy Water.

For the primo, I prefer something quick and easy to make using humble ingredients, as is tradition in Puglia. One of the most popular dishes in southern Italy is pasta puttanesca, a gutsy sauce deeply flavoured with garlic, olives, capers, chilli, tomatoes and, if you’re making the Roman recipe, anchovies. I always finish the dish with a handful of finely chopped parsley. The fresher it looks, the better!

A celebratory Easter feast wouldn’t be complete without lamb, which recalls the sacrifice of Christ (who becomes the "lamb of God") and is linked to Jewish ritual. A typical dish we eat in Puglia is carducci with lamb, an unconventional secondi made with the offshoots from the globe artichoke (known locally as ‘carducci’). The lamb is slowly browned with tomatoes and Cardoncelli mushrooms, before being bound with beaten eggs and grated pecorino, and served on a bed of carducci.

We always end the Easter meal with scarcella, a traditional dessert which symbolizes the liberation from original sin. This shortcrust biscuit is made with humble ingredients accessible to all (simply flour, oil and eggs) and is typically shaped like an Easter dove, although you will also find it in the shape of bunnies, baskets and hearts.”

Chef Roberta’s Pasta Puttanesca Recipe:

Ingredients

400g fresh spaghetti (see our fresh pasta guide to make your own from scratch)

Olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

2-4 garlic cloves (depending on size), crushed

½ tsp dried chilli flakes (1tsp if you like it really hot!)

5 anchovy fillets (about 50g), finely chopped

120g black or green olives, pitted

1 x 400g tin of tomatoes (if you have fresh tomatoes on hand, they make a delicious addition)

2tbsp capers

A Generous handful of fresh parsley or fresh basil to garnish, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Place about 2tbsp olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the diced onion and fry for 5-10 minutes until soft and translucent. Turn the heat down a little and add the garlic and the chilli flakes, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the garlic from sticking or burning.

Add the anchovies, olives* and capers to the pan along with the tin of chopped tomatoes. Turn up the heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes without the lid.

Whilst the sauce is cooking, bring a large pan of boiling water to the boil. Salt it generously and add your fresh spaghetti. Cook for 2-3 minutes (or as the packet advises) until al dente. Test that it’s ready before draining.

Transfer the spaghetti to the saucepan, tossing to ensure each strand is covered. Garnish with parmesan and the roughly chopped parsley or basil leaves and serve immediately. Buon appetito!

COMPETITION :

Our lucky winner will receive:

  • 6 Month Pasta Evangelists Subscription
  • X1 Cisco and the Sun Home Moyo Ceramic Serving Platter - Oversized in Natural Earth Green

Simply follow this link to enter!

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