Tag Archives: pasta

An imagined pie, lost splendours and a Sicilian timballo (macaroni pie)

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Update: recipe added!!

Recently, work has been intense, crazy-good-intense, plus I have been cooking for friends: lingering, laughing, food-laden, wine-tinted dinners where people meet old friends and make new ones. All of which means I’m catching up on the blogosphere this weekend.

The good thing about cooking for a bunch of friendly guinea pigs friends is that I can foist “out there” dishes on them. And unlike a family Christmas lunch, I run less risk of offending the mother-in-law-of-cousin-in-law.

Dishes like a macaroni pie from the novel The Leopard (Il Gattopardo), by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.

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Like the Triumph of Gluttony, the idea of the pie has haunted my imagination since I read the book years ago:

“When three lackeys in green, gold and powder entered, each holding a great silver dish containing a towering macaroni pie, only four of the twenty at table avoided showing pleased surprise.

Good manners apart, though, the aspect of those monumental dishes of macaroni was worthy of the quivers of admiration they evoked. The burnished gold of the crusts, the fragrance of the sugar and cinnamon they exuded, were but preludes to the delights released from the interior when the knife broke the crust; first came a spice-laden haze, then chicken livers, hard boiled eggs, sliced ham, chicken and truffles in masses of piping hot, glistening macaroni to which the meat juice gave an exquisite hue of suede.”

Yes, another dish from a book, another Sicilian recipe. Must be something in the water there.

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Jazzin’ it up: blue cheese pesto

It seems time passes more and more quickly every year.

Australia is traditionally known for its long summer holiday, and I still remember a time when the summer months were leisurely, humid, and never seemed to end. But this year, we are still working overtime in the week before Christmas and are already lining up meetings in January (haven’t people heard about the Mayan calendar?). When I got home on Friday, I wanted something quick that will be on the dinner table in 20 minutes flat.

20121216181423-630Enter blue cheese pesto.

Home made pesto is always more flavoursome than store bought. But, a bit of blue cheese can make the pesto that much more exciting when the parmesan cheese in our fridge is a bit ‘meh’ (and maybe not actually from Emilia-Romagna….).

Blue cheese, such as gorgonzola dolce, adds a lingering tangy depth of taste, and surprises the diner every time – in a good way of course.

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