A mo­ment in time: lunch in a Hunter Val­ley olive grove

CHEF AR­MANDO PER­CUOCO IN­VITES YOU TO STOP BY FOR AN AL­FRESCO LUNCH IN HIS HUNTER VAL­LEY OLIVE GROVE.

Country Style - - CONTENTS -

TWENTY YEARS AGO, Ital­ian-born chef Ar­mando Per­cuoco planted a grove of sil­very-leaved olive trees at Val­ley­field, his prop­erty in the NSW Hunter Val­ley. To­day, the fruit from these trees are used to make fresh, grassy-flavoured olive oil for his Syd­ney restau­rant, Buon Ri­cordo. There’s also an or­chard that pro­duces figs, pears and or­anges for mar­malade, and Ar­mando grows herbs, chill­ies and veg­eta­bles for his home kitchen, where he cooks sim­ple, sea­sonal fare like this tu­betti con zucca. Buon Ri­cordo is at 108 Boundary Street, Padding­ton, NSW. (02) 9360 6729; buon­ri­cordo.com.au

PASTA WITH PUMP­KIN

Serves 4 500g tu­betti (or any small pasta) 2 cups vegetable stock or wa­ter ⅓ cup olive oil 2 gar­lic cloves, peeled, crushed 1kg Queens­land blue pump­kin, de­seeded, peeled, cut into 3cm cubes 1 long red chilli, de­seeded, finely chopped ½ bunch sage, leaves picked ½ bunch flat-leaf pars­ley, leaves picked ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, to serve finely grated parmesan, to serve pur­ple sage leaves, to gar­nish (op­tional) Cook pasta in a saucepan of boil­ing salted wa­ter ac­cord­ing to packet di­rec­tions or un­til al dente. Drain. Place stock in a saucepan and bring to boil over a high heat. Set aside. Heat oil in a large, deep fry­ing pan over a medium heat. Cook gar­lic, stir­ring, for 2 min­utes or un­til golden. Add pump­kin and stir to coat in oil mix­ture. Stir in chilli. Add enough hot stock to just cover pump­kin. Bring to boil. Cook for 8 min­utes or un­til pump­kin is ten­der. Us­ing a slot­ted spoon, trans­fer half of pump­kin to a bowl. Cook re­main­ing pump­kin mix­ture, topping up cooking liq­uid if nec­es­sary, for 5 min­utes or un­til pump­kin be­gins to fall part. Add pasta and stir to com­bine. Dice re­served pump­kin, and finely chop sage and pars­ley. Add to pasta and stir to com­bine. Cook for 2 min­utes or un­til heated through. Sea­son to taste. Trans­fer to a serv­ing bowl. Driz­zle with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and sprin­kle with parmesan. Gar­nish with pur­ple sage.

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BRIGID ARNOTT STYLING JOHN MANGILA

Al­fresco din­ing is a year-round af­fair at Val­ley­field, the Hunter Val­ley prop­erty of chef Ar­mando Per­cuoco and his wife Gemma Cun­ning­ham. Un­der the olive trees, the cou­ple cover an old tres­tle ta­ble with linen cloths for a shared feast that might in­clude a rus­tic pasta dish, home­grown fi­figs, good bread served with their own olive oil for dip­ping, and plenty of red wine from a favourite lo­cal win­ery.

At his Hunter Val­ley prop­erty, chef Ar­mando Per­cuoco likes to turn home­grown pro­duce into hearty meals.

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