Rebranded brussels sprouts a winner
AKiwi restaurant with an English chef, cooking delicious Italian recipes. Who would have thought? Opening their doors in Wanaka just days before Christmas in 2012, Francesca’s Italian Kitchen has been a roaring success, bringing the love of good Italian food to the souther region of New Zealand.
Three years after opening in Wanaka they found a site in Christchurch and have since opened up in Dunedin.
Now Francesca Voza and James Stapley are sharing their food with the rest of New Zealand, through their cookbook Francesca’s Italian Kitchen.
Following the ethos of Italian cooking — using what is fresh and delicious in closest proximity to home and cherishing time over a long meal with friends and family —
Francesca’s Italian Kitchen is full of delicious rustic fare. Following is one of the recipes:
ORECCHIETTE with CAVOLINI
This was a challenge — we were getting beautiful brussels sprouts here in the autumn and winter, and wanted to use them. We loved the idea of brussels sprouts and chestnuts with pasta, so this dish was born. No one ordered it when we called them brussels sprouts, so we employed some artistic licence and gave them the Italian name for baby cabbage, cavolini — and now it sells like crazy!
■ 12 large brussels sprouts
■ 150g pancetta, diced
■ 1⁄3 cup olive oil
■ 2 Tbsp chopped fresh garlic
■ 1 cup roughly chopped cooked and peeled chestnuts
■ 450g good-quality dried orecchiette
■ zest and juice of 2 lemons
■ 1 medium bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped
■ pecorino, to garnish
Prepare the brussels sprouts by removing the outer leaves and setting aside for a garnish. Shave the brussels sprouts very finely on a mandolin or as thin as you can manage with a sharp knife.
In a large pan over a low heat, warm the olive oil for 30 seconds, then saute´ the pancetta until crispy. Add the shaved brussels sprouts, garlic and chestnuts and very gently cook for about 2 minutes.
Put a large saucepan of salted water over a high heat, and bring to the boil. Add the orecchiette to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions. Twenty seconds before the pasta is ready, add to the pasta water the outer leaves of the brussels sprouts you set aside earlier. Drain the pasta and leaves into a colander, reserving a little of the pasta water.
Add the pasta to the pan of brussels sprouts and pancetta and toss together with the lemon zest and juice and the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide among warm bowls and grate over some pecorino. Serve immediately.
— Serves 6
Francesca’s Italian Kitchen, by Francesca Voza and James Stapley (left), Penguin RandomHouse, $50