We’re in the mood for some piquant piccoli piatti
150g dried dischi volanti pasta (or similar) 1 tbs olive oil 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced 250g mixture of any fresh mushrooms, cut into large pieces salt and pepper 2 tbs crème fraîche 25g parmesan, finely grated Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, then drain and set aside, reserving a cupful of the cooking liquid. Heat a large pan over a medium flame. Add the oil and the garlic and cook for a minute, stirring to prevent the garlic from browning, Add the mushrooms, season well with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 8 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with two tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid, the crème fraîche, and half the grated parmesan. Toss well together, season if necessary and serve with the remaining parmesan scattered on top. Serves 4-6
700g wild boar shoulder (or braising beef), trimmed and cut into 3cm cubes salt and black pepper 4 tbs light olive oil 100g pancetta, diced into 1cm cubes 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced 2 tsp juniper berries, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar 2 bay leaves 450ml robust red wine 400g can chopped tomatoes 2 tbs tomato purée 2 thyme sprigs pappardelle pasta grated parmesan, to serve Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a heavy pan or casserole over a medium to high flame. Fry the meat until nicely browned on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the same pan and fry the pancetta for a few minutes until nicely browned and the fat rendered. Add the onion and carrots, then cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft and golden. Add the garlic, juniper and bay leaves, then cook for another couple of minutes. Return the meat to the pan and add the wine, chopped tomatoes, purée and thyme. Bring to a simmer, then cover loosely with a lid and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water, then drain. Gently toss the pasta and sauce together and serve with grated parmesan. Serves 16
edible rice paper 320g nuts (a mixture of almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios, according to preference) 210g dried fruit (a mixture of candied peel, figs, apricots and raisins, according to preference), chopped 120g plain flour, plus 1 tbs 1 tbs cocoa powder 3 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground coriander ¼ tsp chilli powder ¼ tsp grated nutmeg ¼ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp salt black pepper 180g sugar 200g honey icing sugar, to finish Line the base and sides of a 21-23cm shallow, round baking tin with edible rice paper. Put the nuts in a large frying pan and toast over a medium flame for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Heat the oven to 160°C. Place the nuts and dried fruit in a large bowl. Sift in the 120g of flour and the cocoa, then add the spices, salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Stir well to combine. Put the sugar and honey in a pan set over a medium flame and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat a little and allow the mixture to bubble for a few minutes, then pour it over the nut mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon into the tin and level the surface with a spoon. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour and press down, using the base of a heavy jar, to make the surface flat. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool, then dust with icing sugar. Serve in slices. Makes 15-20
1 baguette, sliced into 1cm-thick discs approx 100ml olive oil 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut Heat the oven to 180°c. Brush the bread slices lightly with oil on both sides. Arrange on a large baking sheet and place in the hot oven for 12-15 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and lightly rub each piece with the garlic clove. Makes 15-20
250g edamame beans 1 small garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped 3 tbs olive oil juice of ½ lemon large handful of wild rocket leaves, chopped 2 tbs grated parmesan salt and pepper Cook the edamame beans in boiling, salted water for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Drain and cool. Place in a food processor with the garlic and process to a rough paste. Transfer to a bowl, then add the olive oil, lemon juice, rocket and parmesan, and mix together well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more lemon juice if necessary. Spread on the crostini toasts and serve. Makes 8-10
3 red or green tomatoes (or both), thinly sliced 2 mozzarella balls, thinly sliced salt and black pepper olive oil fresh basil leaves Place a tomato slice on a crostini toast, followed by a mozzarella slice, then another tomato slice. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil. Add a basil leaf to serve. Makes 1
25ml London dry gin 25ml Campari 25ml vermouth rosso orange slice, to serve Measure the spirits into a jigger. Stir well, pour over ice in a glass and serve with a slice of orange.