The chef, educator and culinary consultant at Anna Tasca Lanza, Anna Feldman shares three seasonal recipes for right now.
A curiosity towards what we consume is something we encourage at Anna Tasca Lanza. This place still has a feeling of realness to it, complicated but real, and if you stay here long enough, you begin to understand the connection with the living world around you, and that to learn how to cook in and from a place takes time and patience, but generally leads to delicious results.
Pasta con I Cavoluzzi di Vigna (Pasta with Wild Bitter Greens)
400 grams spaghetti
½ kilo mixed bitter greens, such as dandelion, mustard greens, broccoli leaves, kale and/or swiss chard, well cleaned
60 ml olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed
Pinch of chili flakes
Toasted breadcrumbs or Ricotta salata, optional
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the greens whole, about 10 minutes, until very soft. Drain, reserving the cooking water if it is clean and free of any debris. Otherwise, put a new pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When the greens are cool enough to handle, chop them roughly.
In a large saute pan, warm the oil with the onion and cook over low-medium heat until the onion is translucent, at least 5 minutes.
Add the garlic clove and allow to barely brown. Add the anchovies and break them up with a wooden spoon until they dissolve into the oil. Remove the garlic clove at this point, if desired.
Add the chopped cooked greens and a pinch of chili flakes and stir to combine. Set the flame to low.
Meanwhile, cook your pasta until al dente. Pour a ladle of cooking water into the saute pan with the greens, increase the heat a bit, and stir to combine. Reserve a bit of extra cooking water.
When the pasta is done, drain and add to the saute pan. Toss with the greens for a minute or so, adding more cooking water if it seems too dry, and serve immediately, topped with toasted breadcrumbs or grated ricotta salata, if desired.
Melecotogne al Vino
(Quinces Roasted in Wine)
Most people don’t realize it can get quite cold in Sicily, especially in the mountains where we are. During the colder months, we enjoy a warming dessert like wine-poached quince with spices, and a less warming but very delicious accompaniment of sheep’s milk gelato.
1/2 bottle of red wine
50 grams granulated sugar
1 small cinnamon or a pinch of powdered cinnamon
A few slices of orange peel
Vanilla gelato (optional)
Preheat the oven to 175˚C.
Peel and core the quinces then cut them into wedges. Lay the wedges in a small baking tray.
Cover with the wine (it should go a bit more than halfway up the
quinces) and add the cinnamon, orange peel and cloves. Sprinkle the sugar over
Bake until cooked
through, about 30-40 minutes.
Test for doneness with a cake tester or paring knife. The quinces should be completely softened.
When cooked, strain off the cooking liquid and reduce in a saucepan,
if desired, adding extra sugar if it seems too tart.
Serve the quinces with the reduced sauce and a scoop of good vanilla
Cubaita (Sesame Seed Brittle)
70 grams granulated sugar
30 grams honey
100 grams sesame seeds or almonds
Melt the sugar with the honey in a small pot over a medium flame, stirring with a wooden spoon or a heat proof plastic spatula until it starts to caramelize around the edges of the pan.
Add the sesame seeds or almonds, stirring well so that they are completely coated. Continue stirring for quite a while, until you see the sesame turning slightly golden. Be careful they don’t burn.
Quickly pour the mixture onto one half of a sheet of parchment paper, folding the other half of the paper on top. Then use a rolling pin to flatten it into a height of about 2 cm.
Let it cool down, and then break it into chunks.
Alternatively, while it is still warm, cut it with a sharp knife into regular pieces. Allow to cool down completely before consuming. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.