Happy new year (buon anno) to all! I love the start of the year. It is an opportunity to say goodbye to what has been and to plan new ventures. 2015 promises to be an exciting year for me. I hope to be repeating the highly enjoyable seasonal cooking classes/lunches at Prospect Cottage and running classes in my new kitchen space at home in Melbourne’s inner north. Camera in hand (on a tripod actually), I will be trawling through my mother’s old black and white photos, so I can take high quality copies of them to use in blog posts and for other ventures I plan to pursue this year. I have also changed the look of my blog (which I last did this time last year), which makes greater use of images and a simpler format making it easier for you to find old recipes. And there is a planned trip to Italy in early March/April, which I am starting to get very excited about. One of the main reasons for going is to visit my zio Livio on his birthday on 21 March, when he will be turning 91. Amazing really. He had movie star looks in the 1940s and still looks terrific, forever smiling and hopeful. I wrote about him a couple of years back when I was staying with him and my aunt Dina and I shared his typical breakfast.
He is not able to leave his house these days and zia Dina has to do all the cooking, cleaning and errands, which is not easy as she is in her 80s. I dearly wish Australia was closer to Italy so I could visit more frequently – I would be back for a weekend every month! I hope to be able to spend lots of time with them when I visit and perhaps help zia Dina with meal preparation. Zio Livio adores seafood with pasta so I might go to the local pescheria and buy some vongole (clams) to make this recipe, though I will need to go easy on the garlic. Zio Livio, being born in the Veneto region, has a complete aversion to garlic – which seems strange for an Italian but if you look at Venetian cuisine closely, you will note that garlic is used sparingly.
More about the classes in the next few weeks but in the meantime, here is the recipe for pippies with fettuccine – feel free to omit the garlic if you are a Veneta!
Fettuccine with pippies
1 kg (2.2lb) fresh pippies (or you can use clams)
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
4 anchovies, finely chopped
1-2 dried red chillies
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tin peeled tomatoes (including their juice)
handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
350 g (approx 12 oz) fettuccine (fresh home made or dried)
Clean the pippies by soaking them in a bowl of water for around 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large lidded frypan, place the garlic, anchovies and chilli with a good glug of olive oil and cook on medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the drained pippies and the wine and turn the heat up high. After a minute or so, reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan and allow to steam for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for the required time. Whilst the pasta is cooking, check the shellfish and remove any unopened shells. Complete the sauce by adding the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and toss in the pan with the pippies, scatter on some parsley, toss and serve. Drizzle on more olive oil or garnish with additional parsley if desired.