My tastes from Italy: Abruzzo, Molise & Marche

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ABRUZZO & MOLISE

ABRUZZO & MOLISE

The Abruzzo-Molisana cuisine is the expression of ancient peasant traditions. For centuries chilli, called “red elf”, has been the king of every recipe. Pay attention to dishes you order in restaurants, even if the meal looks innocuous! People say that chilli’s fire heats the long winters. Have you seen another Land of Fire besides Patagonia? If not, visit Abruzzo and Molise.

But red is not the only colour of these regions. Here also marvellous yellow saffron is grown. The third colour is green. The National park around the Gran Sasso Mountain teems wild life: bears, wolves, deers, otters and golden eagles.

SPAGHETTI ARBUZZO MOLISANI

500 g spaghetti

1 onion

10 pumpkin flowers

a pinch of parsley

a pinch of saffron

grated pecorino or parmesan cheese

Brown the chopped onion in a large saucepan, while the pasta is cooking. Add cut pumpkin flowers and parsley, stirring for 5 minutes. Dissolve the saffron in a cup of warm water and pour it in with the other ingredients. Drain the pasta in a colander and pour into the sauce, stirring gently. Serve with pecorino cheese on top.

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MARCHE

Rolling hills separate Marche from Umbria. It is a forest land of mystic places. The region faces the Adriatic Sea, with lovely fishing villages surrounded by centuries old olive trees.

The name of the region dates from the time of the Emperor Carlo Magno, and means “border land”.

The Roman Catholic Church has governed Marche for centuries, leaving us many beautiful Cistercensi Abbeys.

Urbino is worth a visit, a real treasury of art, it is called “the ideal town”, well integrated in its rural landscape. In the village of Recanati, where the great poet Giacomo Leopardi was born, you can lose the sense of the time, looking for the places which inspired his wonderful poetry.

OLIVE RIPIENE ALL’ASCOLANA

100 g bacon

100 minced pork

1 tablespoon tomato sauce

1 slice of bread

3 eggs

1 lemon

1 cup of stock

40 big green stoned olives

50 g grated parmesan cheese

Flour

Bread crumbs

Brown the bacon. Add minced meat stirring gently. Pour in a cup of stock with tomato sauce. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove and mix the sauce with the bread, an egg, cheese, salt and pepper. Make a dough. Put it inside the olives. Turn the olives in flour and bread crumbs. Deep fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve very hot.

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