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Found: Vintage Italian Postcard – Palermo 1905

Recipe: Pasta Piselli (Pasta with Peas)

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It’s the simplest recipes that sometimes hold the dearest spot in an Italian kid’s heart. Pasta piselli is a classic, simple dish that just about every Nonna serves up to grandkids for lunch or dinner, particularly for picky eaters. It’s hard to get little feet to stop running around long enough to get some food in them. From my memory, the conversation with Nonna goes something like this:

“What do you want to eat?”
“Nothing.”
“Do you want pasta?”
“No!”
“Do you want pasta piselli?”
“Ok!”

There are two versions of pasta piselli – with sauce and without – but we’ll start with the one my Nonna made. Adding peas to a regular pasta dish does something: it adds a pop of unexpected sweetness and, I image, is a great way to get vegetables into a little one. When you grow up, pasta piselli is a simple pleasure, an easy home cooking twist that infuses an ordinary dish with a little history and love (yes, all that from a few peas!). Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

Pasta Piselli
200 gr of pasta (100 grams per person)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
tomato sauce
Parmiggiano Reggiano

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No power? Italian food to the rescue!

Recipe: Limecello

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We need something to snap us out of this icy winter, don’t we? So far this January I’ve learned about, and experienced, ice storms, a polar vortex and frost quakes. I think that’s enough of ice and snow. Around this time of year I also start to miss all the fresh food from the garden and all the produce options from local farmers. I need something fresh and light to brighten up this grey January.

Last year, I shared a recipe for Limoncello, an intense Italian liqueur, that to me embodied everything fresh, bright and exciting about spring. Well, it’s time to get that feeling back, but with a twist. I’ve tried out the same recipe, but with limes. The result, another vivid and crisp flavour that you can serve up as an after-dinner drink or use in desserts (the friends I’ve shared this with agree that well-chilled, it is wonderful over ice cream).

Make sure to pick out the best, shiny limes for this recipe. While you only use the zest of the limes, don’t waste the juice! Use it to make lime-ade (like lemonade), vinaigrette for salads or granita (Italian ice dessert).

Limecello
12-14 good quality limes
1 litre of 90 proof alcohol 
900 grams sugar
2 litres of water

Guest post: Sharing migration stories from the Campania region

Recipe: Sicilian Anchovy Pasta and a Catelli Pasta Giveaway!

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I’m ending out 2013 with a two-in-one post: a traditional recipe that tries out something new AND a giveaway! Get ready to enter to win a great prize from Catelli Pasta!

We start by mixing the old with the new, just in time for New Years. With more and more frequency, we’re encountering dinner guests to our house who must avoid gluten (a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and some other grains). That means our quick go-to pasta recipes are out and our homemade pasta is definitely not an option. In order to enjoy our pasta dinners, we’ve had guests actually bring their own gluten-free pasta to dinner, which is unacceptable to us as hosts. So we’ve been searching out pasta options for our guests and Catelli recently shared their Catelli Gluten Free Pasta with me to try. It is made with rice, corn and quinoa and is produced in a dedicated gluten free facility, so I can guarantee my guests a meal they don’t have to worry about.

A good pasta has to hold up to a traditional recipe, so I tried it with Sicilian Anchovy Pasta. The pasta definitely has the right taste, it’s very close to traditional white/wheat pasta, so you and your guests shouldn’t notice a taste difference. The cooking time is much quicker than “regular” pasta so be sure to use the timing on the box and keep it “al dente” (still firm, but not hard). As with most gluten-free pastas, when overcooked, the pasta may begin to break apart. Time it well, like with this recipe below, and you’ll have no problems.

If you like this recipe, or have one of your own you want to try out, you are in luck!

The good folks at Catelli are offering two lucky readers of this blog a Catelli prize pack: 12 boxes of pasta for you to enjoy at home!

To enter to win: Leave a comment on this blog post about what new recipes or ingredients you are going to try in the new year by January 6.

Want a second entry? If you are a subscriber, or sign up now to be a subscriber to An Italian-Canadian Life, your name will be entered in the draw twice. Use the Subscribe form at the top, right hand side of the blog (enter the same email address that you use to leave your comment).

A winner will be chosen, using a random generator, on January 6 at midnight. Enjoy the recipe and I’m looking forward to your entries!

Sicilian Anchovy Pasta
340g pasta (I used Catelli Gluten-Free Spaghetti and served four)
2 cloves of garlic
10 anchovy fillets
dried hot pepper flakes
olive oil
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

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