Greetings from the lovely island of Elba!
|Frati e sfogliatelle: a typical breakfast|
|View from our living room|
In the next days I will be taking you on a virtual tour of the island and its local foods. I will also post some step-by-step recipes of my mother in law, as promised.
This evening we had paccheri (a type of large maccheroni) with fresh vongole and bottarga di muggine, a delicacy in Italy and practically dried fish roe. It is grated and has a very salty flavor. If you are not a fish lover, you probably won't warm up to it that easily, but if you are one for the creatures of the sea, you will fall in love. It is like a taste of the Mediterranean, in all of its brininess. Bottarga is usually from tuna (typically Sicilian) or muggine (typically from Sardinia). Bottarga di muggine is more delicate in flavor and more expensive.
Ingredients (4/5 people)
1kg vongole with shells
1 bottarga di muggine
approx. 6 cherry tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
a handful of parsley
a splash of white wine
Put the clams in a bowl of cold water to clean them. Let them sit for an hour or more and then rinse very well. Place them in pan and cook until they start opening, then take them out of their shells. You can also leave them in the shell, or take most of them out of their shells and leave some to garnish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cover the bottom of a clean, large pan with olive oil and brown a few cloves of garlic. My mother in law kept the pieces pretty big and then took them out but you can chop it up if you like your daily dose. Throw in the clams and let them cook. Add the parsley. Then chop up the cherry tomatoes and throw them in. Add a splash of white wine. While the sauce is cooking, grate the fish roe. Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce and then add in the bottarga. Add some fresh pepper and serve immediately with a glass of chilled white wine.