A journey of flavors between two regions kissed by the sun for a recipe created in the shadow of two volcanoes.
Before starting our sea journey between Campania and Sicily, we thought about a recipe that could combine the flavors of these two beautiful regions kissed by the sun. These two places share ancient traditions, intense and decisive flavors and the deliciousness of many preparations.
The raw materials protagonists of this dish come from two cities with another feature in common: they are both in the shadow of impressive volcanoes. Naples with its picturesque Vesuvio and Catania with its Etna, UNESCO world heritage site. We have a small basket with a few ingredients: a bunch of herbs to flavor our dish, our Antonio Amato pasta and Amalfi Coast lemon with its thick and shiny peel.
Fishermen, the flavor of the sea and baskets lifted up and down from balconies: this is the soul of Neapolitan characteristic streets.
To buy our octopus, we directly asked for the help of a fisherman in the place where this deeply rooted craft has its ancient origins.
Today it’s not easy to become a good fisherman, in spite of the evolution of fishing techniques. The main requirements are time, patience and ability to endure fatigue. You need to know about all the skills you can’t read in a book: how to steer a boat, all about wind and sea and how to use the tools of the trade.
In Naples the secrets of the fishermen are kept in their faces and in their eyes, marked by the sun and the salt: only a great love for the sea makes possible to sustain all the effort spent in the sunshine and during waiting nights.
The sun is shining at our arrival in Naples, accompanied by the screams of the fishermen and the baskets lifted down from the windows. We are lucky, today the fishing is good: we choose a still alive octopus with its bright and lively color. The fisherman cleans it with quick and safe movements while all we do is stand by and watch.
Welcome to Bronte, the land of the proud and tenacious pistachio.
We are now ready to sail to reach the land where the green gold is born, Bronte pistachio. This plant expresses the features of its land: proud and tenacious, it grows in volcanic and hostile soils, it fights the drought with its roots and it’s so strong that it can break through the lava rock.
The Consortium for the Protection of Bronte Pistachio was created by a group of producers and entrepreneurs in 2004, with the aim to protect the tradition and the quality of this precious product (recognized as Protected Designation of Origin since 2009).
Before starting cooking, we should stock up on pistachios so we take the opportunity to ask a local farmer how to recognize “Pistacchio Verde di Bronte PDO”. In addition, we should check three other characteristics: the shape of the shelled pistachio should be elongated and oval; its color should be intense green with purple shades on its skin and finally, it should have a basic sweet taste. We are now ready to cook and enjoy a real explosion of fragrances.
INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PEOPLE:
600 g octopus
30 g pistachios
white wine to taste
parsley to taste
basil to taste
mint to taste
2 bay leaves
salt to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil EVO to taste
Let’s start from the longest preparation: how to cook the octopus. Boil it in plenty of salted water adding bay leaves and lemon peel. To make the tentacles curl, we follow the traditional cooking. Submerge and remove the octopus in water three times holding it by its head and then boil it for about 20/25 minutes. Be careful to remove the foam forming on the surface and wait for the water to cool before draining it.
Then chop all the herbs (parsley, mint and basil) to give freshness to the dish, in addition to the lemon. Cut the octopus into small pieces and mix them together with the chopped herbs.
In the meanwhile cook your Antonio Amato Spaghetti n. 5 in plenty of salted water brought to a boil.
It’s time to stir the octopus in the pan. Brown a clove of garlic - then you should remove it - in a pan with Antonio Amato extra virgin olive oil EVO. Stir the octopus adding lemon juice and salt, pour white wine and cook for a few minutes. The pistachios, previously roughly chopped, should be roasted in a separate pan.
Drain your pasta “al dente” and let it flavor directly in the pan with the sauce, adding some cooking water.
Ready for serving: serve your Spaghetti with a grated lemon zest and a sprinkling of pistachio grains.
Just the last tip: enjoy your dish drinking a good glass of fresh white wine!
Chef Pasquale Torrente's recipe
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