Strong flavors and simple ingredients for a first course full of traditions prepared with sun-dried tomatoes from Calabria and capers from Salina, everything harvested by hand
Nobody wants to cook coming back home after a long day spent at the seaside relaxing. But the evening breeze, the table set on the balcony and a good glass of wine invite us to prepare a satisfying dish for both eyes and palate.
Our solution is an express recipe, easy to prepare and with very simple ingredients: let’s take Calabrian dried tomatoes, Salina capers, breadcrumbs, a pepper and a sprig of parsley out of the cupboard. Here we have our protagonists, everything is ready.
Tomatoes kissed by Calabrian sun
Calabria is the first producer of dried tomatoes - followed by Puglia and Sicily. This region has the advantage of having a constant temperate climate that allows the tomatoes to dry without undergoing sudden changes in temperature, therefore preventing them from burning.
Sun, wind and salt are the only essential ingredients to create this excellent product: drying tomatoes is a ritual and an artisanal process; many steps are taken without calculating any doses and temperatures, but only relying on own experience. The humidity, the quality of the tomatoes and the amount of salt to be used have to be analysed every day. It’s hard work, impossible to do without passion or constancy. The result is a product with a strong taste and an intense red color, perfect to be tasted both cooked or raw.
Salina capers, our gems: a long tradition of love and passion
The caper with its shrub and its beautiful flowers is the protagonist of the landscape of Salina, in Sicily. You can’t admire the view of the island without realizing that the Italian production of capers is concentrated in this place. The harvesting takes place from May to August, twice a day with a break during the hottest hours.
There are no machines to make this job easier, it’s a handmade job done with love and dedication. The harvesting begins at five o'clock in the morning and it continues with the drafting of freshly picked fruits on jute sheets placing them in a cool place to prevent them from blooming before selecting. In a few hours the larger buds are separated from the smaller ones and then salted.
During this phase the caper has to be taken care of, it undergoes a process of transfer from one container to another to prevent heat and salt from damaging it.
8 dried tomatoes
16 capers in dry salt
1 garlic clove
1 sprig of parsley
half a red pepper
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
salt to taste
The dressing of this tasty dish can be prepared during pasta cooking time. Let’s start cooking our Antonio Amato Penne Rigate in plenty of salted water.
Fry a clove of garlic with extra virgin olive oil EVO in a pan, then add the breadcrumbs with the chopped parsley to create a creamy sauce and mix all the flavors. Then add the capers after having rinsed them in cold water to get rid of the excess salt, the dried tomatoes cut into strips and half a pepper cut into small chunks.
Cook your pasta, then drain it and pour it into the pan, increase the heat, add half a ladle of cooking water and stir it well with the sauce. In a few simple steps your dish is ready to be enjoyed!
Chef Pasquale Torrente's recipe
08 August 2019
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