Sunday Recipe: Spaghettoni and Cauliflower Cream, the Light Taste of Summer in the Dish

The beginning of Summer is officially round the corner and the weather is a bit bizarre sometimes, any way everything looks more limpid in front of our eyes and we inhale fresh air for reinvigorating in body and soul. The rain is also a blessing for plants that gratefully share their daily ration of nourishment. Lively voices of young children, who play in the small squared garden, and those of grown-ups, who lazily sat on the benches, entertaining themselves in small conversations with their own neighbours, come and go out of the open windows. In the kitchen, as music background to sip slowly like a persistent and tannic ruby wine, a soft ‘Mediterranean Sundance’, magistrally played by the guitars of Paco de Lucìa and Al di Meola, becomes the authentic frame for our Sunday recipe. In the fridge, a small cauliflower peekaboos everytime the door is open, so it might be a good idea to cook it and prepare a nice sauce for our spaghettoni.

Let’s make a vegetable bouillon with carrots, selery, onion and tomatoes: chop everything and start gently frying in extravergin olive oil for two or three minutes, then add also some water and let boil. Again, cauliflowers will go in the boiling water until they will have a soft consistency and the bouillon will be reduced. Then, mash the cauliflowers and make a velvety cream by using the minipimer. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper and melt small pieces of cheese with the fragrance of truffle in the cream. At this proper, for this occasion, I have used  Castello® white with truffle, it has an excellent taste. Besides, it is necessary to underline the fact that there is no crème fraîche in the recipe and this means that each taste is enhanced in a natural and lighter way.

Cook Spaghettoni for the right time suggested on the package, in order them to be cooked ‘al dente’ and, after having strained them, serve on a plate with a couple of spoons of cream and thyme for decoration of the dish. By the way, check whether it is necessary to add some water from the cooking process of pasta: in this case, it might not be necessary, since the cream has been prepared with bouillon and it should be moist and velvety. The taste is really good and it is worth to try.

I hope everybody can enjoy this recipe and wish a good start for the new week!

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Route of the ‘Cipolliane’: an Amazing Adventure in the Prehistory

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Last Sunday morning, our destination was the majestic Ciolo inlet: 30 meters above the sea level, a precious case, which represents an amazing study of the Upper Paleolithic, and its bridge, a modern architecture and outstretched view in front of the Ionian Sea, in the regional natural park ‘Costa Otranto-Santa Maria di Leuca and Bosco di Tricase’, in the deep South of Apulia. From Santa Maria di Leuca, it takes only few minutes of driving to get there. The promise for nice mild weather was fulfilled. Totò, our eco-guide from ‘Avanguardie’, introduced the ‘Cipolliane’ route and, all of us, a quite large number of people, already were looking forward the pleasure of the exploration. The first part of the trekking was by the sea.

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The eyes in direction of the horizon, toward distant lands: only the sea and the white smooth rocks could tell, in the long course of million years, the transit of creatures, human beings and goods by whatever transport was available. Indeed, our feet were travelling all over history and prehistory standing on a coral reef where it was possible to notice, for example, traces of minerals like glauconite, sedimentary deposits of corals and their shelves, etc. Just for a moment, we had the awareness of a quick glance coming from the sea and it was not far from where we were. We distinctly heard a splash in the water and when we tried to follow with the sight, ‘something’ had already provoked a whirlpool that spread out in concentric rings on the surface, while a tail, followed by foam and bubbles, was disappearing underwater with swiftness. Totò explained us that once the place was home for the Mediterranean monk seal and, because of the presence of the human being, nowadays, it is more rare for this specimen to live by the coast. Anyway, as it is reported by local news, it seems that recently the monk seal has been seen again and again in the area. If it is true, the choice to rebuild its own natural habitat there should be respected letting this specimen to live in tranquillity.

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Following a narrow winding path, we then reached what it could be defined as an amazing work of art sculpted by the hand of nature, a grotto that invited to contemplation, about 10 meters above the sea level: it could remind of a natural cathedral and its motherly arms in order to show us all its mysterious beauty. 

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Our trekking adventure went on through well preserved terraces used for the cultivation of olive groves and, in the end, we followed a path along an ancient canyon rich of vegetation that took us up on the hill first and again to the bridge in front of the sea. 

Many thanks and compliments to ‘Avanguardie’ for the splendid excursion they designed for us.