Easy dishes for the holidays

03 Dec 2015

Christmas is rapidly approaching and at first I thought about a small, but delicious Christmas menu. However, in Holland we first celebrate a holiday called 'Sinterklaas'. On the fifth of December everyone wants to spend quality time with their loved ones, and not spend the entire night in the kitchen. This is why I limit myself to two sauces, which you can use with different kinds of pasta. The pasta is then prepared quickly and a large dish on the table makes everything more festive! From personal experience I can say everyone enjoys pasta. An added reason is obviously that pasta can be eaten at the dinner table, but is also easily enjoyed on the couch - which is what happens at our place with Giovanni and Virginia. 
Below you will find the sauces we in Italy like to call 'condimenti'.

 Olive pesto

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Level of difficulty: easy

Photo: Salvatore Cascone

Ingredients:
150 gr. pitted black olives
100 gr. pistachio nuts
50 gr. fresh rocket salad
40 gr. freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Remove hard stems from the rocket and wash well. Drain the olives and cut them into small pieces. Grind up the pistachios. 

Put everything together in a blender and blend for about two minutes, add a couple spoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt and some Parmesan cheese. Blend for a few more minutes, until it has turned into a solid mixture. Add another 2 spoons of olive oil. 

Boil the pasta (spaghetti is extremely suitable for this sauce) and place the pasta, after draining, in a large dish. Add the olive pesto and stir well. Serve the pasta in large deep plates and add some more grated Parmesan according to taste.
The dish does well with a nice red wine like Dolcetto D´Alba Bricco Caramelli 2010 (Cantina Mossio Fratelli) or a Bardolino 2010 (Cantina Tantini Giovanna).

Puttanesca sauce      

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Level of difficulty: easy

Photo: Salvatore Cascone

Ingredients:

500 gr. ripened tomatoes
5 strips of anchovies
100 gr. pitted olives (green or black - it's up to you)
15-20 capers
2-3 spoonful extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic
2 pieces of red pepper (or more if you want)
Salt 
Pepper

Submerge the tomatoes in hot water for a few minutes, then peel them and blend them with your blender.
Add the oil to the pan, as soon as it has heated you ad the clove of garlic (whole) and the peppers.
Fry this until the garlic is somewhat browned. Add the blended tomatoes and anchovies, flatten these with a fork.
Add olives and capers, and boil this for another 30 minutes. If necessary you can add some more olive oil.

Boil the pasta (again: spaghetti is perfect) en mix, after draining, with the puttanesca sauce in a large dish.

Photo: Salvatore Cascone

With this paste we suggest you drink a lovely Chianti Rufina  Riserva 2007 (Cantina Fattoria del Lago) or a Soave Classico 2010 (Cantine Suavia).
Obviously we are curious to hear what you think about this recipe. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Please let us know.

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