Two years ago at the end of May I was in Palermo with Fabrizio for a master's degree in digital marketing. Fabrizio had booked a wonderful hotel right opposite the Teatro Massimo and every day we took a pleasant walk through the filth to get to the course venue. The walk was still pleasant because Palermo is incredibly beautiful despite the filth that pervades it. To me, who love Sicily as if I had been born thereIt tears at my heart to see its most important city raped by a third-world hygienic situation. I must say that although I have travelled the length and breadth of Sicily, what I saw in Palermo I only saw there. When the conference was over, we arrived at the airport quite early, and passing through the bookstore a book struck me from the cover: "Octopus and Swordfish" of Domenico Ottaviano, recipes and gastronomic adventures in the seas of southern Italy (you can buy it on amazon HERE). I don't like cookbooks, but when I saw this one I fell in love! To buy it just for the photos and the graphics which are something exceptional and out of the ordinary... and indeed I bought it for that reason. I am not used to following recipes from books and I admit that this one from the linguine turnip tops, anchovies and pine nuts was the first time I tried to make a recipe found in a book.

linguine turnip tops

I always kept this book open in the kitchen more for show, until my husband Francesco asked me to draw a recipe 'by lot' and try making it. So Saturday lunchtime we drew the 'spaghetti with creamed turnip tops and spicy pine nuts with anchovy colatura"(from the book Octopus and Swordfish, page 132) and I have reinterpreted the original recipe with a personal touch. First of all, the ingredients are for 4 people... and it talks about 320g of spaghetti. Ohibò, I if I give my husband 80g of spaghetti he thinks it's the forkful to tell if the pasta is cooked....😝

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Linguine with turnip tops, anchovies and pine nuts: the original recipe with my touch

Ingredients - original from the book Octopus & Sword

for 4 persons (diet)

  • 320g of spaghetti
  • 500g turnip tops
  • 80g pine nuts
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of anchovy colatura from Cetara
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • fresh chilli
  • fine salt

Ingredients - my version

for 2 persons (gluttonous)

  • 250g large spaghetti or linguine
  • 500g turnip tops
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 6/8 anchovies in oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • dried chilli Chipotle
  • rock salt
  • grated rind of half an orange

Here's a list of ingredients I selected for you that you can buy on Amazon... those Cantabrian anchovies are the absolute bomb at a great price! Ah, I recommend the pine nuts: avoid like the plague those from Tunisia or Russia processed in China that you find around, always look to buy an Italian product. Our pine nuts are special... they cost a bit, but rather save on the dose not the quality! If you already have everything scroll down for the recipe!

To make the recipe, I followed practically the same procedure as in the book. Having run out of anchovy colatura, I preferred to use anchovies in oil. The recipe differs only because if you use colatura you do not need to melt the anchovies in oil.

  1. Clean the turnip greens, i.e. select those with the greenest and thinnest stalks. Always discard the leaves that are turning yellow and the very thick stems. Boil the turnip greens in salted boiling water for 8 minutes, then cool them in a bowl with water and ice to preserve their bright colour.
  2. Toast pine nuts in a non-stick frying pan or wok with fresh chilli pepper or the tip of a teaspoon of chipotle flakes for three to four minutes.
  3. In the same non-stick frying pan where you toasted the pine nuts, put the extra virgin olive oil and brown the chopped garlic with the tip of a teaspoon of chilli pepper. Melt 5/6 anchovies over low heat.
  4. Blend with an immersion blender (on offer on Amazon the new version of my old Moulinex Minipimer which I bought in 2006 when I moved out on my own... and it still works!!!) the turnip tops, adding a ladle of cooking water if necessary until smooth. If you haven't cleaned the turnip greens well, you may end up with fibrous filaments near the blades that are difficult to chew, so be sure to discard them.
  5. Cook the large spaghetti (I recommend the Felicetti Monograno Valentino) or Afeltra linguine for about 3/4 of the cooking time. For example, if they are cooked for 12 minutes, cook them for 8 minutes and then finish cooking them in the pan with the oil, garlic, chilli pepper and melted anchovies, adding a little cooking water when necessary (like a risotto). I recommend cooking the pasta in the water from the turnip tops.
  6. Add the cream of turnip greens to the pan and mix well.
  7. Serve by adding the toasted pine nuts and 1 generous spoonful of anchovy colatura and a fillet. Scratch some edible orange peel which will degrease and perfume the dish. Be careful to grate only the coloured part and not the white so as not to have a bitter taste.

Linguine with creamed turnip tops, spicy pine nuts and anchovy colatura: what wine to go with it?

This is not a cooking blog, but an educational wine blog. So to share a delicious recipe with you without talking about food-wine pairing is impossible for me. First of all, food-wine pairing is something broad that must be approached from several fronts: the first is precisely the didactic aspect that you can verify by studying the AIS Graphical Matching Card. Then there is personal taste and sensitivity ...

For this first course I find a rosé wine perfect, even better sparkling wine. That is why I decided to try the Caterina Rosé of Podere Casanovawas one of the last wines I missed from this Montepulciano winery that I wrote about beautifully in this article. I will be honest as always: Podere Casanova makes splendid wines and this rosé sparkling wine is not the pinnacle of its production (but that's normal, we are in Montepulciano not Franciacorta!), especially if we look at the price-quality ratio. However it is drunk very willingly and the bottle finishes quickly during the meal. Long Charmat Method sparkling wine made from Sangiovese and Chardonnay grapes with low residual sugar around 6g/l characterised by creamy bubbles and good structure.

Linguine with turnip tops, spicy pine nuts and anchovy colatura is first and foremost a greasy dish because of the anchovy colatura or anchovies in oil, oil and pine nuts themselves. The pine nuts also give a distinct sweetness, a slight balsamic note and a perceptible fattiness. The anchovies give savouriness. Turnip greens, if cooked correctly, do not overdo the bitter tendency and round off the taste. Then there is the chilli... assuming, therefore, to harmonise the sweet tendency of the pine nuts with the bitter one of the turnip tops, the main thing is to go for unctuousness and fatness by choosing a rosé bubble that adds alcohol and tannin to the effervescence. The Caterina Rosé paired perfectly because it also had an elegant and discreet aromaticity that enhanced the dish.

For any recipe tips, scroll down and write me a comment!

Cheers 🍷

Chiara

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