Category Archives: Recipe of the Month

HALFWAY ‘PASTITSIO’

HALFWAY ‘PASTITSIO’

miso-pastitsio

When my brothers and I were kids, my mum would make pastitsio – a Cypriot speciality, delicious served warm from the oven, or as a cold meze, cut into cubes. Her recipe called for a simple mix of cooked pasta tubes, minced pork and parsley, sometimes with a hint of ground cinnamon, all topped with a white sauce before being baked in the oven. There was always some left over pasta and mince at the halfway stage that we would scoff down in a shot, so this recipe pays homage to that. While I was working on developing the recipes for this book, my children, Eva, Lex and Luca made the best tasters, and this particular idea passed with flying colours. And I completely understand why…

2 large onions, finely diced

350 g/12 oz. minced/ground pork

1 cinnamon stick, about 7.5 cm/ 3 inches long

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

a handful of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

400 g/14 oz. dried spaghetti pasta

1 stock/bouillon cube (meat or vegetable)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

olive oil, for cooking and drizzling

sea salt fl akes, to garnish

SERVES 4

Pour enough olive oil into a frying pan/skillet to just cover the base and then gently fry the onions on a low heat. You need to take some time with the onions, you want to cook them slowly so they release their sugars and gently caramelize without burning, so this will take about 10 minutes. Once the onions are done, remove them from the pan and reserve.

In the same pan, add the minced pork and cinnamon stick and fry on a high heat until the mince is cooked through and just starting to caramelize. Once the pork is cooked through and some of it starts to look crispy, turn the heat down a little and reintroduce the onions to the pan, followed by the ground cinnamon, a generous amount of salt and pepper and the chopped parsley. Fold it all together and if the pasta isn’t ready yet, turn off the heat.

Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the packet instructions, but with the addition of the stock cube. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the minced pork pan with a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid and be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the sticky dark bits into the sauce.

Simmer the pasta in with the pork until the liquid has almost all evaporated, leaving just a silky coating to the pasta – this is a dry dish, so don’t expect a ragú.

Serve dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt flakes.

Credit info:

Orexi! Feasting at the Modern Greek Table

By Theo A.Michaels

CYPRIOT SLOW-COOKED WHITE BEANS IN TOMATO SAUCE

Fasolia goes by many different names, and versions of this honest peasant food are found all over the world. Each recipe originated because of what was grown in the area, but ultimately it is a white bean and tomato soup. The beans are soaked and then cooked slowly with vegetables to give flavour and body. I would be lying if I said that adding a handful of crispy pork lardons or slices of pastourma sausage doesn’t add a little more depth to the dish, but I wanted to stay true to its humble roots.

1 small onion, finely diced

1 stick/1/2 cup thinly sliced celery, plus a few leaves, finely chopped, to garnish

80g/1/2 cup freshly chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato purée/paste

135g/1 cup grated carrot a pinch of dried thyme

1 dried bay leaf

450g/3 cups drained canned cannellini beans

a splash of white wine

750 ml/3 cups hot water

salt and freshly cracked black pepper olive oil, for cooking and drizzling

a pinch of dried chilli/hot red pepper flakes, to garnish

a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice, to serve

bread, to serve

SERVES 4
Fry the onion and celery (not the leaves, save those for garnish) in a little olive oil on a low heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and tomato purée, along with the carrot, thyme, bay and cannellini beans. Season generously with salt and plenty of cracked black pepper. Jiggle them all about a bit in the pan to get to know each other.

Add a splash of wine to the pan and reduce until almost gone, then top with the hot water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, just to let the ingredients melt a little into each other.

This is best served the following day and reheated, but if you can’t resist, let it rest for a while, then serve, garnished with fi finely chopped celery leaves, a pinch of dried chilli flakes, a little drizzle of olive oil, just a whisper of lemon juice and probably another hit of seasoning. I serve this with nothing more than a chunk of bread and an appetite.

If this mouth-watering recipe has inspired you to try some more recipes, then you can buy your copy of Orexi! HERE + Free UK delivery. Alternatively, head over to our giveaway page to win a copy.

Credit info:

Orexi! Feasting at the Modern Greek Table

By Theo A.Michaels