Recipe: Linguine frutti di mare

A very classic Italian seafood dish, meaning literarily “fruits of the sea”. Normally made with clams, and often calamari, I opted for some local specialities for a twist; fresh shrimp, crayfish (saltwater ones) and king crab – it’s all about adding the sea food of your taste.

One of the special things about this dish is that the sauce is made only from fresh tomatoes; no canned tomatoes here, only 100% fresh ripe tomatoes.

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  • 500 g linguine
  • 800 g ripe tomatoes
  • 200 g shrimp
  • 200 g crayfish
  • 200 g king crab
  • 2 dl white wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • parsley
  • 1 shallot

Slice garlic, shallots and tomatoes. Peel half the shrimps. Sauté 2 cloves of sliced garlic in olive oil, in a large pan. Before browning, add the sliced tomatoes, and heat them while gently pressing them to turn them into a thick sauce.

Sauté garlic and shallots in olive in a small pan, add the sea food and sauté for a few minutes. Add white wine, and let simmer on low heat to allow the (unpeeled) sea food to flavour the wine.

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Add the seafood and the remaining white wine to the tomato sauce, add the peeled shrimps, and mix it gently for a minute. Mix with freshly boiled linguine pasta, and serve.

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Recipe: Stufato di Salsiccia

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Autumn is truly starting to set in here in Sweden, and what better way to warm yourself than a hearty Italian stufato, a traditional rustic stew. A secondo piatto mainly from northern Italy, this dish can contain a wide variety of ingredients, and since I am a huge lover of salsiccia, my choice fell upon that as a main ingredient.

This recipe is largely improvised around the ingredients, and as always; use your imagination, taste buds and improvise along these guide lines according to your personal taste – just like the chefs of Italy.

Ingredients (3-4 people)

  • 5-6 salsiccia piccante (with some added chili), regular salsiccia is fine too
  • 100g pancetta
  • half an onion
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 can of cocktail tomatoes in sauce
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 100g of västerbottenost (or parmigiano)
  • one pot of basil
  • 1 can of soy beans
  • 3 dl of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgine olive oil

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Chop the garlic in thin slices, chop the onion finely, cut the salsiccia in slices (not too thin), and dice the pancetta. Warm a few table spoons of olive oil, fry the garlic and onion until soft, and add the salsiccia and pancetta. Fry for another few minutes.

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Add the red wine, and reduce it so there is just a bit left, then add the tomatoes, soy beans, carrots (sliced), grated celery, and grated västerbotten cheese (or parmigiano). Also add the basil, finely chopped.

Let it cook on medium heat for at least an hour, but several hours of slow cooking adds greatly to the flavour.

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Enjoy with a glass of powerful red wine, such as a heavy Ripasso or even an Amarone.

Thank you Oslo!

After a couple of weeks of downtime from touring and shows, it was time to hit the stage in the lovely capital of our neighbour country of Norway – Oslo!

It’s been about a year since we played there, and expectations were high; significantly larger venue, great pre sales and a hungry band! It was also a first to have Chris Adam from Smash into Pieces joining us on stage, as temporary replacement for Jake E.

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Following the soundcheck we were treated to a great sight – the queue reaching all around the neighbourhood – a good sign of things to come indeed!

And sure enough, we were spoiled with a great reception from our Norwegian friends, and in return we delivered 130 minutes of dancable Swedish metal. Chris Adam delivered some great vocals, and the entire band was in good shape despite the downtime.

The only downside was having to leave shortly after the show, and drive all the way to Gothenburg again, but it was sure nice to wake up in your own bed at home.

Until next time Oslo, thank you!

An evening at La Strega – Gothenburg’s premier Italian restaurant

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La Strega, an Italian restaurant located in Gothenburg, has recently risen to fame among Swedish lovers of genuine Italian food. It retains the familiar atmosphere of the Italian trattoria, but they certainly have high culinary ambitions. Focused on the primi piatti rather than the full Italian meal cycle, they offer a unique concept for their menu; they change the dishes offered frequently, often enough that the entire menu is replaced within just a few weeks.

Run by the mastermind and gentleman Andrea Consonni, the vision is one of an increasing focus on near produced ingredients, when possible, while keeping true to the Italian traditions.

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We chose to start of the evening with an excellent selection of cold cuts; bresaola, mortadella, pancetta, carpaccio and much more, served with divine olives and sundried tomatoes.

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On the suggestion of signor Consonni, we went for a bottle of Villa Canestrari Valpolicella Ripasso 2008 – a bottle that had almost mistakenly stowed away for some years – pretty old indeed for a Ripasso, which you usually drink upon purchase, but the age had introduced a lovely smoothness, and a teal colour – excellent!

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La Strega have been famous for their cinghiale ragu served with tagliatelle, a sort of bolognese made from wild boar. It was taken off the menu to offer some more adventurous dishes, but has now made a comeback, although served with gnocchi de patata. It’s been over a year since I had that ragu, and it certainly lived up to my memories – this is Italian tradition at its finest, even though next time I might be even more daring.

The evening was rounded off with some apple sorbet, loaded with real fresh autumn apples, along with gelato made of browned sugar and liqourice – perfectly matched with an espresso and a small grappa. We were too enthused at this point to even remember to take a picture, but it looked as delicious as it tasted.

All in all, a fantastic evening – if find yourself in the Gothenburg area, La Strega comes highly recommended indeed!

Recipe: Polpetto alla Napoletana

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Italian polpetto is based on an ancient tradition of rolled balls of ground meat in the mediterranean region. Traditionally not served with pasta in Italy, it is a primo piatto, but I took the liberty of adding some organic soy bean pasta.

I very rarely use measurements when cooking, so amounts are guidelines only. Use your taste buds!

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Ingredients 

  • 250 g ground beef
  • 250 g ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dl water
  • 1 pot of chopped fresh basil
  • 50 g grated pecorino Romano
  • a touch of finely grated nutmeg

Tomato sauce

  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp extra virgine olive oil
  • 3 dl red wine, I used a heavy Ripasso
  • 1 can of Italian finely chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar

Mix ingredients for meatballs, add salt and pepper to taste. Roll into balls and fry in the olive oil until browned. Do not cook until done, but leave time for the meatballs to simmer in the tomato sauce.

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Finely dice garlic and onion, and cook in the olive oil until soft and lightly colored. Add the remaining ingredients, salt and pepper to taste. Let boil for around 15 minutes, add the meatballs and turn to down the heat. Cook for another 10 minutes.