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Feelings of Spring

With the winter weather playing hide and seek with us here in the Northeast, hints of Spring has been among us almost on a daily basis. So with all of this warmth, and feelings of freshness, I wanted to give dinner some air de primtemps of its own.

Heart of Palm Salad

Heart of Palm, Sun Dried Tomato Salad

A tangy heart of palm salad with dun dried tomatoes . topped with Spanish almonds, basking in a light vinaigrette acted as a quick appetizer, to make and to eat.

Sweet Potato and Spring Onion Hash 

Sweet Potato and Spring Onion Hash
Sweet potatoes were transformed by the addition of a few fresh spring bulb onions, greens and all. The was a nicely balanced hash , not too sweet and not over powered by onion taste.

Paprika'd Bucatini Aglio e Olio 

Paprika'd Bucatini Aglio ed Olio

The main course was a tastier variation on spaghetti aglio e olio  (garlic and oil) with the addition of  some authentic Hungarian Paprika. I used as a replacement for pulverized dried "Peperoni di Senise" , dried sweet red peppers from Southern Italy and typical of my father's town , Malvito in Northern Calabria.   Author Rosetta Constantino give a nice description of what these dried peppers are all about in her article on Peperoni Cruschi .

The trick I used with this pasta dish  was to let the garlic cook, along with a few tablespoons of the paprika cook over very low heat for at leat 10 minutes, and doing so in a way that the garlic does not toast, nor burn but just starts to melt and soften as it absorbs some of the pepper essence.

By using Bucatini, I thought I would give the classic dish, a small push towards the more peasant style of cooking, and reflected this  even more by keeping the pasta al dente, close to the point of  borderline undercooked. Hey, as Italians that's not a problem, it is an experience in authenticity of texture.

Salute !


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