Winter Routines and Pasta d’Inverno

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I have to be honest, coming home from a long holiday in the tropics to Melbourne hasn’t been easy. It’s not just the cold weather.  The first week back home has been hectic, full of dinner catch ups, missed family birthdays involving cookathons, garlic planting, entertaining our Italian guest, visiting and cooking for Mother, a football match to attend, and more. The days just seem too short, yet a mountain of tasks towers ahead. I am looking forward to a slower pace and some space to catch up with things.

Although I don't follow football, I admire these girls who play so well for their local team, Hurstbridge.
Although I don’t follow football, I admire these girls who played so well for their local team, Hurstbridge.

Cold weather routines are slowly re-emerging. Vegetable stocks go on the stove, barley or beans are soaked as I mull over the next week’s budget meals.

On sunny days, the low-lying sun streams through the north facing windows, warming the house in the middle hours of the day, reminders of the effectiveness of passive solar energy in house design.

Mr T gathers dry kindling and wood from the shed to feed our two wood stoves. Last night’s left over hot ashes become roasting beds for Autumn eggplants.

On our second day back, a late crop of pine mushrooms popped through the deep litter of pine needles, providing a tasty topping for bruschetta. Alberto searched for more along the ridges but found none, only the toxic Fairy rings of Fly Agaric. Foraging for food is always such a pleasure.

Annual crop of Pine Mushrooms for Bruschetta.
Annual crop of Pine Mushrooms for Bruschetta.

Although a few days remain before Winter officially commences, today’s pasta, Pasta d’Inverno or winter pasta, is a nourishing dish to go with these times of low light and slow pace. Quantities suitable for two hungry people.

  • 200 gr orecchiette pasta (de Cecco brand is my current favourite)
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil.
  • 3 onions, sliced finely
  • 3 anchovies, roughly chopped
  • one small branch of fresh rosemary
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • finely sliced cauliflower, around one quarter of a head.
  • grated parmesan cheese, plenty
  • pasta cooking water
  • parsley,finely chopped.

Method.

Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Salt well and then add the orecchiette and cook according to packet instructions.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan. Add onions and cook very slowly and gently until they soften and almost melt, without colouring, then add the garlic and anchovies. Stir these about for a minute or so: the anchovies will vanish into the onion mixture. Add a small amount of freshly chopped rosemary.

Add the sliced cauliflower to the onion mixture and toss about for a few minutes until it is softened. Slicing cauliflower allows it to cook faster than small florets. I like the way it disappears in the sauce.

When the pasta is nearly cooked, remove at least a cup of the pasta water. Add this to the onion mixture, turning up the temperature to reduce a little. Stir in a few tablespoons of the grated parmesan to thicken the sauce.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan to amalgamate well with the sauce. Add the finely chopped parsley.

Serve in heated bowls, adding more parmesan at the table. There should be plenty of unctuous sauce to mop up.

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19 thoughts on “Winter Routines and Pasta d’Inverno”

  1. Orecchiette is my go-to winter pasta… so good with more substantial sauces and ingredients. And I make extranet for freezer fast food. Winter sun, winter food and a woodfire are the redeeming features of the season 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Scotland cold even though almost summer time. England so beautiful but I miss our Oz food and ways of cooking. It’s always nice to return home into mundane activities! We’ve been on the go so much! I do seek out Asian food when possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Welcome home! Ow, I bet Melb is a bit chilly after your holiday. And good on you for planting that garlic, mine is yet to ‘hit’ the dirt. I just love the sound of that pasta Francesca .. am bookmarking it right now! 😀

    Like

    1. I noticed from your garden post that you are back again. I had the impression that you were going to Greece for a long stay?
      yes, home has all those comforting things but I am now waking too early thinking of all the jobs. Could someone please turn my mind down!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Recent trip to Greece was a quick trip to see the house etc. and for my husband to speak to staff at the Institute where he will be based. September is D-Day! Yes, I, too, wake up every morning with lists of jobs ticking like little time bombs in my brain. If you find the volume control or the off button, please let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

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