Tag: heirloom tomatoes

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Lemon

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

A few days after we got home from our summer holidays, the two of us met in the kitchen late in the evening, not sure what to make for dinner. Usually, a night like this calls for pasta and a simple tomato sauce, but we were in the mood for more, we wanted some spices on our plates! A quick look in the fridge offered a bunch of cherry tomatoes, fresh ricotta and a jar full of my Moroccan preserved lemons. The parsley on the kitchen counter looked like it wouldn’t last much longer but the leaves were still crisp and green. We pulled out the mortar and the pan, heated up some olive oil and crushed a spoonful of black peppercorns and our Maltese fennel seeds. We cooked the spices with a pinch of cumin in the oil for just a minute to unfold their aromas. When their peppery smell filled the whole kitchen, we added the chopped lemons and cherry tomatoes. After 3 minutes it was all done, ready to be mixed with the spaghetti, some lumps of ricotta and the fresh parsley leaves.

It was great, spicy and fragrant, a delicious mixture of the Italian and Arabic cuisine. Unfortunately, we had forgotten about this dinner. It was quite late, we were tired and we went to bed straight after we savored this meal. Weeks later, I remembered our spontaneous cooking session but it took me a while to recapture the recipe. So here it is, we cooked it again and loved it just as much!

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

 

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Lemon

For 2 people you need

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered, 400g / 14 ounces
ricotta 125g / 4.5 ounces
Moroccan preserved lemon, chopped, 1/4 or the zest of 1/2 lemon
black peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons (depending on the spiciness you want to achieve)
fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
cumin, a big pinch
salt
olive oil
parsley, the leaves of 1/2 small bunch

Cook the pasta al dente in lots of salted water.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the spices on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon (preserved or zest) and cook for a few seconds before you stir in the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften and take the pan off the heat. Season with salt, mix in the spaghetti and top with ricotta and parsley.

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

 

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

Heirloom Tomatoes with Mozzarella di Bufala, Oregano and Orange Vinaigrette

Caprese Salad

Just one more time, before I let go of one of my most beloved summer salads! I need one more Caprese salad, the last one, before I say goodbye to this easy yet so delicious combination of fresh tomatoes and Mozzarella di Bufala. As much as I look forward to and enjoy the new season with its culinary qualities, I do miss my summery dishes sometimes, especially when I look at our holiday pictures of Malta. The memories of my Mediterranean outdoor cooking pop into my head and pull me into a different mood of food. A mood that demands for Mediterranean flavours, colours and smells, no pumpkins, cabbages and pies.

So as long as I don’t have to to compromise in taste, ripeness and sweetness, I enjoy my colourful small heirloom tomatoes and their late summer coloured prettiness on my plate. I don’t have to worry about any season when it comes to Mozzarella di Bufala, the organic produce that I use is so creamy that it almost reminds of Burrata. I just have to tear it into pieces and it coats the red and yellow fruits in its silky milkyness. The whole composition is perfect, with a quick orange vinaigrette, smooth and fresh, but it needed something different to pay a little tribute to the month we’re in now. No August, no sweet basil, this is over now. This is the beginning of a colder, stormy season, falling leaves and earthy smells. I didn’t want to add more sweetness, I wanted something stronger almost harsh, so I brought in some fresh oregano. The little leaves taste flowery yet a bit bitter, this is late summer in the south to me!

Caprese Salad

 

Caprese Salad

For lunch for 2 you need

small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half, 250g / 9 ounces
Mozzarella di Bufala or Burrata, torn into pieces, 125g / 4.5 ounces
fresh oregano leaves 1-2 tablespoons

For the dressing
olive oil 3 tablespoons
Balsamico vinegar 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tablespoon
salt and pepper

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing and season to taste.

Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella on a big plate and sprinkle with the vinaigrette and oregano, serve immediately.

Caprese Salad

 

Caprese Salad

 

Caprese Salad