Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spello, Umbria-The Tastes & Smells of the Region

Spello is a 2000 year old Roman settlement whose nickname is "Jewel of Umbria." Its narrow alleyways and cobble stoned streets are decorated with flowers in the spring and summer. It is surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and sunflower fields. Many culinary adventures start there, especially wine and olive oil tastings. They are known for their excellent olive oil. I got a great recipe that I have used (and changed) so many times, I want to share it with you:

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Raisins and Nuts
(pictured at top)

1 lb spaghetti**
4 T olive oil
2/3 cup chopped walnuts**
5 minced garlic cloves
5-6 small sliced thin zucchinis**(cut in half- moon shape)
2/3 cup raisins
2 oz Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta to and drain. Return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium flame. Add walnuts until brown, Add garlic until brown. Continue stirring to keep from sticking to pan. Add zucchini with seasoning and continue tossing with other ingredients until tender. (5-7 minutes)
Add pasta and mix well. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top before serving.

**The beauty of this recipe is that you can make many substitutions and it always works- whole wheat pasta or udon noodles are great, yellow squash or a combination of both works, sliced almonds are great. I haven't tried it but you could probably use craisins in place of raisins too!!

The secret is to use fresh ingredients and the best quality olive oil you can afford.
Buon Appetito!!

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