First off, welcome and thank you to Heather of Kitchener's Quilter for becoming a follower of my site!
So...I was recently extended an invitation to become a La Cucina Italiana blogger Ambassador! Naturally, I graciously accepted this wonderful opportunity. Have you ever picked up a copy of this magazine? Do yourself a favor – if you enjoy Italian food, photo essays that will have you drooling and recipes using natural ingredients, this is the publication you’ve been waiting for. Love this magazine.
The welcome gift box sent to me included products by Delverde loaded with three different pastas: Mezza rigatoni, spinach tagliatelle nests and bucatini. As a bonus they tossed in a bottle of Lucini premium select olive oil. I have used this brand before and can tell you, it’s a treat. Lucina extra virgin olive oil is processed using Tuscan olives and pressed within 24 hours of harvesting thereby capturing the flavor at it’s peak.
Within the package was also an invitation to participate in the Delverde Pasta Recipe Challenge. You must prepare an original dish, document the cooking process then submit the photos with your recipe and website to Delverde. Grand prize is a trip to New York and a chance to cook my recipe at la Cucina Italiana’s annual holiday event at the GE showroom this December. That sounds like fun but…...we are in a position where travel isn’t possible at this time in our lives.
So do I take pass? No! I will take the challenge and share what I have cooked but not enter the contest.
Hey, if I am going to be a proper a La Cucina Italiana Ambassador I will prepare and share anything they send me. Following the prescribed rules I will show you the ingredients and steps.
Presenting Basil-Sausage Bucatini.
First, chop garlic and onion then sauté in Lucini premium select olive oil. Once the onion mix is translucent and soft, add ground mild Italian sausage (mild for us but adjust per your taste).
If you dare leave this a moment hustle out to your kitchen garden and pull some fresh basil from the plant. Chop and stir the sausage mixture a bit more then get canned tomatoes and a bottle of wine. I like to use authentic Italian tomatoes such as Tuttorosso. (There are many other varieties but try and get true Italian tomatoes for a fresher taste. You can honestly tell the difference )
Once the sausage is browned you’ll have to determine if any grease needs to be drained. Now tip in a large can of Italian tomatoes, several shredded basil leaves and roughly a half cup of wine. Simmer until reduced and add more wine as needed.
While the sauce is simmering start your pasta water to boil. For this dish I used Bucatini. Is this regular fat spaghetti, you may ask? No, it’s described as a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. Buco, in Italian, means hole. Here is a photo so you can see the consistency when dry. It’s like those Japanese pockie sticks…well, in a way.
We drank the rest of the Valpolicella with the meal, slathering fresh baked Italian bread with butter, placing sauce and mozzarella over the pasta in a bowl.
The end result was different from any other pasta I had. It was just about unmanageable when you tried to twirl it around a fork. That was my bad – I think I needed to cook it longer than was directed as I was not expecting a more al dente result. We simply cut the pasta with a knife and ate it that way. Can’t wait to try the other pastas and I will certainly share the result with you.
Italian food, wine, bread and good company made for a lovely meal. What else could we ask for – life is good. While it would have been nice to compete for that prize to Manhattan I am pleased to participate this way and share a good meal.
Signing off on this missive as your La Cucina Italiana Ambassador. More to come!