Daily Archives: January 18, 2014

  • New & Inspired Recipes from Italy with Olive Oil

    Recipe for Pasta Cooked in White Wine

    Pasta alla Deficeira

    Serves 4

    Traditionally, this dish was prepared at the height of the oil-pressing season, offered by the olive growers as a gesture of celebration to those who helped with the harvest. The name of the dish is from the Liguria dialect for olive press, deficeira, and, fittingly, it’s served with olive oil; a nice choice is the delicate, fruity variety made from the tiny taggiasca olives of Liguria. Olive oil takes center stage here, and it’s added off the heat, so be sure to pick a good quality oil.

    Cooking pasta in wine instead of water creates an amazingly aromatic sauce. The flavor of the wine really stands out, so be sure to pick one with pronounced fruity flavor and crisp acidity like Soave or pinot grigio.

    Ingredients:

    – 1 (750-ml) bottle dry, fruity white wine
    – 1 bay leaf
    – 3/4 pound penne or any short tube pasta, preferably Felicetti or Garofalo brands
    – Salt and pepper
    – Olive oil, preferably made with taggiasca olives
    – Crescenza or any aged cheese

    Preparation:

    In a large saucepan, bring the wine and bay leaf to a boil. Add the pasta, lower the heat to a low boil, and cook, loosely covered, until the wine is absorbed and the pasta al dente, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Serve topped with grated or shaved cheese.

    Region: Liguria

    In several regions, Italians add a splash of wine, instead of sauce, to cooked pasta. Local farmers even enjoy a sort of liquid pasta drink in the winter as a pick-me-up made from the hot pasta cooking water mixed with red wine and generous amounts of black or red crushed pepper. In Piedmont and Emilia Romagna, it’s common, especially for the older generations, to top anolini or small ravioli with red wine.

    In Molise they make a simple pasta soup called scattone, where the broth is just the pasta’s cooking water seasoned with red wine and pepper. A fabulous medieval festival called Sagra dello Scattone is dedicated to this centuries-old dish, held each year in August in the Molise towns of Torella del Sannio and Bagnoli del Trigno.

    Recipe from “Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy” by Francine Segan

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.7/10 (14 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +3 (from 7 votes)
    Recipe for Pasta Cooked in White Wine Pasta alla Deficeira Serves 4 Traditionally, this dish was prepared at the height of the oil-pressing season, offered by the olive growers as a gesture of celebration to those who helped with the harvest. The name of the dish is from the... 
    Read More →
  • Chasing the Early Harvest for Olive Oil

    Early olives are lean and green, less juicy than when they become mature black olives. But, they’re peppery, fresh, and yield a much higher price.

    And select estates are pushing harvests earlier—thanks to technology and heightened awareness of the health benefits.

    Xandra Falcó, who oversees Marqués de Griñon, her family’s 800-year-old wine and olive oil producing estate in Spain, underscored the benefits of early-harvest olive oil.

    “When it’s fresher, it’s healthier, because you have a higher content in antioxidants,” Falcó said.

    The presence of polyphenol compounds that are considered so healthful—antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties—largely depends on the stage of pressing. Wait too long to harvest, and those beneficial compounds may not even be present anymore.

    “An olive oil that is not very intense in the beginning and not peppery [from a later harvest], it has less content in polyphenols, so it’s going to become milder and milder through the year. You still have the oleic acid, which is very good for you, but not so much the polyphenols, the antioxidants,” Falcó said.

    After analysis, she found the olives on her estate maintain their optimum polyphenol levels for 8 to 10 days. After harvest, the olives are immediately taken to the mill, so that oxidation, the great enemy, is minimized as much as possible.

    The quality is high, and the production intensive, but the yield is low, only about 10–12 percent. The highest quality olives are used for extraction, and they are not pressed to the last drop, Falcó said.

    To put it in perspective, an entire tree yields about two bottles of olive oil. While for wine, 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of grapes produces 1 liter of wine, 10 kg of olives are needed for 1 liter of olive oil.

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 4.2/10 (9 votes cast)
    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +2 (from 6 votes)
    Early olives are lean and green, less juicy than when they become mature black olives. But, they’re peppery, fresh, and yield a much higher price. And select estates are pushing harvests earlier—thanks to technology and heightened awareness of the health benefits. Xandra... 
    Read More →