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Insalata Di Arance e Finocchio
Citrus Salad with Sweet Fennel
5 juice oranges
1 large fennel bulb
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Cut a slice from top and bottom of each orange to expose pulp and cut peel and pith from oranges, working from top to bottom. Cut oranges crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices and transfer to a bowl with any juice.
Trim off fennel stalks flush with bulb and halve bulb lengthwise. Remove most of core from bulb by making an inverted “v” shape, leaving enough core to keep layers intact. Thinly slice bulb lengthwise with a mandoline or other manual slicer and toss with oranges, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Let salad stand, stirring occasionally, until fennel is slightly wilted, about 20 minutes. Drizzle with oil.
Tonno Con Menta e Mandorle
Grilled Tuna with Mint-Almond Sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
2 1/2 lb. (1-inch-thick) tuna steaks
Heat oil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic and vinegar, stirring, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in mint and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in almonds just before serving.
Prepare grill for cooking.
Brush tuna lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on a rack set over glowing coals until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Serve tuna with sauce.
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato Sauce
2 lb. Eggplant
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 lb. plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 lb. spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated ricotta salata cheese or pecorino (2 ½ oz.)
Cut eggplant lengthwise into ½—inch-thick slices and layer in a colander, sprinkling each layer generously with salt. Let stand 1 hour.
Cook garlic in 1 tbsp. oil in a 5 to 6 quart heavy saucepan over moderate hear until pale golden. Add tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 to 40 minutes. Force mixture through food mill into a bowl. Return sauce to pan and stir in basil and salt and pepper to taste.
Rinse eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Heat remaining cup oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook eggplant in 3 or 4 batches, turning once, until browned and tender, 5 to 6 minutes. (If eggplant begins to brown too quickly, lower heat to moderate.) Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cool and cut crosswise into ¼ inch strips.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain well. Toss pasta with half of sauce, half of eggplant, and ¾ cup cheese.
Serve pasta topped with remaining sauce, eggplant, and cheese.
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. anise seeds
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Coarsely crush anise seeds with edge of a heavy plate or by pulsing in an electric spice/coffee grinder.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt into a bowl. Beat together eggs and sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until batter ribbons with beater is lifted, 8 to 10 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture until combined well, then fold in anise seeds.
Spoon half to batter into pastry bag, then pipe batter onto 1 baking sheet to form 3 by 2 inch rectangles about 1 inch apart. Pipe remaining batter onto second baking sheet in same manner. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes total.
Reduce oven to 325F.
Cool rectangles on sheets on racks just until they can be handled, about 5 minutes, then cut diagonally into ¾ inch-thick slices. (There will be end pieces.)
Bake slices, a cut side down, on ungreased baking sheets in upper and lower thirds of oven, turning biscotti over and switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to racks to cool.