Pasta is my favourite thing in the world. It beats chocolate, wine and cheese (although pasta with cheese is probably the best thing ever) and it’s a meal I always look forward to. So you can only imagine my excitement when the lovely people at Expedia sent me a hamper full of Italian goodies, just in time to prepare the perfect meal for Valentine’s Day.
As you all know, I’ve been getting my flat ready to sell. With open viewings starting today, we decided to bring our Valentine’s Day meal forward a day, and so yesterday I brought a little bit of Italy to our kitchen in Edinburgh, using some of the amazing ingredients from the Expedia hamper.
The hamper was brimming with amazing, authentic Italian foods. From truffle-infused fettucine to chocolate coated figs and Prosecco, I was spoiled for choice. I decided to use some of the spicier ingredients to put a twist on penne picante. I had a hankering for spaghetti, so I used that instead and threw in some Italian sausage and spinach. Here’s how you can make this dish yourself:
- 200g spaghetti
- 2 tsp of garlic infused chilli olive oil
- 1/2 a tbsp of picante spice mix (you’ll find this in good Italian delis or you can use chilli flakes instead)
- 75g of cured Italian sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 50g of fresh spinach, chopped into small pieces
- Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Cook until al dente (around 8 minutes).
- While the pasta is cooking heat the oil in a pan and add the sausage. Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes before adding the spice mix. Once the spice mix has coated the sausage, add the tomatoes and simmer.
- Before you drain the spaghetti, add a tablespoon of the cooking water to the picante sauce and add the spinach.
- Once you have drained the spaghetti, toss it in with the sauce and stir well, ensuring all of the spaghetti is coated in the spicy sauce. Season to taste and serve, with a little parmesan if you like.
Alongside all of the lovely culinary goodies, my hamper also included a heart-shaped slate cheese board, a cheese knife and Valentine-inspired bottle stopper. So of course that meant cheese for dessert. We kept it Italian with taleggio and pecorino, served on oatcakes with Tropea onion jam. It was the perfect end to a lovely meal.
What’s your favourite Italian meal? And whatever you did for Valentine’s day, I hope you had a great time.