Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Giovanna was my first Sicilian friend and it was she who gave me my first Sicilian cooking tip, twenty years ago: "Always put a potato in the pasta water." I have never been able to establish the scientific basis for this but I have been adding that potato ever since! Giovanna is one of the most creative cooks I know and she is not afraid to mix sweet and savoury or to experiment with ideas from afar. Now I'll let you look at the feast she prepared for New Year's Day:

I loved her new idea for presenting antipasti:

 There were these as well:

As I can't eat fish, I had to pass on the fried baccalà  [salt cod]:

Then we sat down, first to lasagne:

 I had to pass again on the shrimp and strawberry risotto but I'm sure it was delicious:

 Next there was veal in a carrot and mint sauce for the non-fish eaters

and vitello tonnato for the others:

There were stuffed peppers, too:

Pineapple is popular at this time of year to refresh the palate:

Giovanna's tronco was a work of art:

 There was my favourite light dessert, gel al limone:

I'd made and taken along another semifreddo di marrons glacés, as it's light and everybody seems to like it:

And what could be better than a Sicilian cassata with the champagne?

Grazie di nuovo, Giovanna!


Lee said...

It all looks so colourful and so very tasty. What a pity you can't eat seafood, Pat. I love seafood and that's what my Christmas lunch consisted of...lots of it! I eat a lot of grilled salmon fillets, too.

It looks like you had a wonderful New Year's Day feast, Pat.

Perhaps the starch in the potato has something to do with it being added, as an advantage to the cooking of pasta. Or perhaps a fair bit of salt should be added to the water when cooking pasta and the potato balances out the salt content because it absorbs the sodium...

Just a couple of thoughts as to why...

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Happy new Year Pat .. xx

Another fantastic feast .. I am going to try and make Semi-freddo one day .. i would at least try a bit of it all ..not so sure about food in sauces .but would try.

Wonder why to put potato in pasta water .. never heard of that one xx

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lee. Yes, I've always been allergic to it. Interesting theories re the pasta water! Thank you.
Hi, Anne and Happy New Year. Semifreddo is really easy to make. I think you'd have liked that sauce - it was very delicate. x

Patricia said...

Looks like a wonderful evening. I have never heard of a potato in the pasta water! In my family, we always scoop out a cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta. It was only as an adult that i learned the reason thin the sauce if necessary! Many things we do just because we have always done them!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Patricia. Thanks for sharing your family's tradition. Yes, it's interesting how we continue to do these things. Happy Newe Year to you.

sally in norfolk said...

All looks great to me... wishing you a fit and healthy 2013 x x

Liz Hinds said...

Shrimp and strawberry risotto? Really?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

And a happy new year to you, Sally. x Hi, Liz. It seems to have worked very well.


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