If you haven’t noticed already, I am quite obsessed with food! And luckily London is the city of opportunities, when it comes to international cuisine experiences! Living with a French partner has taught me a lot about food! The French people are quite fussy, when it comes to eating… They know, what is good – and what is bad! So when I take my frog prince out dining, it can be quite challenging. On the other hand I just know, that when he gives me a big thumbs up, we are talking “crème de la crème”! (and there were several thumbs up at this event)
Another food connoisseur – and one of Britain’s foremost food writers – is MasterChef judge William Sitwell, who I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of days ago…
So how come I was so lucky to meet a real food-guru? Well, my friends from Pasta Evangelists had kindly invited me and a few other journalists/ bloggers to an exclusive preview “aperi-cena” (basically a mix between an aperitivo and dinner, showcasing a limited edition mozzarella & pasta tasting menu they have created in partnership with Obicà mozzarella bar)
Obicà Mozzarella Bar at 96 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea (picture by opentable.co.uk)
The restaurant is quite romantic – I mean, it’s Italian! The food alone makes you want to do a remake of “Lady and the Tramp”
We however were going upstairs for the tasting event
Tasty Prosecco and Aperol Spritz for the not so pregnant ones… (not jealous at all…)
Here we are. It was great meeting other journalists and bloggers… (and William Sitwell. Yes, I am a fan!)
At first we had a beautiful selection of Obicà’s finest prosciutto, salami and burrata
After that, the pasta-party began! First up was the Gnocchi all Sorrentina.
The word gnocchi comes from the word nocchio, meaning ‘knot in wood’, (and the same root from where Carlo Collodi got the name for his wonderful character Pinocchio – a puppet made from wood). Gnocchi alla Sorrentina is a classic dish hailing from Sorrento, which is on the west coast of Italy close to Naples. Gnocchi made in the Sorrentina style are covered in tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil on top. The mozzarella we had, had been flown in directly from Italy – and the tomato sauce with fillets of La Motticella tomatoes, is from Lucera (a small town in Puglia). It was all very rich in flavour!
The second dish we delighted in was Trofie with Basil Pesto (Frenchie’s favourite!)
Trofie hails from Golfo Paradiso in the Liguria region. The word trofie comes from the Ligurian word strufuggiâ, meaning “to rub”, which is a reference to how the dough is prepared. Trofie are twisted, rolled, and rubbed on a pastry board to give them their unique shape. Trofie is now most commonly served with a pesto sauce.
Our hand-rolled trofie were served with basil pesto, potatoes, and green beans, which is a modern take on a traditional pesto alla Genovese. Traditional Genovese pesto does not have basil added to the sauce – but it adds a fresh kick of flavour (and a way to sneak in extra vegetables)
Our third dish of the evening was Ravioli filled with Truffle & Porcini Mushrooms (and my favourite!)
Unlike many other types of pasta, there is no specific place of origin for ravioli. Instead, ravioli come from all over Italy, with each location having their own unique take on the filling. Additionally, ravioli made their way to England long before most other types of pasta. The truffle has been used in Italian cooking since ancient times, with the first mention of them being in 2nd century, AD. Ancient Romans used them to enhance flavour – instead of using them as a main ingredient, like we do now.
We finished our pasta extravaganza with Pappardelle with Sausage Ragù
Pappardelle originate in Tuscany (a region known for rich, hearty sauces). Pappardelle is one of the thickest flat pastas, making it the perfect size to sop up hearty meat sauces. The word pappardelle comes from the verb pappare, which means to “gobble up”, and is the perfect complement to ragù. Ragù di salsiccia translates to “sauce with pork sausage”. We had a tomato-based sauce with traditional Italian fennel-flavoured sausage – along with tender cuts of pork. The salsiccia was slowly cooked with tomatoes and bouqet garni to give the ragù a delightful richness. The perfect meal, when it is cold outside!
I actually had decided to kindly decline a dessert, as I was more than full… But then this came along! How can you say no to Tiramisu? And surprisingly enough I ate it all! Got to love this very traditional Italian dessert!
If you are interested in trying out some of the delicious dishes, that we had, you can order all the ingredients online here and make them yourself at home (it is VERY easy and takes about 5 mins to do) The chilled box contains everything you need: pasta, sauce, garnishes, and simple, step-by-step instructions (Bonus-info: They fit through the letterbox for all deliveries in London)
UPDATE: Frenchie and I received a box from Pasta Evangelists today – and this is the outcome of our delicious homemade version
The box… It was chilled, when it arrived!
Easy to understand recipes (even for a non-chef like me!)
And the final result! We were very pleased – and it only took us about 10 minutes to make!
Enjoy! X Louise
We were guests of Obicà and Pasta Evangelists, but all opinions are as always my own!