We Italians can be awfully picky eaters. We pride ourselves for coming from one of the places in the world with the best food, and then tend to forget that there’s a whole world out there that is not doing that bad when it comes to preparing food, after all. Sure, Italian food will forever be my favourite, but I think that keeping an open mind is something a few more Italians should consider doing.
Besides being an enthusiast for all things food regardless of their origin, I also try to keep an open mind towards “Italian” foods one can get abroad. This is probably the highest level of overcoming the Italian narrow-mindedness to unfamilair foods. I know people who might go as far as admitting that, say, Mexican or Japanese cuisine is as good as the Italian one, but will never trust a package of pasta or mozzarella abroad. The truth is that you can keep this attitude when you’re still based in Italy and you have your regular supply of real stuff on a regular basis, but when you choose to emigrate you need to keep an open mind also when it comes to food. In fact, you have two options: you either keep living off the packages of food that your family sends you (until they do), or you give local stuff a chance. And when I say local I actually mean the local interpretation of Italian foods.
Here in Sweden I’m eating mozzarella that is made in the Czech Republic. It’s cheap. And it’s not worse than the cheapest type of mozzarella I used to buy when I was feeding myself on a student budget back home. Sure, if I’m to eat mozzarella alone I will pay a little more and get the one made in Italy (possibly even the one made from buffalo milk, especially when it’s sold at half price the day before it expires), but if I have to use it on pizza I honestly don’t care that much. Here in Sweden I can buy pasta from a very famous Italian brand. It’s packaged in Greece, and I heard rumours that the wheat can at times come from as far as South Africa. And it’s still good. Of course, whenever I go to Italy I will bring back a suitcase full of original artisanal stuff, but while here I have been giving local stuff a chance and I must admit that the food is actually good. Besides, I am pretty good at making it myself, and that maybe plays a good role here, too. So we recently bought a package of Swedish pasta. Made from 100% wheat grown on the Swedish island of Gotland.
Why should it not be good? There are so many varieties of wheat, and Gotland has a pretty good climate for growing it, so why should we not trust this Swedish pasta? Actually, I have the feeling that this pasta is much more healthy than other corporate pastas made from God knows what wheat, right? So we decided to give it a try, and we were – of course – very happy.
Creamy pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes (serves 2):
- 250 g pasta
- 5 tbsp cream
- 200 g cherry tomatoes (to roast)
- salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmigiano to taste
In this recipe I used Kungsörnen’s Gotlandsodlat Fusilli. First of all, prepare the roasted cherry tomatoes. You can follow my recipe, that you can find here. About halfway through the cherry tomatoes roasting time, set 1,5 l of water to the stove and add 1 tbsp of salt when the water boils. Add the pasta and cook it according to package instructions – which in this case is 8 minutes to have it al dente. After draining the water return the pasta to the pot and add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 5 tbsp of cream. Sprinkle some pepper and stir in a handful of Parmigiano shavings. Then add the roasted cherry tomatoes. For a smoother eating experience I recommend removing the skin from the tomatoes prior to adding them to the pasta, but this is not an obligatory step. Serve with extra Parmigiano shavings on top.Besides having a spectacular taste from the ingredients I have used, the pasta itself exceeded my expectations. It really kept the shape, had the perfect al dente firmness and did not end up undercooked (a sad feature in some types of fusilli, that will keep too dry in the core when cooked al dente). Made this way, I would recommend eating this pasta on the spot. The cream doesn’t do too well as sauce when planning to have the pasta the following day warmed up in the microwave. A good way to revamp its flavour if eaten the day after could be adding a couple of tbsp of pesto, that will nicely blend in and make the pasta moist again.