Tag Archives: Pasta Lovers

Food Options at Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort

We stayed at the luxurious and immerse in the nature Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort that I would select as one of the best stay in the United Arab Emirates for at least 5 indisputable reasons I wrote about in a recent post.

There is one restaurant in the Yamm Villa Resort area but it is possible to reach the other resorts present in the island and hence the other restaurants by boogie.

The al Yamm Villa Resort is served by Olio Restaurant, an Italian dining place where breakfast is served daily. Breakfast is the common buffet with the usual share of eggs, cheeses, arabic mezze and croissants. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the food options but it was suitable for a satisfactory meal.

The a la carte menu offers many options, from the classic pasta and bruschetta appetizers to wagyu burgers and more complex main courses. Quality of food is generally good, the service perfect even though it is a bit pricey.

Wagyu Burger at Olio Restaurant

The wagyu burger meal is massive. The patty wasn’t as good as I expected and was difficult to digest.

Paccheri with duck ragout at Olio

The paccheri pasta with duck ragout was exceptionally good.

Seafood Pesto Pasta at Olio

This trofie pasta with pesto and seafood were interesting. This recipe from Liguria was well prepared by the chef.

Gelato Dessert at Olio

Tiramisu at Olio

Tiramisu was alright

  In order to escape the daily routine, we organized a transport to Amwaj restaurant. It is a 10 minutes drive from Al Yamm resort and we had no problem at all in organize it. the restaurant is nicely furnished and is located few steps away from the beach.

The menu is minimal with few seafood options inclusive of lobster, seafood, freshly caught fish and little more. We opted for some grilled fish fillet and two side dishes. The dinner was al right but a bit too expensive given the quantity and quality of food.

Fish Fillet at Amwaj Sir Bani Yas Island

Fish was good even though presentation was somehow lacking something.

ItaliAsian fusion: Organic Edamame Spaghetti with Surimi

I simply have a passion for pasta. And couldn’t be otherwise since I am Italian. I had pasta twice per day for almost 25 years of my life and only recently I started reducing my daily intake, since I have a sedentary work and a carbohydrates rich diet is not really recommended.

In a first attempt to reduce the carbs intake, I started enjoying the ‘integrale’ version (whole wheat pasta) because richer in fibers and proteins than the normal one and with a good 10-15% less carbs per portion. Taste and consistency is different from the traditional pasta but it is fairly good.

Some days ago I was screening the supermarket shelf looking for whole wheat pasta or a different version like kamut or barely pasta just for a change when my attention was caught by strange product available: Organic Edamame Spaghetti. A combination of the famous Japanese snack in the most famous Italian shape pasta.

Edamame Spaghetti Bag

The Organic Edamame Spaghetti bag says they cook al dente. A mandatory prerequisite for an Italian.

The particularity of this kind of spaghetti is that they are made with edamame flour instead of the common wheat one. It sounded weird at first but I decided to give it a try because of the exceptional nutrition facts: only 18g of carbs in 100g of spaghetti and an astonishing 20g of fibers and 45g of proteins!! Like having a steak but in a vegan-spaghetti-like form.

Edamame Spaghetti Nutrition Facts

The Edamame Spaghetti are superb for an high protein, high fibers and low carbs/fat diet.

I was curious to try the newly bought spaghetti that clearly mentioned “cook al dente” and prepared an easy dish with surimi and butter sauce. By the time the edamame spaghetti were cooking (around 9 minutes), I sliced the surimi, put it in a pan and added some butter, olive oil and nutmeg.

The meal was surprisingly good. The edamame spaghetti cooked ‘al dente’ maintaining a good texture.

They taste differently from any other kind of pasta I have ever tried before. I would say it reminded me to sea flavors and aromas and I got lucky to combine it to some fish products as first experiment.

We really enjoyed the spaghetti meal, appreciating the rich taste of the edamame based pasta and its protein content like meat, fiber content as a super veggie and low carbs and fat content.

Definitely a nice surprise that we are going to explore deeper since there are many variants available.

Edamame Spaghetti Surimi

A simple but tasty meal prepared with edamame spaghetti and surimi.

A creative and healthy Italian-Japanese fusion really appreciated.

Rich seafood linguine with saffron sauce recipe

There many ways to prepare a delicious pasta with seafood and other fishy ingredients. You can use mussels and clams or crab meat and shrimp or salmon and other fish meat. The important thing is to combine the ingredients in the best way possible, adding a little sauce to enrich the dish and a nice, personal touch to make it special.

The last weekend I was craving (as usual) for some nice pasta. I had at home some canned crab meat, some caviar (the cheap one you can easily find in supermarkets) and surimi and decided to combine all of them in a rich seafood linguine with saffron sauce with the addition of some already-cleaned shrimps.

The preparation is very easy and takes a little longer than the time to cook the linguine. Just put some olive oil in a hot pan with some garlic and parsley (either fresh or dry). Add the shrimps and let them cook on a medium-high heat. The shrimps are done when they completely change color.

Once the shrimps are cooked, add the crab meat and the surimi you have previously sliced. You do not need to cook them since they are usually pre-cooked and just need to warm them up. During this process you should add some spoons of white whine, that will enhance the dish flavors.

At this point you should have your pasta already boiling and you should add some spoons of the boiling water to the seafood mixture, together with some saffron powder and nutmeg. Stir the seafood well and add some butter or cream to make it creamer.

Do not fry the cream or the butter. You just need to keep them warm to welcome the linguine once ready. You may add some chilly or black pepper if you like and a handful of parmesan (I like cheese on top of seafood but it is up to you).

Once the linguine are ready, dry them and put them in the pan. Mix well and plate them hot. On top of each dish, add a spoon of the cheap caviar you have found in the supermarket and serve to your guests.

Seafood Linguine

The rich seafood linguine with a delicate saffron sauce are a superbly delicious dish

Shrimps Spaghetti with Creamy Ricotta Sauce

The pasta saga today continues with one of my preferred adapted recipe: spaghetti with shrimps and ricotta sauce. I like experimenting new flavor combinations in the kitchen, especially turning well known recipes in lighter versions to be consumed at home without feeling guilty for the extra intake of fats and calories.

Yesterday I have turned the famous Creamy Shrimps Alfredo Pasta into something much lighter but even tastier: Shrimps Pasta with Creamy Ricotta Sauce. It is really easy to prepare and you will successfully manage to substitute butter and full fat cream with lighter and healthier olive oil and ricotta cheese.

You just need to put in a pan some olive oil, garlic and parsley. Let the ingredients brown a little before adding the shrimps. Stir them occasionally and add a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of white wine and some more garlic and parsley during the cooking process.

Once the shrimps are properly cooked, you should add some fresh ricotta. This particular kind of cheese has a very limited amount of fat, hence it is not going to melt in the pan spontaneously creating a smooth and rich cream.

In order to do so, you shall add some water that you can take from the pot where you are cooking your choice of pasta or maybe a little milk. While mixing the ingredients together, add some nutmeg, grated Grana Padano (my favorite parmesan cheese) and if you like some saffron that will make your sauce even tastier.

Pasta with Shrimps and Ricotta Sauce

This creamy shrimp pasta is much lighter than the common Alfredo version but not less tasty.

Once the pasta is ready, mix all the ingredients and serve hot.

Options:

  • You can add some olive oil on the top of the pasta before serving it for a delicate touch
  • You can add some lemon zest to the ricotta instead of saffron to have a more delicate taste
  • You can add some crab meat or surimi to have an extra fishy taste

Pasta alla Norma: a classic of Italian cuisine

Yesterday I was craving for some nice pasta and was thinking about the best condiment to prepare when I found a top quality eggplants at a very competitive price. “Great, let’s make some Pasta alla Norma” I thought and bought few aubergines. Preparing the sauce is very simple even though it takes quite some time.

You just need eggplants, some chopped or peeled tomatoes cans, garlic, parsley and basil. The tradition wants you to put some dried/smoked ricotta cheese on top of your pasta but some grated Grana Padano is fine.

Pasta alla Norma

Pasta alla Norma is excellent when freshly made but they are even better the day after reheated in the oven or pan..

Just slice the eggplants and put a pinch of salt on the top side of the slices. Leave them with the salt some 10/15 minutes, until they release the bitter water that usually is brownish. Wash carefully the slices in order to remove both the bitter water and the excess salt and then dry them with kitchen paper. Chop the slices in smaller pieces, any shape is fine, and put them in a pot where you had preheated some olive oil together with crushed garlic and parsley.

Cook the eggplants at a moderate heat, adding from time to time little water or some white wine to enrich the taste. The addition of some water makes the eggplants tenderer and reduces the cooking time. Once the eggplants are almost completely cooked (they reduce in size and become tender), add the tomatoes and cook ad a low heat for 30 minutes. Add little sugar or bicarbonate to reduce the tomatoes acidity.

Serve the pasta with your tomatoes and eggplant sauce with a sprinkle of Grana Padano on top.

Pasta Carbonara Personal Recipe

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with 4 cheese with love!

Every time I post a photo or I discuss about the perfect “pasta alla carbonara” recipe with friends, it ends up in a fight and a general scorn. Should I use the whole egg or just the yolk? Should I put pepper or nutmeg? Should I use sliced “pancetta” (bacon) or the cubes one? And many more.

Once a chef friend told me that the carbonara should be creamy, hence I should use only the yolk with a little cream avoiding to cook the mixture in the pan and adding an handful of parmigiano on top. I don’t like to waste the egg white and therefore I usually use the entire egg. I do not have a fix recipe since I adapt it in relation to the food I have available in the fridge.

What is sure is that we are going to use eggsbacon (preferably smoked) and parmesan cheese. Remember that you shall not use onions in the carbonara pasta.

Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Pancetta (bacon) has to slowly fry in its fat. Do not add any oil or butter for an unaltered bacon taste.

Yesterday I was craving for a deliciously creamy ‘spaghetti alla carbonara’ and opted for one of my favourite invented recipes. I used sliced bacon, not smoked but natural, spaghetti, parmesan cheese, kashkaval, brie cheese and another soft cheese I had in the fridge.

I chopped the 100g ‘pancetta’ I have found in Waitrose supermarket and warmed it up in a pan without oil or butter until crispy.

From time to time I added little water from the pot where the pasta was cooking. It helps extracting and distributing the bacon flavour in the pan. You can sprinkle it with little wine if you prefer, like a dry white wine for instance.

Pasta Carbonara Personal Recipe

My Spaghetti alla Carbonara with four cheese are a bit heavy, not really Italian but super good.

While the bacon is frying and the pasta is cooking, you should put in a cup one egg every 150g of pasta, some olive oil, salt, a pinch of pepper or nutmeg, grated parmesan and cubes of easy-to-melt-cheeses. You shall mix everything together even  though you won’t obtain a perfect mix. Once the spaghetti are cooked, you shall dry them and toss them in the pan with the bacon. Toss with the heat on medium. This operation will help the pasta to absorb the bacon fragrance. After you have tossed the pasta few times, add the eggs mix and toss again until the cheese is melted and the pasta evenly covered by the right proportion of eggs, cheese and bacon. Mmmm . . .yummy.

Recipe Corner: Spaghetti with Caviar and Lemon Aroma

I am very lucky since my partner got a nice present from an Ukrainian friend: a jar of excellent caviar, not the beluga one, very expensive and superb in taste but though a very good one. I was thinking: what shall I do with this excellent caviar? I discarded the appetizer option since it was a shame to waste such a good ingredient with toasted bread and spreadable cheese. At last I had a brilliant idea: let’s make some spaghetti with caviar and lemon aroma.

I tried to make them also with regular, cheap looks-like caviar, and the result was good.

The recipe is super easy and it takes slightly less than the time required to cook the spaghetti.

Just take a pan, big enough to contain the amount of spaghetti you want to cook. Put some butter in the pan and melt it at a very very low heat. I prefer to use salty butter, but also the unsalted one is alright. Remember that the butter should not fry. If you want to make the lemon sauce lighter, you can add some olive oil and reduce the quantity of butter used.

For the quantities, it really depends on your taste. I used something light 20 grams of butter for 300g of spaghetti, but I have added 3 table spoons of olive oil in the mix.

Once all the butter is melted, add some lemon zest. Not too much otherwise your dish will be too citric. Mix it with the butter sauce and let the lemon release its juices in the pan. Do not fry the lemon. You can add a pinch of nutmeg and salt (if the butter is unsalted) to make it even tastier.

If you want to have the sauce a bit creamer, you might add some grated parmesan (I prefer Grana Padano) and let it melt in the sauce.

Once the spaghetti are cooked, mixed them with the sauce and then add one or two spoon of caviar and mix well.

The pleasant lemon aroma is simply and perfectly conjugating with the caviar delicateness.

Spaghetti with Caviar and Lemon Aroma

An easy recipe, delicate for sophisticated tastes.