lifestyle

Joe Trivelli’s recipes for sausage and carrot gnocchetti, smashed broad beans with artichokes, onion sauce and lemon sole, and rhubarb soup


It is a cliché that Italians talk all the time about what’s for dinner… and I love talking to my colleagues about what we’re cooking at home while we prepare restaurant meals. It might just be when we have our best ideas. Dishes are passed on like Chinese whispers, ever-evolving, but never new.

I learned about this unusual pasta dish when an American colleague challenged me on the idea that carrots are unwelcome in a sauce. He was so on point with this one. I’m not sure where he got the recipe, but it’s an absolute keeper. It gives a welcome burst of colour and freshness and a subtle, sweet flavour.

I long for Easter and the chance to cook young vegetables, but in the meantime I’m happy with a bag of frozen broad beans and a jar of artichokes, and using a light touch so that they are as vibrant and “fresh” as they can be. I do this without remorse now that spring is on the doorstep.

Another distinguished American chef came to a supper I cooked at Violet bakery in east London many years ago. He announced that not enough people eat fruit soups in the UK. He was right. I’d never seen one! Now I’m rather partial; the rhubarb one here is great for the fruit at this point in the season. It is pretty in the extreme, so pretty that my daughter, who has never knowingly eaten rhubarb, was tempted to the table by its astonishing pink hue.

Sausage and carrot gnocchetti

If you can’t find gnocchetti (also called malloreddus) and don’t have it in you don’t have to make your own – use any other small pasta shape. Serves 4

carrots 300g
pork sausages 3 (200g)
extra virgin olive oil
red onion ½, finely chopped
garlic 1 clove, finely chopped
rosemary needles 1 tbsp, finely chopped
crushed dried chilli a pinch
red wine vinegar 3 tbsp
gnocchetti sardi 400g
sea salt
pecorino 50g, grated

Grate the carrots on the chunky side of the grater. Slit the skin of the sausages and crumble the meat finely between your fingers. Begin to brown the crumbled sausage meat in a wide pan with a couple of glugs of olive oil.

After 8 minutes, add the onion and continue to cook. Once the onion is well softened and the sausage has cooked down, add the carrot and continue cooking, moderate the heat so that it doesn’t brown.

After 5 minutes, once the carrot is soft, use your spoon to push everything aside so that there is a well in the centre of the pan. Add the garlic, rosemary and pinch of chilli, the red wine vinegar and a little extra oil if necessary. Fry briefly, turn the heat off and mix.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted, boiling water. Add half a cup of the cooking water to the carrots with the pasta when it’s ready. Stir everything together over the heat until well incorporated. Check seasoning and serve with grated pecorino.

Smashed broad beans with artichokes

‘It can be ready super-quickly’: smashed broad beans with artichokes.
‘It can be ready super-quickly’: smashed broad beans with artichokes. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

You can make this with the first fresh broad beans and artichokes, or more than make do with frozen beans and a jar of artichokes. It can be ready super-quickly – we enjoyed this for lunch with toasted bread, fresh cheese and a glass of red wine. Serves 2

red onion ½
garlic 1 clove
extra virgin olive oil
shelled broad beans 300g
sea salt and black pepper
butter 20g
artichokes in oil 1 x 250g jar
parsley 6 small sprigs
rosemary a few sprigs

Slice the onion and garlic and sweat in a pan over a medium heat in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Cook, stirring gently, for about 5 minutes. It needn’t be completely translucent.

Wash the broad beans (unless frozen) and add them to the pot. l like to cook them, stirring, until they are hot and barely cooked – about 7 minutes. Transfer the bean and onion mixture to the food processor and pulse to a rough smash. Return the smashed beans and onions to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add the butter and loosen with a couple of spoonfuls of water.

Heat a heavy dry pan and use a spoon to place in the artichokes from the jar, one at a time, with a small amount of their oil. Once they have seared a little turn them over, and introduce the parsley and rosemary into the oil around them. Once crisp, spoon the herbs over the artichokes.

Serve the broad beans topped with the artichokes and herbs.

Onion sauce and lemon sole

‘Boiling onions takes the sharp edge off’: onion sauce and lemon sole.
‘Boiling onions takes the sharp edge off’: onion sauce and lemon sole. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

I make this with leftover Tropea onion tops, which are also excellent for a summer barbecue. Boiling onions preserves their colour and takes the sharp edge off the flavour; this is not so good with raw onions. Ask your fishmonger to skin your sole. Serves 4

spring onions 1 bunch
anchovy fillets 5
garlic ½ a clove
sea salt

and black pepper
green chilli 1
salted capers 1 tbsp, washed
lemon juice of ½
extra virgin olive oil
dried oregano 1 tbsp
lemon sole 2 large
rosemary 2 branches
lemon 6 slices

To make the sauce, trim the roots and any shabby tops from the onion and boil them in salted water for 3 minutes. Then scoop them into a bowl of cold water to cool quickly. Lift them out of their bath and give them a squeeze and finely slice them, followed by the anchovies. Crush the garlic with a pinch of salt with the back of a heavy knife. Remove the seeds from the chilli and chop (you can leave the seeds if you like it spicy)

Mix the onions, garlic, chilli, oregano and anchovy with the capers, lemon juice and 6 tbsp of olive oil. Check the seasoning, but my bet is it will be spot on: sharp, hot, salty and strong.

Heat the grill. Season the fish with salt, drizzle a sheet pan with a little oil. Place the fish on and tuck under the rosemary. Lay the lemon slices on top. Grill for 7 minutes. Then turn the grill off, but leave the fish in the oven for 5 minutes more.

Serve with the sauce.

Rhubarb soup

Stick with it: rhubarb soup.
Stick with it: rhubarb soup. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

This fruit soup is quite close to the traditional Norwegian recipe. Serves 4

rhubarb 600g
lemon 1
orange 1
white wine 150ml
sugar 150g
cornflour 3 tbsp
crème fraîche 4 tbsp
vanilla pod seeds from ½
mint leaves a few shredded

Wash the rhubarb and cut it into 1cm pieces. Pare 2 long strips each of lemon and orange peel with a peeler. Cut the peel into thin strips, lengthways, with a sharp knife. Add it to a pot with the rhubarb, the juice of the orange, 150ml white wine and 150ml water and the sugar.

Bring to the boil and simmer until broken down a bit and cooked through. It should take about 7-10 minutes. In a bowl, add a couple of tbsp of water to the cornflour and stir into a paste. Over a low heat, add this paste to the pot and stir continuously, like you would a risotto. Continue to cook for 3 minutes more – it will quickly thicken, and the rhubarb will shred.

Take off the heat and move to a bowl to cool. As soon as it is cool enough, move to the fridge to chill. Whip the crème fraîche with the vanilla seeds, and serve in individual bowls with the cream and shredded mint.

The Observer aims to publish recipes for seafood rated as sustainable by the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide

Food stylist Henrietta Clancy



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