Picture yourself at a seafront restaurant in the Isle of Ischia off the Bay of Naples on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. After a walk on the beach you’ll probably want to treat yourself to a cool glass of white wine and platefuls of pasta with freshly caught seafood.
We were lucky enough to enjoy this ourselves on our recent trip to Italy. The setting and the food both made such an impression on us, giving us the inspiration to create our very own seafood dish.
Our lunch was spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies, and penne with a smooth tomato cream sauce and prawns, topped with rocket. Both sauces showed how simple ingredients can be brought together to create brilliant food and how pasta can be a great conduit for flavour. We wanted to bring combine these two dishes, keeping the essence of their tastes while creating something new and distinct.
When creating a sauce in Italian cooking, there’s an array of ingredients to choose from – do you have garlic, onion or chilli; which fresh herbs do you use; how much tomatoes; and which of the cheeses, if any? The trick is to achieve a balance where no single flavour dominates but instead all components compliment each other. We settled on a tomato and anchovy sauce with rosemary, dried chilli and a dash of cream, mixed with prawns, lemon and chopped rocket leaves.
The restaurant in Ischia was called Bagno Lucia and, coincidentally, Lucia is also our second daughter’s name. So in their honour, we have decided to call our new dish Spaghetti Lucia. We would love to see you at our pop up restaurant, where we could give a flavour, at least, of a Sunday lunch in Ischia.