MARE, MONTI & TRUFFLE - OCTOBER - STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

This menu features some of our very favourite dishes– spaghetti vongole, tagliata & cannoli have rarely left the restaurant menu since our inception so many years ago. This is a superlative choice; a regional tour from Emilia-Romagna, through Tuscany, and down to Sicily - exactly what we have always strived for in the restaurant, and now available in your home – here, with the luxurious addition of grilled octopus, its rich saline succulence marrying wonderfully with earthy beef, and heady truffles.

For your meal you will need:

 

  • A large pan for boiling water for the pasta
  • A frying pan or wide saucepan for the sauce
  • A bbq, griddle pan, or heavy cast iron pan for the beef & octopus
  • An oven tray for the pumpkins
  • A truffle slicer, mandolin or grater for the truffles

 

 

Spaghetti with clams

Spaghetti alle vongole! What heaven. If ever there was a dish so worthy of the smiles even its mention brings, this is it. When in Italy, I go to the fish markets of Gaeta, just up the coast from Sperlonga, for the finest clams; in London, they are brought to me straight from Italy – and I in turn send them straight to you.

My trick is (a) lots of oil – half in the cooking and half at the end (b) clams, garlic and oil go in to a hot dry pan all at the same time and (c) no wine. Oh, and (d): really, really good clams and really, really good spaghetti.

 

Your pack serves 2 and contains:

  • Gentile Spaghetti; the finest dried pasta I have tasted
  • Clams, with some sliced garlic & a few chilli flakes
  • Some parsley, chopped
  • Plenty of fantastic olive oil

 

Directions:

  • Have ready a big pot of boiling, well-salted (10g/litre) water
  • Put the spaghetti on to boil – they take 8 minutes
  • Put half of the oil in with the clams, garlic & chilli, ready to add them in one fell swoop later, to the pan
  • 4 minutes before the pasta is cooked, set a wide frying pan or casserole over a very high heat
  • When its smokin’ hot, add – all at once –clams, garlic, chilli and oil
  • Shake the pan a bit. Depending on the width of the pan relative to the volume of clams you may want to cover it for a minute or two, but the goal is for the clams to all open, and their juices to reduce to a scant couple of tablespoonsful.
  • It is ok to cover the pan for some of the time or to add a dash of pasta cooking water, if it gets too dry. Conversely, if there is what looks like a puddle of water in the bottom, crank up the heat and evaporate it
  • When the pasta is al dente – just a tad less cooked than you like – drain it, reserving some more of the water just in case
  • Add the pasta to the clams, along with the chopped parsley and remaining oil
  • Cook over the heat, stirring to coat the pasta and thicken the sauce.
  • You can still adjust it by adding water (if too dry), oil (if unsure), or cooking longer together (if too wet or the pasta too crunchy for you)
  • Taste for seasoning, and serve immediately

 

 

Tagliata

 

Tagliata just means ‘sliced’ – a steak which is sliced when grilled. Sometimes, they are served plain – other times, with porcini mushrooms, or asparagus, or butter and sage, or rocket & tomato, or…

 

At any rate, at Bocca di Lupo we buy whole sirloins of 28-day aged British ex-dairy cows, and cut them into whopping 800g steaks ‘for 2’, though they are big enough probably for 3. We serve these behemoths with rocket salad on the side, everything garnished with rosemary oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan shavings.

 

 

The trick with steak is to get great, deep browning all over the outside, and cook the inside to an even temperature. Most cooks like to cook all the way then rest. I like to cook a little, rest a little, cook a little, rest a little

 

For a 2.5-3cm thick steak, you get to blue in 2 minutes on each side (high heat), then 2 mins rest. Subsequent stages (rare, mid-rare, medium, etc) are each about 1 min each side & 1 min rest. I like to cook to blue and rest, then cook to rare and rest, then cook to mid-rare and rest. Then I serve it, cos I like my steak medium rare – but if you like it more cooked, continue in the same manner. For a steak twice as thick (5-6cm), double all the cook and rest times.

 

If you have a meat thermometer, internal temperatures are

 

How do you like it

Before resting

rested

Blue

35-40C

40-45C

Rare

45C

50C

Medium-Rare

50C

55C

Medium

55C

60C

Medium-Well

60C

65C

Well Done

65C

70C

 

Your pack serves 2 as a main, and contains

 

  • A bone-in slab of sirloin
  • Wild Rocket
  • 24 month aged Parmesan shavings
  • Rosemary oil mixed with balsamic vinegar

You can cook the steak on a BBQ, on a griddle pan, in a frying pan or under an overhead grill (high up, and on high)

 

Directions:

 

  • Heat your grill smoking hot. You should be able to hold your hand 5cm above it for 5 seconds without burning yourself (don’t touch it, obviously)
  • Take the steak from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking
  • Season well with salt on both sides
  • Warm your serving platter
  • Grill the steak on 1 side for 2 minutes. Move it only if it starts to flare. Grill the other side, the same.
  • Then rest 2 minutes and the steak is blue.
  • Cook a further 1 minute each side and 1 minute rest for rare
  • Same again for medium rare
  • DO NOT BE AFRAID to carve your steak too raw – if it looks too bloody when you cut it, you can cook it more before or even after cutting
  • DO BE AFRAID of overcooking it. There is no ‘wrong’ in liking your steak well done – but if you cook it more than you like, there is no going back…
  • Meanwhile, clean your truffle: using a dry, clean brush (a new toothbrush is ideal here), scrub it carefully. Use a toothpick to probe out any deep crevices of dirt, and brush clean again
  • Carve the steak off the bone then slice thinly. If the bone is configured to permit standing it up in priapic glory, go for it. Arrange the meat slices carefully around.
  • Mound the rocket up next to the carved steak. Sprinkle some salt over the rocket (and maybe a bit over the carved beef)
  • Scatter the parmesan shavings, drizzle the rosemary oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Nestle the octopus alongside
  • Shave/grate vast quantities of truffle on top – if using a truffle slicer or mandolin, turn the gauge to 0 (so that the blade is sitting flat against the surface), then slowly open it by quarter turns, trying to shave a little truffle each time – the objective is to obtain whole slices of truffle, but as thin and transparent as they can possibly be. If using a grater, simply grate the truffle through fine holes

 

 

 

GRILLED OCTOPUS

Octopus are such amazing animals – beautiful, intelligent, otherworldly – one does well to examine one’s conscience before eating them. In my case, I am tempted by their delicious flesh but do feel guilty about it.

Your pack contains:

  • ¼ large octopus, boiled until just tender
  • Some fine olive oil
  • A small Sorrento lemon

 

Directions

  • Brush or rub the octopus with oil on all sides
  • Lay it flat on the grill. It will take a good 5-8 minutes to get well browned, which is the point
  • Turn it over, and repeat the other side
  • Nestle it next to the sliced tagliata & drizzle with oil

 

 

Roast pumpkin with sage & balsamic

 

Pumpkin has a bit of a bad rep in this country – no doubt a result of watery specimens fit only to be hollowed and lit with candles. Not so in Italy; delica squash is regarded as the finest of all the orange fleshed jewels, and ours come from an obsessive by the name of Oscar Zerbinatti; a man who grows the world’s most beautiful melons in the summer, and the finest pumpkins the rest of the year. After harvesting they are dry aged for a number of weeks to reduce moisture and concentrate the flavour. Roasted until dark gold and sweet, then topped with bittersweet vinegar and rich, savoury parmesan, they are a delight.

 

Your pack serves two as a side and contains:

  • Some large hunks of roasted pumpkin
  • Parmesan shavings
  • The finest butter, and some whole leaves of sage
  • Aged balsamic

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 200C (fan) or 220C (static)
  • Sit the sage on an oven tray, then the pumpkin on top
  • Dot the butter on top of this, then place the lot in the oven
  • Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the pumpkin is hot and browned, and the sage crisped
  • Remove from the oven and plate, then pour the sizzling butter & sage over
  • Scatter the parmesan atop, and drizzle the lot with the balsamic

 

Cannoli Siciliani

 

Cannoli – fried tubular biscuits of Marsala-infused pastry, filled with sweetened ricotta and spiked with candied orange, bittersweet chocolate and fine Bronte pistachio, are man playing God with your palate. We make ours too thin, and sweeten the ricotta too little, which is revelatory to eat but less robust: fill them at the last minute, or even at the table for a DIY dessert.

 

Your pack makes 2 cannoli, and contains:

  • 2 freshly fried cannoli tubes
  • Enough sweetened ricotta (studded with dark chocolate and candied orange peel) to fill them
  • Finely chopped Bronte pistachios

 

Directions:

 

  • You can fill these before you start cooking your meal - they keep fine for a few hours - or the moment before serving. Or you can do as we do in Bocca - decant the ricotta into a small bowl, and DIY the filling at the table.
  • Hold a cannolo tube ever-so-gently
  • Snip a corner from the bag of filling, and pipe the filling into each tube
  • Use the spoon to scrape the filling level to the slanted open ends of the cannolo
  • Dip both ends in the pistachio, to render them a perfect green

 ORDER NOW