They say you should not have regrets in life – and I agree wholeheartedly. But sometimes I can’t help but look back and wish – just wish – I had done more of certain things. Like travel – I wish I had travelled a lot more. In a way I have travelled plenty – moving to England from Greece when I was 17 for example, that was one marvellous and life-altering journey. And I have travelled around certain parts of Europe, and even did a 6 month internship in New York in my 20s. But I there’s certain places I have only visited once and long to revisit again if kids and mortgages and fear of flying didn’t put roadblocks in my way.
When I was still in art college we went on a field trip to Florence and it was definitely one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken, still fresh in my mind decades later. My husband and I have one destination of on top of of travel list – or several if you divide it by cities – ITALY. We want to go to Venice, Rome, Florence (once again), and Modena (to visit Osteria Francescana) and all the lesser known cities to sample to incredible food, soak up the sun and haunt the galleries, operas and museums. Once life settles down a little I am booking that ticket – just watch me!
In the meantime, if I can’t spend any time in Italy, I will at least bring Italian food to my kitchen. And what would Italy be be without pasta – probably the most universally comforting and crowd pleasing food. Pasta doesn’t have to be complicated to be tasty either, you can’t go wrong by simply by using fresh and seasonal ingredients and quality products. Take this extremely simple Tagliatelle Pasta with Garlic Mushrooms created by Genarro Contaldo for Bertolli with Butter. The base recipe has only five ingredients. not including the pasta, and yet it is incredibly delicious and ready in under 20 minutes.
I gave Genarro’s recipe a little twist to include chicken and Marsala wine for an even more satisfying dish. Simply heat a little Bertolli with butter in a large pan and sauté the garlic, add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and add the mushrooms – wild mushrooms if you can find them as they will add intense depth of flavour to the recipe. Add the wine and vegetable stock, return the chicken to pan and cook until the sauce is slightly reduces and chicken is cooked through.
- 400 g mixed wild mushrooms
- 300g | 10½oz skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
- 2 tbsp Bertolli with Butter (or butter)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- ½ red chilli, finely sliced (optional)
- 120ml | ½ cup hot vegetable stock
- 2-3 tbsp Marsala wine
- 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 400g | 14oz tagliatelle
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook until al dente. Drain and set aide.
- Melt the Bertolli with Butter in a large frying pan. Pan fry the chicken until almost cooked through. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the Marsala wine to deglaze the pan and scrape any browned bits of chicken.
- Add garlic and chilli and cook on low heat until softened.
- Increase the heat, add mushrooms and stir fry for a minute.
- Add stock and chicken and continue to cook for 3 – 4 minutes on a medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked through and the liquid has evaporated slightly. Stir in the chopped parsley.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Serve immediately.