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Happy new year (buon anno) to all! I love the start of the year. It is an opportunity to say goodbye to what has been and to plan new ventures. 2015 promises to be an exciting year for me. I hope to be repeating the highly enjoyable seasonal cooking classes/lunches at Prospect Cottage and running classes in my new kitchen space at home in Melbourne’s inner north. Camera in hand (on a tripod actually), I will be trawling through my mother’s old black and white photos, so I can take high quality copies of them to use in blog posts and for other ventures I plan to pursue this year. I have also changed the look of my blog (which I last did this time last year), which makes greater use of images and a simpler format making it easier for you to find old recipes. And there is a planned trip to Italy in early March/April, which I am starting to get very excited about. One of the main reasons for going is to visit my zio Livio on his birthday on 21 March, when he will be turning 91. Amazing really. He had movie star looks in the 1940s and still looks terrific, forever smiling and hopeful. I wrote about him a couple of years back when I was staying with him and my aunt Dina and I shared his typical breakfast.

italy on my mind-livio carli in the 1940s

He is not able to leave his house these days and zia Dina has to do all the cooking, cleaning and errands, which is not easy as she is in her 80s. I dearly wish Australia was closer to Italy so I could visit more frequently – I would be back for a weekend every month! I hope to be able to spend lots of time with them when I visit and perhaps help zia Dina with meal preparation. Zio Livio adores seafood with pasta so I might go to the local pescheria and buy some vongole (clams) to make this recipe, though I will need to go easy on the garlic. Zio Livio, being born in the Veneto region, has a complete aversion to garlic – which seems strange for an Italian but if you look at Venetian cuisine closely, you will note that garlic is used sparingly.

pasta with pippies-italy on my mind-best food blog

pasta with pippies-italy on my mind-closeup-best food blog

More about the classes in the next few weeks but in the meantime, here is the recipe for pippies with fettuccine – feel free to omit the garlic if you are a Veneta!

Fettuccine with pippies

1 kg (2.2lb) fresh pippies (or you can use clams)
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
4 anchovies, finely chopped
1-2 dried red chillies
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tin peeled tomatoes (including their juice)
handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped
350 g (approx 12 oz) fettuccine (fresh home made or dried)

Clean the pippies by soaking them in a bowl of water for at least an hour. Drain and set aside.
In a large lidded frypan, place the garlic, anchovies and chilli with a good glug of olive oil and cook on medium heat until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the drained pippies and the wine and turn the heat up high. After a minute or so, reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan and allow to steam for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for the required time. Whilst the pasta is cooking, check the shellfish and remove any unopened shells. Complete the sauce by adding the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and toss in the pan with the pippies, scatter on some parsley, toss and serve. Drizzle on more olive oil or garnish with additional parsley if desired.

pasta with pippies-italy on my mind-foodgawker submission


  • Roberta Montagnese says:

    Hi Paola,

    I follow you on Instagram. This year I will be travelling to Italy for the first time and I will be travelling to the amalfi Coast for 6 days. We are trying to choose a base either Positano or Sorrento and don’t know which to choose. Seeing as though you travel to Italy would you have any suggestions Positano or Sorrento?
    Many warm regards Roberta

    Sent from my iPhone


    • ciao Roberta, how exciting for you to be going on a trip to Italy. I have stayed in Sorrento – which is a bigger town, quite beautiful and good to connect to Capri etc. I have only visited Positano for lunch and it was divine. It had more of a village feel and I would love to stay there in a villa with a view of the water. I also stayed in a villa on the outskirts of Amalfi itself once and that was gorgeous. So it depends on what you are after – to stay in a place in or of itself or as a place to base yourself in whilst you head to other places. I hope that helps and happy travels! I look forward to seeing photos on your Instagram feed

      • Debra Kolkka says:

        I agree that Sorrento is a great place to base yourself for trips around the area. Sorrento is a great town, yes, it is busy and s bit chaotic, but that is also part of its charm.

  • Debra Kolkka says:

    Your zio was indeed very handsome, what beautiful eyes. I hope he still has his lovely hair. If you are coming anywhere near Lucca in March or April, let me know.

    • Yes he was Debra thanks, he still does have a bit of hair, which is steely white and those beautiful eyes. I won’t be anywhere near Lucca unfortunately – apart from FVG we will be in Sicilia & Sardegna. Next time definately will have to visit Lucca (i have actually never been). Buon anno & thanks for all your blog comments over the past year, i love reading them 🙂

  • ferrari says:

    Hi Paola, happy new year to you and your family.

    One of the highlights of my childhood was summer trips to the beach with family and friends. Occasionally, those trips were immediately after a thunderstorm and when they coincided with an out-going tide, the sands were littered with pipis and a variety of other shellfish. Our folks would send us kids off to collect these then we’d head off home where mum would turn it all into a delicious “marinara” not unlike this. Those days are gone now but I’d love to try this with fresh pipis, where have you been finding them?


    • Ciao Albert, buon anno a te ed i tuoi. What a great childhood memory for you to have. There used to be so much seafood around the bay and plenty of southern Europeans collecting it from the shore. I remember collecting mussels with my father in the late 1970s but i suspect it dried up not long after that. I found the pippies at the Victoria Market a few weeks back – they were cheap and delicious. Un caro saluto Paola

  • Joanne OMara says:

    Hi ! thanks for a great day the other day!!!!we loved catching up! Whenever I see Sio Mario! I think of dentures! that was all a little weird when you stayed there in 1980, wasn’t it!J

  • ambradambra says:

    Good luck with the new venture Paola. Or should I say ‘in bocca al lupo’. I’m sure it will be very successful.

  • Lyn says:

    I am excited for you. You have a terrific year coming up. I love Sorrento but for me I feel that Positano is closer to everything.

  • Buon anno, cara Paola! I wish I was in your part of the world right now, as the Australian Open is starting soon. It’s high up on my list of places to visit and events to attend. I can hear in your words how excited you are about your upcoming trip to Italy. I may be there around the same time, though farther north. Debating between Piemonte, Liguria, and Emilia-Romagna for some book-related research. Who knows ~ maybe one day our paths will cross in one of these places! The blog looks great. Complimenti e in bocca al lupo per 2015.

    • Buon anno a te Domrnica! Thsnks for kind words. I am watching a match live on tv as I write (Azarenka vs Pliskova) – not yet the Aus Open but the lead up tournamnts are great too. A hard call as to where you plan to go for research – water draws me in every time and I would pick Liguria! I do hope we can meet somewhere one day soon. Un’abbraccio xx

  • paninigirl says:

    I love that you included the photo of your zio-so handsome. How wonderful it will be to cook for him! I look forward to hearing about your time in Italy.

  • PolaM says:

    My grandfather also was not a fan of garlic and it was used sparingly at home… strange how culinary traditions get changed and re-interpreted…

  • Michelle says:

    Sounds like a lovely year ahead. And what a beautiful dish!

  • Paola, your blog and the food photography are looking beautiful. Several panfortes a la Paola were generated by my kitchen this Christmas and well received around Melbourne.

  • Buon Anno Paola. This Museum theme looks ‘molto raffinata’! I need to change mine too so have been researching. Hope your classes and your trip to Italia go well. Ciao, Cristina

    • Grazie Cristina buon anno a te! I teakky like the new theme – love starting the new year with a fresh brand! Good luck in your search for a new theme Px

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