Feeling giggly about GIGLI :P

Time flies.  It’s already been two months since I moved to Italy.  From Yuen Long to the hills of Teolo and now I can finally call the small town Castelfranco my home.  I don’t know for how long but I’m definitely embracing every moment here.  Many friends asked if I like living in Italy and I couldn’t think of a better way to express my enthusiasm but to praise about its amazing fresh produce.  I’m not kidding.  Italian fresh produce is really one of the many reasons why one should take pride for living here without any doubt.  And of course there is more to love about Italy whether it'd be food, people, fashion, design, or tradition.  The list is endless.  

My everyday living seems like a fun journey and I seldom get bored.  I met a lot of cool people and got heaps of inspiration everywhere.  I sometime wonder why I appreciate living abroad so much more than before.  I did spend my entire teens and early 20’s in NY but I can't retrace the same amount of joy I have now.  My only explanation is the inevitable truth with age comes wisdom and I learn to appreciate smaller things.  And I might’ve finally found my true passion in life — food.  

I can’t remember when exactly I came across this pasta name — gigli.  All I recall is that I naturally pronounced it as “geegly.”  And the two Italians (Marco and Carlo) who heard me at that time immediately burst out laughing.  Honestly, I’m still having a hard time trying to pronounce this comical term.  It’s supposed to sound something like “GEEEEeeg’Yeee.”  Well, that’s what I’ve gathered so far.  

So gigli the pasta was introduced by my food guru aka Duccio from The Geometry of Pasta.  Gigli is Italian for lilies.  This also explains why the pasta shape is like a flower. I’ve made two different sauces to go with this pretty pasta.  Simple and delicious!  Oh and let me share some other photos I took when I was at Padova before.  

Creamy mushroom and ricotta gigli

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients: 

100-150g white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 white onion, finely chopped

50g ricotta

1 cup milk/cream

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 lemon juice and zest

1/2 glass white wine

1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp dried oregano (optional)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

200g gigli 

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta according to its package label.  *Drain the cooked pasta 1-2 minute earlier and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water for later.  

2) Preheat a saucepan with olive oil on medium heat, cook onion for 3-5 minutes until translucent, add mushrooms, garlic, and dried oregano.  Stir and add white wine. 

3) Let the alcohol evaporates, add milk and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 5 minutes with a lid on.  Add ricotta.  Stir and season. 

4) Add the cooked pasta and the pasta water to the saucepan.  Mix well.  Heat off.  Add parmesan (leave a couple tablespoon for garnishing).  

5) Garnish with some chopped parsley, a twist of lemon juice+zest, grated parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Gigli with tomato sauce

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

2-3 plum tomatoes, chopped into chunks

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/2 can tomato sauce

1 handful fresh basil

1/2 glass red wine

1/4 cup grated parmesan

200g gigli

extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions: 

1) Bring a pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta according to its package label.  *Drain the cooked pasta 1-2 minute earlier and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water for later.  

2) Preheat a saucepan with oil on medium heat, cook onion for 3-5 minutes until translucent, add the chopped basil and tomato with red wine.  Reduce heat to low after the alcohol evaporates.  Season.  

3) Cook the sauce for 3 - 5 minutes with a lid on low heat.  

4) Add pasta water, grated parmesan and cooked pasta to the saucepan.  Mix well.  Heat off.  

5) Garnish with some fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.  

Il Salone e la Piazza is known as one of the ten best markets in Italy

Vendors set up shop every morning but Sunday.  So if you want to get some ultra-fresh produce, better get there before noon.  :) 

Yes, strawberry is in season.  They taste as good as they look.  

Needless to say, my girlfriend and I had our little shopping frenzy LOL

Yeah, falling in love with Padova is easy.