Where the air is scented with bergamot and world-class food is made in the homes of the locals.
Calabria, in southwest Italy, occupies the “toe” of the country’s boot-shaped peninsula. It’s a sun-baked region of rugged mountains, old-fashioned villages and dramatic coastline, with many popular beaches.
A seafood paradise rich swordfish, shrimp, lobster, sea urchin and squid. Macaroni – type pasta is used in regional dishes, often served with goat, beef or pork sauce and salty ricotta. Calabria is world renowned for its pepperoncino, and believe it or not they believe it makes the men stronger… in the bedroom. We will be learning the art of their chilli making too.
Kick off your food journey with Parma Ham and Melon, then savour a Calabrian twist on melanzane parmigiana followed by heavenly Seafood Pasta with linguine and end on a sweet note with baked stuffed figs.
Recipes For The Cooking Classes
Bomba Calabrian chilie Paste
Serves 2 / Ease of Recipe: Moderate / Prep time 20 min
1 cup – a mix of habanero chili, red chilli, and red pepper (deseeded and chopped)
150g Portobello mushrooms (chopped)
One large onion (peeled and chopped)
One large eggplant ( skin removed with a peeler and roughly chopped)
5g Fennel seed crushed
5g Oreganum dried
50ml cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine the mushrooms, eggplant and onion in a food processor, pulse until a fine consistancy forms.
2. Remove and set aside for later use. Clean the food processor cup and do the same with the chilies and peppers once done set aside for later use.
3. Place a medium size frying pan over meduim heat and line with a good helping of olive oil.
4. Now add the mushroom, eggplant and onion mixture to the pan and cook until the mixture becomes translucent.
5. Add the chopped chili and pepper mixture and cook for a furthur 8 minutes, now add the spices and seasoning to taste. Once cooked reomove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl allow to cool and refrigerate.
Traditional Melanzane Parmigiana
Serves 2 / Ease of Recipe: Moderate / Prep time 35 min
350g Large eggplants 80g Spicy salsiccia sausage or spicy salami – sliced
20g Fresh breadcrumbs
5g Fresh basil, chopped
50g Grated pecorino cheese (for top layer only)
2 hard boiled eggs sliced – optional
2g Ground black pepper
500ml Homemade tomato sauce (Napoletana)
200ml Home made white sauce
200gr provolone cheese sliced for layering
Sunflower Oil for shallow frying
Add bomba for extra flavour – optional
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Top and tail the egg plant. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into strips. Season with salt and set aside for half an hour. Rinse the eggplant strips under cold water to remove the salt and pat dry with a tea towel or kitchen papper.
3. Coat the egg plant with flour and dust off excess flour before frying.
4. Heat sunflower oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, enough oil for shallow frying . Once the oil is hot, add the eggplant strips, Sauté for a few minutes on either side until the eggplan is tender and has a slight golden brown look.
5. In the mean time set up a plate with paper towl and thransfer the cooked eggplant strips to the plate lined with the paper towl, then allow to cool for later use.
6. Prepairing the rest of the layering ingrediets :slice the hard-boiled eggs (optional), cheese and sausage or salami and set aside for later use.
7. At this point take a medium sized baking dish, lightly ladle some of the tomato sauce on the base of the dish, then line the dish with slices of eggplant on the base, cover with sauce, a handful of grated pecorino cheese and a layer of sausage, egg slices and provolone. Create another layer in the above mentioned order and finish with a layer of eggplant covered with more tomato sauce and dollops of white sauce and a sprinkling of the bread crumbs mixed with pecorino cheese. Place the dish into the oven at 200 degrees C for about 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.
Serves 2 to 4, depending on whether it is served as a starter or a main course.
The dish can be left to rest for a few hours, but if you can leave it over night for the next day even better as the flavoure profiles will be more prominent.
5g Parsley, finely chopped
80ml dry white wine
40ml Extra virgin olive oil
250g home made Napolitano
1 chilli finely chopped or home made bomba
2 Portions of linguine (blanched in boiling water
2g Ground black pepper
20g Capers, rinsed
5g Garlic, thinly sliced
120g de-shelled prawns (8 prawns)
120g Calamari tubes finely sliced (tubes and tentacles, tentacles kept
150g Mussels in shell
50g Red onion, finely chopped
1. Wash the mussels in cold water, removing any dirt
from the shells and removing the small beard – like part.
2. In a large pan, add a few tablespoons of water and white wine. Add the shellfish and cover with a lid; cook for 10 minutes or until the shellfish open. Remove the shellfish to a
3. In a large pan, add the garlic, onion, and extra virgin olive oil.
4. Saute over medium heat and season with salt and black pepper. Add the squid, tentacles, prawns and capers to the pan. Add the remaining white wine and cook down for 5 minutes. Add the Napolitana sauce. Now add the bomba. Add salt and black pepper for taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the shellfish and their cooking liquid to the large pan with all of the cooked ingredients. Add the parsley.
5. Add the cooked linguine to the pan with the fish condiments.
6. Add fresh extra virgin olive oil and stir and mix well (over a low heat). Serve the mixture in a deep pasta bowl and garnish accordingly.
Figs with Almond Stuffing
Serves 2 / Ease of Recipe: Moderate / Prep time 45 min
• 50g Honey
• Quarter tsp of ground cinamon
• 4 Large fleshy fresh figs
• 8 blanched almonds roughly chopped
• 4 cloves – crushed
• 4 vine leaves
1. In a sauce pan over meduim heat, heat the honey gently until it form a liquid concistency. Stir in the cinnamon and set aside for later use.
2. Place a small pot filled with water over meduim heat and bring to the boil. Blanch the vine leaves in the boiling water for 1 minute, remove the leaves from the water and spread on a towel to dry.
3. Split the figs open down the centre leaving one side attached. Fill with the almonds and cloves. Dip each fig in the honey mixture and then place a fig on each vine leave and wrap the leaf arround it, tying it up with string.
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
5. Arrange the bundles on a baking sheet and bake until the leaves dry out, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely before unwrapping to serve.
We hope that you reach this point because by then you will be stuffed!!