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What is a cheap meal that will impress people?


Cheap but truly impressive

Cheap as in not expensive, right? Ok, here we go. Before heading for the kitchen, some advice. Introduce the dish properly, tell your guests a little story. On how you ate that very dish in Italy. You were lost, looking for road back to the hotel when you found that little ‘trattoria’. The old woman reluctantly gave you the recipe.

Don’t be stingy on the details. Come up with the name of the village (Castronovo, Licate, Pozzi or similar italian sounding names), a trattoria (da Pino, La rustica, Il cavaluccio) and the old woman’s name (Peppina, Carmela, Ursula).

Fry unpeeled garlic in olive oil, remove it when the fragrance is released. Add tomato sauce (fresh is better, a tin/bottle is more likely). Add some capers, black (unboned) olives and some oregano. You may add a tin of tuna, if you can stretch your budget a little further.

Didn’t it work? Let’s try again…

Believe it or not, this dish has a name: Aeolian (Ah-Eh-Oh-Li-An) pasta, after the islands north of Sicily. Picture yourself in a small restaurant, enjoying the shade on a hot summer day. A fisher boat bobs gently on the deep blue sea, the fading discussion of two tanned boys passing. The beautiful young waitress – she’s the owner’s daughter and called Claudia brings your pasta; she has her thumb in your plate and apologizes when you notice. She licks her thumb and smiles and just before going back in she turns winks at you. When you think life could not be any better, you taste the pasta.

Buon appitito

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