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“I remember many years ago, some super kick arse chefs who have a beautiful walled garden close to Bristol, asked me what my favourite thing to cook was. I couldn’t really answer! Put on the spot, the thing that was most obvious (and has never wavered since that time) was PASTA! Pasta with a tomato sauce, splash of leftover red wine, cream, a pinch of chilli and heaps of garlic! It wasn’t the most flamboyant of dishes, I felt really daft. However, it was true, its been a staple of mine for forever. Pasta comforts me, puts a spring in my step-its my go to love. This may have something to do with my Italian blood!”

So I would like to share the recipe with you, albeit a slight variation. Hopefully it will have the same effect on you this gloomy January.

Firstly, pour yourself a negroni! And put some music on – I recommend Fred Buscaglione! It will set the mood.

Equal parts, so you can choose how large this short drink is!

Gin 30ml

Campari 30ml

Vermouth 30ml

Orange 1, peeled to garnish

And ice!



serves 2 (with a little extra sauce for mopping with bread)


200g fine semolina

110g/ml  hot water

2 cloves garlic

1  small onion (don’t worry too much about colour just what you have)

1 tin of tomatoes

60g  nduja (Calabrian spicy pork)

50g  pecorino/ parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Elderberry vinegar / splash of red wine vinegar

Splash of leftover wine if you have

Salt and pepper



Boil the kettle and wait for it to cool for 5 minutes. Place 200g of fine semolina, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil in a bowl. When the water is a bit cooler than boiling add 110g/ml of water to the semolina. When it is combined pour the mix onto a work surface and knead till its like a babies’ bottom. Form into a round, cover and then rest for 30 minutes.

Peel and grate the garlic. Peel and dice the onion.

Pour a good glug of olive oil into the frying pan, set on a medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion till soft and golden, then add the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for a further minute till you can smell the aromas of the garlic – then add a splash of vinegar and cook for a further minute. (Its my secret trick to get the onions sweet and tasty.) Add 1/2 the Nduja sausage and cook for 1 minute. Then add 400g tinned tomatoes, rinse the tin out with a bit of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer till the sauce has thickened. Next, a splash of the wine, cook off the wine and finally add the remaining ndjua. Set to one side whilst you make the pasta.

Sprinkle your work surface lightly with semolina, take your round dough and cut a slice approx 1 cm thick. Then with your hands roll the dough out into a long sausage approx the thickness of a straw, around 0.5 cm diameter. Then cut approx 2 cm pieces with a knife. With the back of a fork push the the little nuggets down the fork and you will get indentations like in the photo. Or you can buy a wooden butter paddle from Ebay and enjoy this very old and beautiful tool to make them.

When you have finished rolling out all of your nuggets of joy, get a pan of salted boiling water ready to cook the pasta. This pasta dough is a lot more forgiving than egg pasta, keep tasting it till its ready, it should float to the surface when its almost done –  it will take approx 5 mins. Then scoop it out with a slotted spoon and add to your tomato sauce, stirring to smother all the tomato juices in and around these lovely shaped pastas. Add a splash of the pasta water too, this will help loosen everything together nicely and give a lovely glossy finish. Drizzle with olive oil and add a generous helping of your cheese. I like to grate with a fine grater. Serve with more parmesan/pecorino – which ever you can get your hands on.

Good luck, enjoy and share your pictures with me @artichokeeater #wellchuffed

Elise Briccolani is a wonderful chef celebrating produce, land and people

She is available for private cheffing, events and retreats

Based in Bristol and Sweden