Spaghetti with garlic, pangrattato and olive oil.
"Pangrattato" is basically Italian for breadcrumbs - so much more romantic! Good bread makes good crumbs, so I recommend using sourdough that's a day or two old.
There's no substitute for freshly grated parmesan here. If you plan to use pre-grated stuff, you might as well not bother with this recipe. Because the main player is the pasta, choose a good-quality one. It's crucial to cook it al dente - the texture is as important as the taste.
SPAGHETTI WITH GARLIC, PANGRATTATO AND OLIVE OIL
80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, made from stale bread
1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
freshly grated parmesan, to serve
Boil a large pot of salted water, and cook spaghetti for about 8 minutes. (Check about a minute before the manufacturers' recommended cooking time, as you want the pasta to be al dente.) Drain, reserving a quarter of a cup of the cooking water.
In a frying pan, warm olive oil to medium-hot, but not smoking. Add breadcrumbs, chilli flakes and a sprinkle of sea salt and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden. Add garlic and cook for another minute, toss in parsley and remove from the heat, then stir through lemon zest. Season with pepper and a little more sea salt to taste, then remove from pan and place in a bowl.
Return frying pan to the stove and add the cooked spaghetti, a little more oil and the reserved cooking water. Toss well and cook for a further 30 seconds. Stir through lemon juice, mix well.
Serve sprinkled with breadcrumb mixture and a liberal amount of parmesan.
250g plain flour, sifted
35g caster sugar
100g butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tbsp milk
egg wash (1 egg, 1 tbsp milk), to glaze
For the filling
3 extra large eggs
180g caster sugar
250g cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
750g fresh ricotta, well-drained
1/4 cup rum
grated rind of 1 orange
grated rind of 1 lemon
icing sugar, for dusting
Serves 8 to 12
For the pastry, sift flour, sugar and salt into a food processor, add butter, and pulse until a crumb-like mixture forms. Pulse in egg-and-milk mix. Transfer dough to a floured surface, using about two-thirds to form one ball, and the remainder to create another ball. Cling-wrap separately and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease a 20cm spring-form tin. On a floured surface, roll out the smaller dough ball to a 3mm thick round. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Roll the bigger ball into another 3mm thick round, place in tin and crimp the edges.
When the first round of pastry is firm from fridge, cut it into strips about 1cm wide. Refrigerate both tin and strips until needed.
For the filling, whisk eggs and 90g sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and the other 90g sugar on a medium speed. Mix in vanilla, then the ricotta, rum and rinds, then the egg mixture, until it starts to thicken.
Pour filling into pastry shell. Using the pastry strips, make a lattice-style pattern across the top. Brush pastry with the egg wash, and place tin in the centre of the oven.
Bake at 160°C for about an hour or until just cooked in the middle when tested with a skewer. Cool on a rack, then slide from tin onto a plate, dust with icing sugar and serve.
• When making the cheesecake, ensure you drain the ricotta by sitting it in a sieve (in the fridge) for an hour or two.
SOMETHING TO DRINK
This delicate and flavoursome Italian grape variety has plenty of acid drive to tackle this spaghetti's olive oil and garlic. Try the 2012 Pizzini Arneis ($22) from Victoria's King Valley; it's a lovely, versatile little gem, full of fruit and character.
Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.