One thing I always love when I’m in Italy is the sauteed greens, I would eat a plate of them on their own with just some crusty bread which I often do when I can’t fit a “secondi”(meat or fish)!! They do a really good version in Bru’s aunt’s restaurant Il Viccolo in Atina. We were actually watching some old home movies on Sunday in Bruno’s house of his Nonno and Nonna’s 50th wedding anniversary when he was about 10. It was so nice to watch as the whole family were there, about 30 of them all dressed up in their 1980’s finery and of course the whole video was taken in a restaurant in the local hotel which is where they still go even now to celebrate family birthday’s etc. This is what I love about Italy as an outsider – the family traditions whereby all generations of the family come together frequently to eat good food and spend quality time together, maybe I have a romantic image of it from the outside looking in or that it just didn’t happen in mine, either way I like it!!. 

That same hotel hasn’t been updated or modernised since and it only costs about €25 a night, my own family stayed there a couple of years back. We’ve eaten there lots of times and to this day they still don’t have a menu or much staff, the dining room is as simple as you can get, no candles or music, the atmosphere is provided by the local families and their “loud” conversations!! It’s run by a local couple, he serves and she cooks and you basically eat whatever she has made that day which for some reason always seems to be an antipasto of parma ham and mozzarella, pasta fagioli and then rabbit done in white wine which I love, bring on the holiday!! I am now counting the days until “I’m leaving on a jet plane” lalalalala (sorry couldn’t help it) – I bet you sang along though;)

As most of you know I live near Superquinn so it is where I do most of my shopping, they all know me at this stage with all the requests and questions I’m always asking. The veg guy just laughs when he sees me on Monday mornings as most of their stock isn’t on the shelves yet so there is always something he has to find for me. My latest request is purple sprouting broccoli as it’s in season and they had it last year so I asked for it last week so I’m waiting in anticipation!! I was delighted to see Kale in stock last week so teamed with spinach I decided to make this dish that I love to have as a “contorno” with fillet steak. 

what you need:

 – spinach & kale  – you can also use swiss chard and purple sprouting broccoli!!!

 – 1 chilli finely chopped

 – 1 garlic clove finely sliced

 – juice of 1 lemon

 – sea salt and black pepper

 – olive oil

what to do:

 – wash your spinach and kale thoroughly, the large leaf spinach tends to be quite dirty.

 – bring a a pot of water to the boil, add salt and cook your greens for 3-5 mins. Drain and rinse under cold water, squeeze out excess liquid and chop.

 – heat some olive oil in a pan, add your garlic and chilli and cook over a low heat until soften. Add your greens, season and saute until heated through.

 – add your lemon juice and serve!!!

buon appetito!!