During our time in Italy focusing on this project, we have had a lot of help from a lot of people. We know we’re really lucky to have some wonderful friends, people who have been extremely generous with their time and their talent.
This week, just after we decided we needed to make a promotional video without spending any money, who better to turn up from London than Rupert; old friend/editor/producer and film maker who was willing to give up a week of his time to help us.
Rupert, our hero.
The hastily assembled crew, which consisted of me (tripods, umbrellas, dialogue coach, hair and makeup), marito (a star is born!) Martyn (another old friend on stills) and the girls (annoying sound effects) were unflagging despite the rain and the wise words of yet another old friend ringing in our ears, “you should have done it in the summer”. We think we got enough film ‘in the can’ for a four minute video (with marito secretly hoping for a mini series!)
Working with a professional filmmaker was a fascinating experience; someone who can walk down an unfamiliar street and instantly see ‘the shot’, who can judge light and atmosphere with a glance. The creative process that goes into making a short film is astounding, the ability to encapsulate and distil all that visual information.
So, although marito may think he was the ‘star’, the real star of this whole production was Rupert, he even managed to coax ‘Big Al’ out of the butcher’s for a cameo role!
Now we have to wait for the final cut but, rest assured, the ‘premiere’ will be right here for your amusement. Until then, it’s back to the daily grind for marito I’m afraid, apart from the occasional starry tantrum!
The star, struggling with his lines...
The best thing I ate;
Penne con zucca et salvo arrosta
(Penne with roast pumpkin and sage)
Well, goodness me, in honour of Halloween, marito brought home quite the most enormous pumkin I have ever seen. Extremely beautiful it was too but, waste not want not, I have risen to the challenge and we have been feasting on it ever since. With a nod to Judith in Umbria, my fellow blogger and culinary muse, I have been refining my recipe for roast pumpkin and penne, quite delicious in a very savoury, sweet, ‘pumpkiny’ kind of way. It’s quite a rich dish and would go well with an astringent green salad on the side, not the Italian way, I know, but here goes anyway…
About 1kg pumpkin skinned and cut into small chunks
3 or 4 whole cloves of garlic (in their skins)
2 peperoncini, finely chopped
a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
a large handful of sage leaves (left whole)
150ml of good olive oil
Ground black pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Put the pumpkin, garlic, peperoncino, thyme and sage into a bowl, then pour over the olive oil and season generously with the salt and pepper. Mix the whole lot together (being careful not to break up the sage leaves). Tip into a roasting tin and roast for about 30 minutes or so. Different types of pumpkin (and there are many) have different cooking times so it’s best to check after half an hour, what you’re looking for is a melting texture with slightly caramelised edges.
Meanwhile cook your pasta until ‘al dente’. When your pumpkin is cooked, remove it from the roasting pan with a slotted spoon and keep it somewhere warm, while you pop the garlic out of it’s skin and mash it into the sweet oily pan juices. Tip the pan juices into the pasta and mix thoroughly. Pile the pumpkin on top of the pasta making sure everyone gets some of the lovely crispy sage leaves. Add a grating of parmesan if you wish. Serves 4 to 6 people depending on the ‘greed factor’.
Where to get it;
Make it yourself