Almost a year ago I had the fortune of meeting this beautiful woman named Raffaela. Now, of course, I was first attracted to her beautiful smile and shining eyes although, you know, a person can be as beautiful as you want but if they don’t know how to make a parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmigiana) then we’re sorry because beauty is temporary, hunger is forever. Luckily for us though, Raffaela is not only just a beautiful woman but she is also a great cook and, most of all, is passionate about food just like us and perhaps even more so! Come with us and discover
Flavourhood Tours where you can meet Raffaela and her neighborhood.
Raffaela and Flavourhood Tours
After a few conversations with Raffaela via chat and social networks, we though it was a good idea to catch up in person and, most importantly, eat some food together. Raffaela is a Sydney Road local who grew up near Coburg. During our first conversation we learned that Raffaela’s favourite dish is Linguine con le Vongole. Now, being an Italian guy from Southern Italy, Linguine con le Vongole is for me a masterpiece. You can come up with a 5-star signature dish good enough for Masterchef but nothing, no nothing can possibly beat Linguine con le Vongole.
On a lovely Sunday morning I met Raffaela on Sydney Road:
“I truly love Sydeny Road. The area holds many childhood memories and I continue to spend much of my time here today. I come from an Italian family and believe this is where my strong passion and love of food comes from”
Raffaela showed me all the beauty of Sydney Road while we were hunting for the ingredients needed for lunch; first of all, the vongole.
After working at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival on restaurant and bar crawls and Mc’ing at festival events she discovered her love for hosting people and showing them Melbourne’s diverse food scene.
Walking around Sydney Road she explained to meet how Flavourhood Tours began:
“I started by taking friends on unofficial tours of Sydney Road and they encouraged me to do more! I genuinely want to welcome people to the area and share with curious people its food and stories”
Falavourhood Tours offer small group tours exploring mostly by foot. Stepping away from the well-known, touristic parts of Melbourne, Raffaela will introduce you to the restaurant and cafe’ owners, the shopkeepers and bar tenders, the local personalities. You will discover what makes her Neighborhoods unique: the people, the stories, the history and of course the food!
Linguine con le vongole.
We struggled a little to find the vongole for this dish but finally we got them! So it’s time to cook, especially because after all this walking now I’m starving!
So, first of all: ingredients? no, let’ have a glass of wine to start and some music. I just discovered this playlist on Spotify called “walking on sunshine.” Every track makes you feel happy and while you are cooking it’s perfect! What’s your favorite song Raffaela?
“I love ‘Golden Oldies’ so one of my favorite songs is ‘Dreamlover – by Sam Cooke’. Also Bob Marley’s ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’…helps me to keep positive and keep going when life gets too much sometimes”
And You? What’s your favorite songs while you are cooking?
Now back to the ingredients:
[Preparation: 10 min] [Cooking time: 20 min] [Portion: 4ppl]
- Linguine 400g
- Vongole 1kg (trust me are never enough!)
- Garlic 1 clove
- Parsley, a bunch
- E.V.O oil 4 tbs
- Chili, 2 ( or more, depends how spicy you like it!)
The original recipe would be with spaghetti but, Raffaela told me that since she was child she always loved linguine. Her mum taught Raffaela how to make home made pasta but not linguine and she always wanted to learn because she loves it. So instead of spaghetti we are going to use linguine. Actually, I prefer linguine as well with vongole.
First of all, the water. While it’s taking its time to boil, wash your vongole with running water just to remove extra sand from them.
Then start chopping the garlic, the chili and a little bit of parsley. Add four tbsp of oil in a pan, add the garlic, the parsley and chili.
If you have some anchovy fillets add one or two to give a little bit of saltiness. I didn’t ask if you like, I just said add them!
Then add the vongole. Cover the pan with a lid and keep it closed! Just cook for a couple of minutes,enough to let them open and release their on juice. Once open remove from the stove. Drain the vongole in a bowl, keeping the liquid aside. Take half of the vongole and remove them from their shells.
Start to cook the pasta. And please, only cook pasta to the point that it is aldente. The two key ingredients in this dish are the pasta and the vongole. That’s it. So both the pasta and the vongole have to be cooked properly.
In the same pan add the liquid from the vongole, let it condense a little and add the pasta. Then add the vongole that you removed from their shells. Toss well.
Add some chopped parsley. Add the rest of the vongole with shells still on, for visual effect (and eat them too). Well done! Now enjoy this simple but water-mouthing and delicious dish and discover why it’s Raffaela’s favourite.
We matched this Linguine e Vongole with a Reserve de Fabregues Costieres de Nimes Rosé which displays a very pale pink colour. Light, fresh and elegant. Reveals delicate peony notes and strawberry aromas.