In Britain, school children are enjoying their Half- Term holiday. It means that they are half way between the Summer holiday and Christmas. It was always en exciting time for me. Lots of time spent outdoors collecting wood for bonfires, collecting shiny brown conkers and inhaling the sharp woody smells of Autumn. For Halloween we would carve a smiley face on a pumpkin and put a white candle inside. It would be left burning in the front garden to keep away the witches. We played bobbing apples and ate toffee apples. We didn't go trick or treating, that was an American idea.
When I came to Italy, the First of November, All Saints day, was a rather sombre moment .People trailed round the country taking chrysanthemums to their loved ones resting places and ate sweets called 'favette'. In recent years Halloween has become a very popular holiday in Italy and children have fancy dress parties and hollow out pumpkins. Opinions differ as to whether this is suitable behaviour during what was traditionally a solemn event. Most people seem to think that any excuse for a bit of jollity can't be bad and children seem to agree.
So to get yourself in the mood for Halloween you can make my Spaghetti alla Dracula.
You have to use quite a lot of garlic, so be warned. You must know that garlic can taint your breath and so your partner must eat it too. In Southern Italy garlic is used to protect you from harm .Victorian ladies supposedly used bad breath as a deterrent for unwanted suitors.
Garlic is also renowned for its healing properties. You have to be careful though, it must be crushed so as to release its oil, allowing beneficial sulphur compounds to form, but it will lose these if cooked too fiercely. Eating one or two garlic cloves a day has been proved to have substantial effect on heart health.
Spaghetti alla DraculaServes two
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 glass of tomato passata
Lightly cook the crushed garlic in the olive oil and add the Passata di pomodoro and the pepperoncino if using. Sprinkle over the dried basil.
Simmer gently for about 30 minutes, adding some of the water from the spaghetti if it gets too dry.
Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to the packet, then drain and stir in the sauce.
Serve with grated cheese.
All you need after this is a green salad and maybe a chunk of Pecorino.
Buon appetite and have fun eating this.