Fancy recipes for fancy Iftars

#GraziaGirlGang advocate for food, Carla Dabis - aka Memoirs of a Tastebud - talks us through two recipes you can serve up (with a considerable amount of pride, if you ask us) at any Iftars you're hosting this Holy Month...
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Fancy recipes for fancy Iftars

Whether your thing is socialising in glamorous tents or cooking up homemade meals with the family, Ramadan is upon us. Many of us count the hours until sunset, when Iftar feasts become a bounty for both body and soul. And if you're the hostess with the mostess (or at least attempting to take on that role - we feel you), then you may want to use the quiet time of the day and the shorter working hours to plan a fabulous soirée of an Iftar... or at least daydream about it.

The best part about being a food blogger is stepping into the kitchen where the magic happens and meeting the humans behind the food. A couple of months ago, the Westin Abu Dhabi graciously welcomed me behind the scenes at their Italian homestead Sacci to test drive a few dishes from their new menu. As Head Chef Guiseppe effortlessly prepared Fagottini, bag-shaped ravioli, and Cod Acquapazza, I inquisitively rustled around the kitchen in a flurry trying not to burn down the entire place – don’t be fooled by how graceful I may appear in the videos.

In the event that you are feeling fancy this Ramadan, I'm sharing Sacci's surprisingly simple recipes which are a small taste of southern Italy and are sure to impress your guests...

Fagottini

Ingredients

50g flour

50g semolina

1 egg

30g cherry tomatoes

5g pine nuts

10g black olives

5g capers

4 black anchovies              

For Saccottini pasta filling:

50g sea bass                                 

50g red mullet                           

50g cod                                          

30g salmon                                  

10g mascarpone cheese            

5g salt                                        

5g pepper                                    

Zest of 1 lemon

Method

• Cook all the fish for 5 minutes in the oven, shredding it while it's still hot

• Once the fish cools down, store in the fridge

• For the pasta dough, mix together the flour with the semolina and egg. Rest in the fridge and then flatten the dough to 2mm thick, cutting into squares

• Mix the ingredients for the filling and spoon into the dough squares, sealing the four corners by using water to stick them together

• For the sauce, put olive oil and black anchovies in a pan, letting them melt slowly before adding the cherry tomatoes, black olives and pine nuts. Stir to make a thick sauce

• Fry capers in oil and use on top for garnish

Cod Acquapazza

Ingredients

160g cod skin                     

30g clams                                 

50g artichoke             

25g cherry tomatoes                

80ml fish stock                            

16g samphire                             

5g salt                                        

5g pepper                                  

5g garlic                                    

5ml chili oil                                  

Method

• Pre-heat a non-stick pan and once hot, place the cod in it

• In a small pot, place the garlic, chili oil and a little olive oil. When the oil starts to become hot add the clams, cherry tomatoes and fish stock and cover

• After a few minutes, turn the cod and in the same pan place the artichoke and finish cooking for few more minutes

• When the clams open, add the samphire

Photo: iStock