Spanish pizza chain La Mafia sparks outrage in Italy

A BUSY chain of Spanish restaurants has sparked outrage in Italy for its Mob-themed eateries and odes to The Godfather.
There are 34 La Mafia outlets across the country, adorned with images of the Sicilian Mafia’s most notorious killers.
The only thing missing is horses heads on the menu
But Italians are furious that the Spanish chain is cashing in on the infamy of the Mafia.
“Can you imagine what would happen in Spain, if Italy opened a pair of restaurants dedicated to terrorists from ETA,” insisted crime journalist Attilio Bolzoni.
“Or what would happen in Germany if in Rome they opened breweries with sausage and sauerkraut in honour of the Red Army Faction?”
Spanish diners however have been easily seduced by La Mafia’s pizza and pasta dishes with bosses planning to add another 15 restaurants to the chain’s roster over the next year.
The Spanish business has also boosted its marketing efforts, giving itself the slogan ‘The Mafia creates work’.
This is not the first time a restaurant has exploited the notoriety of the Mafia.
Last summer an Austrian café named its sandwiches after famous victims of the Italian mob. The decision sparked a diplomatic incident between Roma and Vienna


 4 peaches, halved and stoned
8 amaretti biscuits
1 tbsp honey
25g unsalted butter, diced
For the mascarpone cream:
4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds, to serve
Place the peach halves cut-side up in an ovenproof dish. Crumble the amaretti biscuits and sprinkle them into the holes in the peaches. Drizzle with honey.
Dot the peaches with butter and bake in a preheated oven, 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6, for 15-18 minutes, until tender.
Whisk together the mascarpone, icing sugar and liqueur in a small bowl.
Serve the peaches with a dollop of the mascarpone, sprinkled with flaked almonds.


1 tbsp olive oil
2 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g minced beef
150ml red wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp dried oregano
400g spaghetti
4 small vines of cherry tomatoes
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon until golden. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is softened.
Increase the heat, add the minced beef and cook to brown.
Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 20-22 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.
Heat a griddle pan and cook the tomatoes for 3-4 minutes.
Drain the pasta and divide between 4 bowls. Spoon over the sauce, top with a vine of tomatoes and serve with grated Parmesan.

Peaches are our expert's favourite fruit, raw, soaked in red wine or in Vin Santo and honey

Asparagus alla Milanese

Serves 4
•           1 lb. medium asparagus spears, tough ends removed
•           2 Tbs. unsalted butter
•           4 extra-large eggs
•           Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
•           1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
•           Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil.
•           Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and divide the spears evenly among warmed plates.
•           In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Break each egg into the pan, taking care not to puncture the yolk or let the egg whites overlap. Cook for 2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 2 Tbs. water into the pan, cover and cook until the whites are solid but the yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes more.
•           Using a spatula, carefully drape 1 fried egg over each serving of asparagus. Sprinkle each serving liberally with the cheese and serve immediately. 

Aglio e olio (Basic oil and garlic sauce) To die for

Water for boiling
1 lb. spaghetti or other pasta
1 tablespoon salt for pasta water
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes (peperoncino) or a few whole dried peppers
1/4 cup pasta water (or more)
1 clove finely minced garlic
Chopped Italian parsley to taste
1/2 cup or more freshly grated parmesan, grana or asiago cheese
Heat a heavy skillet and add good extra virgin olive oil. Don’t let the pan get too hot. Add chopped garlic. SautĂ© for 5 minutes. The flavor should slowly sweat out of the garlic. It shouldn’t brown or it will get bitter.
Add the water from the pasta to the oil and garlic mixture, and stir vigorously (you can even use a whisk) to form an emulsion.
Drain the pasta. Add the garlic-oil-water sauce, the minced garlic, parsley and cheese, toss and serve. Offer salt, freshly ground pepper and additional cheese to taste. Remove whole peppers if you used them
Serves four as first course.

To die for


6 servings
For the pesto
2 ounces (2 cups packed) arugula, coarsely chopped
1 small clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta
3 tablespoons kosher salt, for the cooking water
1 pound dried spaghetti or linguine
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
20 ounces canned baby clams, such as Roland brand (not drained)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  For the pesto:
Combine the arugula and garlic in a mini food processor or blender; pulse until the greens are finely chopped. Add the cheese, the canola and extra-virgin olive oils, and the salt and pepper; process until smooth. The yield is 1/2 cup.
  Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt, then the pasta, and cook according to the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the wine in a large, nonreactive saute pan over medium-high heat; cook until most of its alcohol burns off, about 2 minutes. (You’ll be able to tell when you sweep your hand over the pan, toward you, and can’t smell the wine.) Add the lemon juice, the clams and their can juices, the extra-virgin olive oil and the crushed red pepper flakes.
Transfer 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to the saute pan. Reduce the heat under the saute pan to medium; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
Drain the pasta well, then add to the saute pan along with 1/4 cup of the pesto (reserve the rest for another use). Return the pan to medium heat for 1 minute, tossing to coat the pasta completely and warm through.
Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls. Serve right away.