Dining out...with Jono Fleming

As the days slowly get shorter and the temperature a little bit cooler, we are aaaall about stretching out the summer feels as long as possible.
And while dining out might have a whole new set of connotations these days (oh hey, Covid), we’re delighted that we can now group together in our part of the world. Hurrah for that. For those of us further afield who are still responsibly distancing, we stand with you and encourage you to make dining time as special as you can with a few little touches.
Our stylish friend Jono Fleming hosted a lunch at his farm recently, featuring our beautiful Butterscotch tablecloth. See his recipe for an autumn lunch below. Serves 2 but easily scaled up!
Buon appetito

Fresh spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, zucchini flowers and ricotta

Serves 2

Extra virgin olive oil

1 eschalot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

200g heirloom cherry tomatoes (choose a mix of colours)

200g zucchini flowers, stamen removed, stems thinly sliced, petals reserved

½ cup (120g) fresh ricotta

Chilli flakes (optional), to taste

Pasta dough (or use 250g ready-made fresh or dried spaghetti)

200g 00 flour (from delis)

2 eggs

Pinch of salt

Semolina, to dust

To make the pasta, place the flour on a wooden board, make a well in the centre and drop in the eggs and salt. Mix together using your fingers or a fork, then knead vigorously for about 10 minutes. At first it will look crumbly, but once your body heat activates the starch in the flour the dough will change its texture, transforming into a smooth, firm ball. (If you want to speed things up you can mix the dough ingredients in a food processor until they resemble wet sand, then tip onto a floured board, bring together with your hands and knead for 1 minute.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Cut the pasta dough into quarters. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest wrapped in plastic film to prevent it from drying out. Flatten the piece of dough with the palm of your hand, then pass it through the widest setting of a pasta machine 3-4 times, folding the dough into 3 each time. Continue passing the dough, each time through a thinner setting, until you get to the second-last setting or the pasta sheet is roughly 3mm thick. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin and a lot of elbow grease.

Pass the rolled sheets through the spaghetti setting, then dust the noodles with semolina and set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. If you’re using dried spaghetti, cook it now according to packet directions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil In a large, deep frypan over medium heat. Add the eschalot and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the zucchini stems and cook for 2-3 minutes until they begin to caramelise and brown, then toss in the tomatoes to soften.

If you’re using fresh pasta, add it to the water now and cook for 2 minutes or until al dente.

Remove the pasta directly from the pot to the pan with the sauce and toss to combine all the ingredients.

Transfer to bowls and dollop on the ricotta, sprinkle the zucchini flower petals, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper, and a sprinkling of chilli flakes if desired.