How To Entertain This Month – With Alexandra Dudley

Alexandra Dudley is a food columnist, cookbook author and host of the Come For Supper podcast. In this monthly column, she shares delicious recipes for chic at-home entertaining. This time, it’s an Italian feast – plus, a simple strawberry pudding…
By Alexandra Dudley /

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

June is one of my favourite months to entertain, and whenever I think of summer, I think of Italy. My menu this month features two of my favourite Italian ingredients: mozzarella and pasta. A vibrant platter of charred peppers, creamy mozzarella and punchy anchovy chilli breadcrumbs is where supper begins, with an indulgent yet zesty crab spaghetti to follow. 

I often shy away from cooking over the hob during the summer as I prefer to spend time sipping rosé in the sunshine with my guests, but this pasta takes such little time to prepare you’ll barely be gone. The ‘sauce’ (if you can call it that) cooks as the pasta does, and the whole thing comes together in about ten minutes. I love to serve this in a big platter and let everyone help themselves. Not only does it save you time, it means everyone gets their spaghetti still warm. 

Strawberries are at their best during June and are the true stars of this pudding. I love to soak them in a little amaretto for a boozy almond kick and serve them alongside a big bowl of chewy almond meringues and whipped mascarpone. 

A glass of riesling is particularly good with this and works wonderfully with the hint of chilli in the peppers and crab spaghetti. I’ve been enjoying this one a lot recently. 

Discover Alexandra's Menu...

Roasted Pepper With Mozzarella & Anchovy Chilli Breadcrumbs

I’ve been making this for years. It’s a recipe that  tastes of summer whatever the weather. Anchovy and chilli are an iconic duo and add a wonderful hit of umami flavour to the crunchy breadcrumbs. My best tip would be to tear the mozzarella as opposed to slicing it. The texture is much more enjoyable this way and it looks better too.

Serves
4-6
Total Time
1 Hour
Ingredients
6-8 peppers (a mix of red and yellow)
Olive oil
Sea salt
100g of fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 tsp of dried chilli flakes
150g of mozzarella
Parsley
Method
Step 1
Preheat the oven to 225°C Fan.
Step 2
Slice your peppers into thick pieces, discarding the core. Transfer to two roasting trays, drizzle generously with olive oil and sea salt and cook for 35-45 minutes until soft and slightly charred.
Step 3
For the anchovy breadcrumbs, heat about 4 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the chopped anchovies and chilli flakes and cook over a medium heat until the anchovies have broken down.
Step 4
Add the breadcrumbs and a good pinch of salt and cook for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
Step 5
Transfer to a kitchen towel lined plate to drain any excess oil.
Step 6
Arrange the peppers onto a serving platter, tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and fresh parsley.

Crab Spaghetti With Chilli, Parsley & Lemon

This is a wonderful dish that manages to be both light and indulgent at the same time – perfect for a summer party. The darker crab meat adds a beautiful richness to the sauce which is then lifted with lots of fresh parsley and lemon. I love to serve this on a large platter brought to the table and let everyone help themselves. 

Serves
4
Total Time
30 Minutes
Ingredients
320g of dry spaghetti
6 tbsp of olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 whole cooked dressed crabs
½ glass of dry white wine
Large handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 lemons
Sea salt
Method
Step 1
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti. Cook for one minute less than the advised cooking time on the package.
Step 2
Separate the white crab meat from the brown.
Step 3
As the spaghetti cooks, heat the oil in a large deep saucepan (large enough to hold the pasta). Finely grate in the garlic and add the chilli. Cook until the garlic and chilli begin to sizzle.
Step 4
Add the white wine and cook for a minute or so, then add the brown crab meat and stir until you have a rich silky sauce.
Step 5
Add the cooked pasta (reserving some of the pasta water) and switch off the heat. Then add the white crab meat, chopped parsley, the zest of both lemons, the juice of half, a good pinch of salt and about half a glass of the starchy pasta water. Stir to coat the pasta in a glossy sauce, adding more pasta water if needed.
Step 6
Taste to season (adding more lemon juice if you like), then serve with fresh parsley, a drizzle of good olive oil and some more lemon zest if you like.

Almond Meringues With Whipped Mascarpone & Amaretto Strawberries

This is one of my favourite summer puddings – a take on an Eton mess with the influence of Italian amaretto. Almonds are folded through the meringue giving them a deliciously chewy and nutty texture. It is essential to grind (or even chop) the almonds yourself – ready ground almonds will not deliver the same texture and often lack in flavour. Make the meringues ahead of time if you like. They will keep for two weeks in an air-tight container. 

Serves
4-6
Ingredients
4 egg whites
230g of golden caster sugar
150g of blanched almonds
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
150g of mascarpone
200g of double cream
2 tbsp of sifted icing sugar (optional)
300g of strawberries
4 tbsp of amaretto
Method
Step 1
Preheat your oven to 150°C Fan and line three baking trays with baking parchment.
Step 2
Add the blanched almonds to a food processor and pulse until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
Step 3
Place your egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer (or you could use a hand whisk) and whisk until frothy. Then slowly begin to add the sugar, continuing to whisk until the mixture is stiff and glossy and there are no sugar granules remaining. You may need to scrape down the ball a couple of times.
Step 4
Stir the cinnamon into the ground almonds then add this to the egg white mix and fold gently to combine.
Step 5
Using two teaspoons spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Repeat, ensuring you leave at least 3cm between each one. Don’t worry about them being messy, that is part of their charm.
Step 6
Bake for 45 minutes until firm to touch and slightly golden. Allow them to cool on the trays then gently lift off.
Step 7
Slice the strawberries and place into a bowl with the amaretto. Stir to combine then transfer to the fridge for at least an hour. Give them a final stir before serving.
Step 8
For the mascarpone cream, place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk using a handheld electric whisk just until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Step 9
Serve with a good scoop of the cream alongside the strawberries and 2-3 meringues per person.

For more from Alexandra, follow her @AlexandraDudley or visit AlexandraDudley.com

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily