This starter portion of pasta is perfect for entertaining as it can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and finished off in the oven when required. We had this as a second course after broad bean bruschetta and followed by barbecued balsamic beef and then home-made ice cream and summer berry compote for dessert.
Wine Suggestion: lovely with a slightly chilled red, and naturally, given the inspiration from the food we’d suggest Italian. A light, lively, youthful and fruity Sangiovese hits the spot in the form of a Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo given 30-40 minutes in the fridge before serving; chilled but not ice cold. The fresh acidity works perfectly with the fresh tomatoes and olives and the combination speaks to us of summer.
Pasta al Cartoccio – serves 4
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and left whole
- 450g ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
- 280g dried spaghetti
- 100g large black olives
- a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 30x20cm.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove the garlic, then add the tomatoes and chilli and season well. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan oven 180C.
Cook the spaghetti in salted water for half the time given on the pack, then drain well.
Add the olives and half the parsley to the tomato sauce and stir in the pasta. Taste and season to taste.
Divide the spaghetti between the pieces of paper, piling it into the middle of each. Scrunch the edges of each parcel to seal tightly. Put the parcels in a roasting tin and bake for 7 minutes after which time the spaghetti should be al dente.
Remove the tin from the oven and transfer each parcel to a warm plate. Let everyone open their own parcels and sprinkle the spaghetti with the remaining parsley and some parmesan.
(Original recipe by Ursula Ferrigno in BBC Good Food, August 2001.)
Posted in Food, Italian, Pasta, Vegetarian | Tagged al cartoccio, Cooking, Food, Italian, Pasta, Recipe, Spaghetti, Tomatoes | Leave a Comment »
This is a great veggie dish that has had two outings in our house within a short space of time. It’s also one of the best recipes we’ve found for fennel which we sometimes find a bit uninspiring. We’ve made this in a larger tin, and thus thinner, and also in a deeper one. Both tasted great but we think the smaller diameter deeper dish works better.
Wine Suggestion: a classic match with Sangiovese especially from Chianti in Tuscany. Look out for wines with 100% Sangiovese in this case, even though there are some superb blends out there, as the nature of these wines complements the Fennel and Tomato more. We’ve tried both the Rocca delle Macie Sant’Alfonso Chianti Classico, which is unusally grown on thick clay, and the Selvapiana Chianti Rufina and both complemented the Lasagne excellently.
Fennel & Roast Tomato Lasagne – serves 4
- 3 fennel bulbs, sliced
- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 800g tomatoes on the vine
- 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 150ml double cream, plus a bit extra if needed
- 100g Parmesan, grated
- 250g dried lasagne sheets
Heat the oven to 160C Fan. Place the fennel in a large roasting tray, season well and drizzle with 2tbsp of the oil. Place the tomatoes in a separate roasting tray. Season and drizzle with the remaining oil and balsamic. Roast both trays for 30mins
Stir the cream into the fennel and return to the oven for a further 10mins. Meanwhile lightly mash the tomatoes with a fork. Remove the fennel from the oven, grate over most of the cheese and stir to melt – it should make a little sauce that clings to the fennel – add a bit more cream if you need to. Reduce oven temp to 140c fan.
Spoon a thin layer of tomatoes into an ovenproof dish. Top with a layer of pasta, followed by a layer of fennel, then another layer of pasta. Repeat, finishing with a layer of fennel. Scatter over remaining cheese and bake for 45mins until golden and the pasta is cooked. Serve with a green salad.
(Original recipe by Matt Follas in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2010.)
Posted in Food, Pasta, Vegetarian | Tagged Chianti, Cooking, Fennel, Food, Lasagne, Pasta, Recipe, Sangiovese, Tomatoes, Tuscany, Vegetarian | Leave a Comment »
Thank you to our friend Niall for supplying us with fresh Wood Pigeon breasts and double thanks to him for all the plucking and butchery which were done by the time we arrived home! So on a glorious summer evening we put together this little salad. This would work well with other berries and nuts too; walnuts especially come to mind.
Wine Suggestion: This works great with Pinot Noir, in this case we raided our cellar for a bottle of 2009 Clerget Vosne Romanee “les Violettes” which was superb; all velvety spices, juicy dark fruits and excellent length. Both the salad and wine were a treat.
Wood Pigeon Salad with Blackberries & Hazelnuts – serves 2
- 2 pigeon breasts, skin removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the dressing:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 bunch chives, half snipped to short lengths and half finely chopped
For the salad:
- handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves
- small handful of parsley leaves
- 100g blackberries
Toss the pigeon in the olive oil and some black pepper, then set aside.
Mix the oil, mustard and vinegar with the finely chopped chives, a tiny splash of water and some seasoning.
Dry fry the hazelnuts, then set aside. Put the pan back on the heat and fry the pigeon breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side. Leave to rest in the pan for 5 minutes.
Toss the salad ingredients together with the sniped chives and a small amount of the dressing. Finely slice the pigeon breasts and arrange over the top. Drizzle some more dressing over the top and serve.
(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)
Posted in Food | Tagged Blackberries, Clerget, Cooking, Food, Hazelnuts, Pigeon, Pigeon breasts, Pinot Noir, Recipe, Salad, Vosne Romanee, Wood Pigeon | 1 Comment »
Our garden is producing copious quantities of green beans, so we’re eating them with everything at the moment. This is also a great dish for using leftover roast chicken breasts – the legs, thighs and wings are more popular in our house!
Wine Suggestion: We really enjoyed a glass of the Domaine d’Albas Blanc with this dish, a less than usual combination of Vermentino, Viognier and Roussanne that really works; fresh and textured with nice stone fruit flavours and hints of exotic spice while remaining thirst quenching and moreish. From Minervois it is yet again another white from southern France that we’ve tasted recently showing how good white wines can be from this area – they’re often overlooked in favour of the reds. In good vineyards and with the right producer we’ve had a few crackers like this one, so we suggest keeping an eye out for more.
Creamy chicken & green beans pesto pasta – serves 4
- 400g penne pasta
- 250g green beans, trimmed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch of scallions, finely sliced
- 2 large roast chicken breasts, shredded
- 5 tbsp pesto
- 3 tbsp double cream
- a handful of grated Parmesan
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack and add the green beans 6 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Drain and reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions for a couple of minutes or until soft. Add the shredded chicken and warm through before stirring in the pesto and cream. Add the cooked pasta and beans to the chicken mixture and add a little of the cooking water to make a sauce. Season and serve with the Parmesan.
(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)
Posted in Food | Tagged Chicken, Cooked chicken, Cooking, Domaine d'Albas, Food, Green beans, Leftover chicken, Minervois, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe, Roast chicken leftovers | Leave a Comment »
A real taste of summer and a smashing way to start a dinner party. Serve on a big wooden board with a glass of something bubbly.
Wine Suggestion: Go white, go Italian, go fresh and textured. We’d recommend a good Pecorino from Abruzzo or Marches or maybe a Gavi or Soave.
Smashed broad bean and mozzarella salad – serves 4
- 300g podded broad beans (you need about 1kg in their pods to get this amount) or 300g frozen broad beans
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 100g pecorino, grated
- handful of mint leaves
- handful of basil leaves
- olive oil
- sourdough/country style bread, 8 slices toasted (we toasted ours on the barbecue), rubbed with garlic & drizzled with olive oil
- 2 balls buffalo mozzarella
Blanch the podded broad beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and pop the green bean out of the papery skin.
Smash the double-podded broad beans with a good pinch of sea salt in a big pestle & mortar. Add the lemon juice, pecorino and herbs (keep a few leaves to garnish) and 4tbsp olive oil and mix together. Season well and pile onto the toast.
Tear the mozzarella into chunks and set on top of the broad bean mash, Finish with another drizzle of oil, some black pepper and a few herbs.
(Original recipe by Ben O’Donoghue for BBC Olive Magazine, August 2005.)
Posted in Barbecue, Food, Vegetarian | Tagged Barbecue, BBQ, Broad beans, Bruschetta, Cooking, Food, Pecorino, Recipe, Starter, Vegetarian | 1 Comment »
These are amazing!!!!! Pick up some prawns and make them tonight.
Pan-fried King Prawns (daeha jjiim) – serves 2 as a starter
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 150g king prawns, shelled
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp roasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and honey together to make a sauce.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over a high heat. When it’s very hot, add the prawns and cook for a minute, then turn them over. Add the sauce and cook for another minute until cooked through.
Serve immediately with the spring onion and pine nuts sprinkled over the top.
(Original recipe from Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke & Regina Pyo, W&N, 2015.)
Posted in Food, Prawns, Shellfish | Tagged Appetiser, Cooking, Food, Korean, prawns, Recipe, Shellfish, Starter | 2 Comments »
This dish from Yotum Ottolenghi is very different from the Italian pasta dishes that we’re all familiar with. As Yotam points out, Italy totally dominates the pasta scene when in fact there are pasta recipes from all over the place. Try this if you’re up for something way more exotic than spag bol.
Wine Suggestion: We chilled down a Spanish red to go with this, the Jesus Romero Rubus, a vibrant blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the highest vineyards in Spain. Unoaked this wine has a delicious purity and an excellent length with deep plum flavours, hints of pepper and spice.
Iranian-style Pasta – serves 4
- 3 large aubergines (1.2 kg in total)
- 140g crème fraîche mixed with 60g of Parmesan
- 75ml of olive oil, plus a bit extra
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 150g Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp dried mint
- 500g linguine pasta
- ½ tsp saffron threads diluted with ½ tbsp of lukewarm water
- 10g fresh mint, shredded
Preheat the oven to 230ºC/210ºC Fan/Gas Mark 8.
Pierce the aubergines a few times with a sharp knife, then place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is totally soft. Set aside to cool a bit, then cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a colander. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes and discard the skin.
Put the crème fraîche and Parmesan mixture into a small saucepan with 75ml of water. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, stir, then set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cumin seeds and cook for 12 minutes or until soft. Add the aubergine flesh and garlic, along with 1 tsp of salt and some black pepper. Cook for another 2 minutes before adding the lime juice. Stir for a final minute, then remove from the heat.
Add the yoghurt to the crème fraîche mixture and heat over a low flame for 5 minutes. Watch the mixture carefully – stir regularly and don’t let the pan heat too much or the yoghurt may split.
Mix the dried mint with a tbsp of the oil and set aside.
Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water according to the pack instructions or until al dente. Stir 2 tbsp of the oil through the cooked pasta and divide between shallow bowls or plates. Drizzle over the mint oil, followed by the aubergine. Top with the crème fraîche and yoghurt mixture, followed by the saffron water, fresh mint & a final drizzle of oil. Serve straight away.
(Original recipe from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2014.)
Posted in Food, Pasta, Vegetarian | Tagged Aubergine, Cooking, Food, Iranian, Pasta, Plenty More, Recipe, Saffron, Yotam Ottolenghi | Leave a Comment »