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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

There is a rosemary bush in our front garden and it often comes to the rescue when we have pretty much nothing for dinner. Provided you have a rosemary bush at your disposal this is pretty much a store cupboard dish and also handy for using the end of a jar of cream. This is surprisingly tasty and a great throw together weeknight dish.

Wine Suggestion: this dish suits a rustic red wine with a bit of “garrigue”, the southern French earthy, herby, spice that is a bit wild and untamed. This time we opened a wine that has this in spades, the Mas Conscience “le Cas” which is 100% old vine Carignan, which is all black fruits hints of hot rocks and earth, and wild Languedoc spices. Not shy in character but a good match nonetheless.

Rigatoni with Tomato & Rosemary Sauce – serves 4

  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped and stalks discarded
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 400g rigatoni or penne
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tsp sugar

Fry the chopped rosemary in a tablespoon of olive oil for about a minute. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and the chilli flakes, then simmer hard for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salted boiling water according to the time indicated on the pack.

Stir the double cream into the sauce along with the sugar and plenty of seasoning, then mix in the drained pasta and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2011.)

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Broccoli & salcmon bake

This was Friday night dinner in our house. Really easy to put together, with heaps of flavour and you can even prep it up to 4 hours in advance and chill until you’re ready to bake. You could serve some salad on the side if you like but it works pretty good on its own.

Wine Suggestion: Fresh, minerally, Chardonnay is our go to wine for this. You need fresh acidity for the rich salmon and creamy sauce and a broadness on the palate to match the body of the dish. Today it’s the Ventenac Préjugés, 100% Chardonnay from a plot that exceeded the expectations and prejudices of the winemaker, being atypical Languedoc; all freshness, juiciness and minerality.

Broccoli & salmon bake – serves 4

  • 250g penne pasta
  • 300g broccoli, cut into large florets
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 600ml full cream milk
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil, drained and thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp small capers, rinsed (optional)
  • 10 large basil leaves, roughly torn
  • 4 fresh skinless salmon fillets
  • 50g mature cheddar, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5/170C.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 6 minutes, then add the broccoli and time another 4 minutes when the water returns to the boil. Drain.

Meanwhile, put the butter, flour, and milk in a very large saucepan and heat, whisking the whole time, until it thickens enough to make a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and basil, then add the drained broccoli & pasta and season well.

Halve the salmon fillets widthways to give you shorter stubby pieces and put into the a large baking dish in a single layer. Spoon the fish and broccoli mixture over the top, then scatter with the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until starting to bubble at the edges. Don’t be tempted to brown it too much or you will overcook the fish.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Sausage pasta

Jules has been cooking this dish for years. Far from fancy but really tasty and super quick. Also popular with kids but leave out the chilli if they’re not that way inclined.

Wine Suggestion: A robust Italian, more than likely a Sangiovese, is our wine for this type of dish. Today it was the Tenuta Sant’Alfonso Chianti.

Sausage Pasta – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 good quality pork sausages cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300g short pasta

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil for the pasta.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the sausages until they are nicely browned. Turn down the heat and add the onion and garlic, then cook until softened.

Stir in the chilli powder and tomatoes, then bring to the boil before turning down the heat and leaving to bubble for about 10 minutes while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the pack instructions, then drain. Tip the cooked pasta into the frying pan with the saucy sausages and mix well.  Serve with crusty bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

 

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Penne with blue cheese sauce

We seem to have a piece of blue cheese that sits permanently on the shelf on our fridge door. It changes every week but never completely disappears and so we find ourselves constantly on the search for weeknight dinners to put it to good use. Not a bad problem to have.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve cooked dishes similar to this many times and have found they work best with white wines with body: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Soave … if it has a touch of oak or richness then all to the good.

Penne with blue cheese sauce – serves 4

  • 350g penne pasta
  • 200g frozen leaf spinach
  • 85g Danish blue or other blue cheese, crumbled
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 250g tub mascarpone cheese
  • 25g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack, add the spinach 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Drain the pasta and spinach and tip into a shallow heatproof dish along with the blue cheese, chilli flakes and lots of black pepper.

Put spoonfuls of the mascarpone over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and grill for 5 minutes or until the mascarpone has melted and the top is golden. Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, October, 2000.)

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Spaghettini w. prawns basil parsley and pistachios

We know it’s Sunday and it’s getting colder and the clocks have changed, so we should really be posting a nice roast. However, we figure you probably have dinner sorted for today and you might like something to inspire you later in the week.

Wine Suggestion: the fresh, zesty Staforte Soave from Gaziano Prà would be a great match for this. Made from 100% Garganega it has apricot, peach and apple fruit flavours with touches of camomile and white flowers; followed by a textural finish. We would also try southern Italian Greco di Tufo and Falanghina’s with this dish; try to look for something with crispness, mid-weight and mineral texture and it should work.

Spaghettini with prawns, basil, parsley & pistachios – serves 4

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • a large handful of basil leaves
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves
  • 75g roasted unsalted pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g dried spaghettini
  • 500g raw peeled king prawns

Pound the garlic and half the sea salt to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Add the basil, parsley and mint and keep pounding together to make a thick paste. Add half the pistachios and grind them into the paste to get a creamy texture. Roughly chop the rest of the pistachios and stir into the paste with the Parmesan, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with some more salt if needed and black pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

Put a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and add the rest of the olive oil. Fry the prawns for a minutes on each side, then season with the remaining ¼ tsp of sea salt. Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and keep a little of the cooking water. Immediately tip the pasta back into the pot, then toss together with the herb paste and cooked prawns. Add a little of the pasta cooking water if necessary to loosen. Serve immediately on warm plates.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)

 

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Courgette lasagne

It’s the season where vegetables seem to come in waves of excess. Here’s a nice weekday lasagne for any of you that are still harvesting courgettes.  Our friend Nicola also dropped by with some home-grown salad ingredients including these pretty nasturtiums.

Wine Suggestion: We think fresh, crisp whites work with courgettes really well and when combined with pasta and cheese naturally lean towards young Semillon, Chenin Blanc or Chablis. To mix it up a bit, however, we tried the Villa Sparina Gavi di Gavi from Piedmont in Italy, another good option.

Courgette Lasagne – serves 6

  • 8 plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly bashed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • ½ tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 2 leeks, sliced into rings
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 500g courgettes, grated
  • 10 lasagne sheets
  • 250g tub of ricotta
  • 125g mozzarella, torn
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/gas 6.

Put the halved tomatoes onto a baking tray with the garlic, oil, rosemary and season well. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until soft, then discard the rosemary and remove the skin from the garlic. Put the tomatoes and garlic in a blender and blitz a few times to make a chunky sauce.

Meanwhile, put the leeks in a pan over a low heat, add the butter, season and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the spinach and grated courgettes, and continue to cook for another couple of minutes to wilt and soften. Set aside.

Layer the ingredients in a large ovenproof dish starting with a layer of tomato sauce, then some pasta, followed by ricotta and vegetables. Repeat until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a vegetable layer. Scatter over the mozzarella and Parmesan, then bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe by John Torode in BBC Good Food Magazine, August 2016.)

 

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Pasta with red peppers and sausages

We love dishes like this! So cheap and easy yet tastes of Italian holidays. Try and find some good Italian sausages as they tend to be really well flavoured.

Wine Suggestion: the fresh and pure fruited Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo was our successful match with this. With no oak this is a delicious expression of cherry fruited flavours that celebrates the freshness of the dish at the same time.

  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 red peppers, deseeded and cut into 2cm squares
  • 4 pork sausages – try and get your hands on some Italian ones if possible
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • a couple of pinches of salt and chilli flakes
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (cover with hot water for a minute to make them easier to peel)
  • 400g pasta, we used rigatoni but use any short pasta variety
  • plenty of freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Run a sharp knife down each sausage and remove the meat from inside the casing. Crumble roughly with your fingers to break it up a bit and set aside.

Over a medium-low heat, fry the onion in the olive oil with a small pinch of salt until soft but not browned. Add the chilli and sausage meat, crumbling it with your fingers, then fry, breaking the pieces up with the back of a wooden spoon until the meat is no longer pink. Add the peppers, another pinch of salt and cook, stirring every now and then, for another 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for another 15 minutes or until the sauce is rich and thick and the peppers are very soft.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in  boiling salty water until al dente. Warm a large bowl, then mix the cooked pasta with the sauce and the grated Parmesan before serving.

(Original recipe published in The Guardian 18th July 2017.)

 

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