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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Broccoli, walnut & blue cheese penne

We almost always have a bit of leftover blue cheese in the fridge and much as we love a cheese board, we don’t tend to have them on weeknights. So here’s a simple weeknight pasta – broccoli, walnuts & blue cheese – yum!

Broccoli Walnut & Blue Cheese Pasta – serves 2

  • 200g penne pasta
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of chopped walnuts
  • 100g blue cheese e.g. dolcelatte, cubed
  • 1 lemon

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salty water and add the broccoli 4 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and gently fry the walnuts for a minute.

Scoop 4tbsp of the pasta cooking water out and add to the walnuts before draining. Return the pasta to the pan and add the walnuts and blue cheese. Stir gently until the cheese melts. Squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Tomato and sugar snap pea pasta salad

We’ve really embraced salads recently, especially as this Irish summer has been quite nice and sunny. This works as a main dish or as a side and will feed a large crowd. It’s nice to find a pasta salad that doesn’t rely on heaps of mayonnaise!

Tomato & Sugar Snap Pea Pasta Salad – serves 6

  • 9 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 x 5 cm strips of orange zest
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into tiny matchsticks
  • 600 g cherry tomatoes
  • 6 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 60 ml olive oil plus 2 tbsp (and a bit extra for drizzling at the end)
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt plus extra
  • 200 g scallions
  • 200 g sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved
  • 350 g pasta e.g. penne, casarecche or fusilli
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • a large bunch of basil, leaves picked and shredded
  • a large bunch of mint, leaves picked and shredded

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Put the garlic, thyme, orange zest, ginger, tomatoes, orange juice, 60 ml olive oil, brown sugar, salt and a pinch of black pepper into baking dish and toss with your hands. Place in the oven to roast for 50-60 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes or so. Discard the thyme and orange zest when the cooking time is up.

Separate the green and white parts of the scallions. Cut the green parts in half lengthwise and then across into 5 cm lengths. Slice the white parts into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Add the sugar snap peas and spread out into a single slayer. Cook, turning once, until charred on both sides, about 4 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.

Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in the same pan. Add the green and white parts of the scallions and spread out in a single layer. Cook these in the same way as the peas, until charred. Transfer to the bowl with the sugar snap peas and season with salt.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Toss it occasionally to prevent it sticking together.

Add the tomato mixture, the sugar snap peas and onion, the lemon juice, most of the basil and most of the mint, to the pasta. Toss gently with your hands to combine without breaking up the tomatoes too much. Season with salt and pepper and a bit more lemon juice if necessary.

Serve with the remaining herbs scattered over the top and drizzle with olive oil.

(Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi on bon appétit.)

 

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Cheesy tuna pesto pasta

Oh this is soooo easy and has become a regular feature in our house at lunchtime on Saturdays. Also adored by the resident 3 year old which is always a bonus. Maybe save the wine for after 7pm 😉

Cheesy Tuna Pesto Bake – serves 4 generously and the leftovers are good

  • 400g penne pasta
  • 200g tin or jar of good quality tuna in olive oil
  • 190g jar of pesto (we find that off the shelf rather than out of the fridge works better here as the fresh-made pestos make the dish a bit oily)
  • 100g cheddar, grated
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.

Meanwhile empty the contents of the tin of tuna (including the oil) into a large bowl and add the pesto. Mash together with a wooden spoon. Stir in about a third of the cheese and all the tomatoes. Heat the grill to high.

Drain the pasta and stir into the bowl with the tuna and pesto mixture, then tip into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Put the dish under the grill for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese has just melted.

Serve with salad and garlic bread if you like.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

 

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Radicchio & Gorgonzola pasta

In some ways this is an opportunistic dish because we don’t always see Radicchio in our grocer’s shop. We love the creamy, salty, bitter flavours  which come together with the rich creamy sauce. We like serving it with a bit of Parmesan too, but it’s not necessary.

Wine suggestion: The Rocca delle Macie’s Vermentino from the Maremma was our choice and the crisp, almost sappiness, helped to cut through the richness and complement the bitterness of the radicchio. If we’d had one we would have loved to have tried a good, dry Lambrusco from near Bologna. We could be wrong but think this might work too.

Pasta with Radicchio & Gorgonzola – serves 4

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 radiccio, shredded
  • 50ml white wine
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 75g gorgonzola
  • 300g pasta

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the timings on the packet.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the onion until softened, then add the radicchio and continue to cook until wilted.

Add the white wine and season. Pour in the cream, melt in the gorgonzola and mix through the cooked pasta.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, April, 2014.)

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Spaghetti with parsley, pancetta & parmigiano

We’re never surprised at how reliable the cookbooks from River Cafe are as in general they celebrate fabulous ingredients with simple cooking methods; our favourite way to cook too. This is a rich dish and works best served in small portions as a starter.

Wine Suggestion: The richness and parmesan cry out for higher acidity in the wine. We combined this idea with the almost bacon-ny yeasty and almondy autolysis of a sparkling Trento DOC, the Ferrari Perlé Nero Riserva. Body, richness, nuttiness and freshness; a great combo with the pasta.

When choosing between Italian sparkling wines we find the Trento DOC area has a bit more body and richness than the creamier and refined Franciacorta. This is not to say that top producers like Ferrari don’t have refinement, they do in spades, but that there is a lightness and elegance to be found in Franciacorta. Too light for this dish. Both areas produce some stunning wines.

Spaghetti with parsley, pancetta & parmesan – serves 6

  • 8 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 200g pancetta, finely sliced, then cut into 5mm pieces plus an extra Rose 6 thin slices (one each)
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 150g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 dried red chilli or a good pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • 120g Parmesan, grated

Gently heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 15-20 minutes, then add the pancetta and garlic. Turn down the heat, stir and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. You can turn up a bit again at the end if you want the pancetta to crisp up.  Season well with salt, pepper and the dried chilli. Stir in the parsley.

Heat a small frying pan, brush with oil, and fry the slices of pancetta to crisp them. Drain on paper towels.

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, but scoop out a few tablespoons of the cooking water first. Throw the spaghetti into the warm parsley mixture and toss, adding a little of the pasta water to help the sauce coat the pasta.

Serve with lots of Parmesan and a slice of pancetta on each bowl.

(Original recipe from River Cafe Green by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Martin Gray, 2000.)

 

 

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Pesto Lasagne

A really quick and easy lasagne full of Spring flavours. You don’t have to buy fresh pesto from the fridge as this tends to be more oily and makes this dish very rich; we successfully used a jar from a shelf instead.

Wine suggestion: A grassy European styled Sauvignon Blanc which tends to have a longer, if cooler, growing season is a good match. Avoid the big flavoured Sauvignon’s with the kiwi / tinned asparagus flavours that you might typically find from NZ and Chile as these flavours clash a bit. Exceptions to this always exist like the Dog Point Marlborough Sauvignon, but a good Touraine or Sancerre would be our match.

Pesto Lasagne – serves 4 to 6

  • 190g jar of pesto
  • 500g tub mascarpone
  • 200g bag spinach, roughly chopped
  • 250g frozen peas
  • small pack of basil
  • small pack of mint
  • 12 fresh lasagne sheets
  • 85g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 50g pine nuts
  • Green salad & garlic bread to serve

Heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4.

Put the pesto, half the mascarpone and 250ml vegetable stock in a saucepan. Heat, stirring, until smooth and bubbling. Add the spinach and peas and cook for another few minutes until the spinach has wilted and the peas have defrosted. Add the herbs and season but go easy with the salt.

Put a third of this pesto mixture into the base of a baking dish (approx. 18 x 25cm). Top with 4 lasagne sheets, then repeat with 2 more layers of sauce and lasagne sheets, finishing with a layer of pasta. Mix some milk into the remaining mascarpone to make a sauce consistency, season then pour over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and pine nuts, then bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown on the top and bubbling. Scatter over a few basil leaves before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, February 2014.)

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Conchiglie al Cavolo Nero

We’ve made this a couple times recently as  Cavolo Nero is around and we keep on being drawn to it. Especially as we’re starting to tire of root veg and looking forward to all the treats that will come with Spring.

The dish is  creamy and cheesy, with load of garlic and iron rich Cavolo Nero. Fairly rich for a main course in our opinion but absolutely perfect served in small starter portions.

If it suits you can blanch and dry the Cavolo nero and make the garlic puree in advance which leaves very little to do to get the dish on the table.

Wine suggestion: An old favourite came to the rescue here in the form of the Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore “Tralivio” which has a great weight but also a freshness and vibrant texture. The flavour of the food isn’t shy, so make sure whatever you choose has enough body to cope.

Conchiglie al Cavolo Nero – serves 6 as a starter

  • 900g Cavolo Nero
  • 300ml double cream
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 dried chillies, crumbled or 2 tsp chilli flakes (adjust to your heat preference)
  • 150g Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 250g conchiglie or other shell-shaped pasta

Remove the central stalk from the Cavelo Nero leaves and cut each one into 3 or 4 pieces. Blanch the leaves in boiling salted water for 3 minutes by which time they should be tender and bright green. Drain and dry in a clean tea towel.

Put the double cream and 5 of the whole garlic cloves into a pan and simmer until the garlic is soft, about 15 minutes. Purée in a blender.

In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and fry the remaining 2 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices, and the chilli. When the garlic has coloured, add the blanched Cavolo Nero, stir & season. Pour in the cream and garlic purée, bring to the boil, and cook for 5 minutes until the Cavolo Nero is coated and the sauce has thickened. Add the Parmesan.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water, then drain well before mixing well with the sauce.

(Original recipe from The River Cafe Cookbook by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Ebury Press, 1995.)

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