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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Pasta with Fresh Peas, Guanciale, Mint & Pecorino

We hardly ever buy fresh peas in the pods as they rarely taste as good as frozen peas (must be Birdseye!), frozen the minute they are picked and therefore guaranteed fresh. Of course if you can pick your own that’s a different matter. We took a chance on some peas in their pods in our local veg shop to make this, but if you’re fortunate to be growing them yourself you have no such worries. The pea shoots are a really nice addition if you can find them.

Wine Suggestion: Our choice tonight is a Gavi di Gavi made by Pico Maccario in the Piedmont and the lemony edge to the wine added a nice extra dimension.

Pasta with fresh peas, guanciale, mint & pecorino – serves 2

  • 350g fresh peas, in their pods
  • 80g piece of guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) or smoked pancetta, finely diced
  • 150g dried rigatoni or similar
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ a lemon
  • 15g of fresh mint, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 30g pecorino cheese, finely grated,  plus extra to serve
  • peas shoots, to serve (optional)

Pod the peas and put the pods in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then scoop the pods out and discard (don’t discard the water).

Meanwhile, tip the guanciale into a large cold non-stick frying pan and put over a medium heat to render the fat, tossing often.

Cook the pasta in the pea pod flavoured water according to the timings on the pack.

Add the shallots to the guanciale pan and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the peas and a good splash of water, then finely grate in the lemon zest. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Drain the pasta but reserve a mugful of the cooking water. Tip the pasta into the frying pan, then remove from the heat and toss well. Stir in the mint and pecorino, shaking the pan. Loosen with a little pasta water if needed, then season and serve with extra pecorino, a drizzle of good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a few pea shoots.

(Original recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2018.)

 

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Lobster & Pasta

This is inspired by a Rick Stein recipe in his Mediterranean Escapes book called Lobster & Pasta Chez Jen Jen from Corsica. We cooked this on a weeknight and cheated a bit with the lobster by using frozen lobster tails. We thought you could use raw prawns to good effect too.

Wine Suggestion: We made this on a celebratory evening so pushed the boat out with the wine and had the best English Sparkling we’ve tasted to date: the Dermot Sugrue “The Trouble with Dreams” from Sussex. It had a driving purity and vibrancy that makes it feel alive. For years we often compared English sparkling to Champagne without recognising it to have a unique character and with this wine we fully realised this.

Lobster & Spaghetti – serves 2

  • 2 x frozen lobster tails
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • a garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp curry powder
  • 20ml Cognac
  • 50ml dry white wine
  • 200ml passata
  • 1 tsp dried herbes de Provence
  • salt and cayenne pepper

Defrost the lobster tails by putting them into a deep bowl of cold water and leaving for 30 minutes. You’ll know they are defrosted when they feel a bit flexible.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently lower in the lobster tails. Cook for 3½ minutes, then scoop out with a spoon. Leave to cool slightly, then slice into the soft side to check that the meat is white and therefore cooked through. If it looks grey you need to return to the water again until cooked.

Carefully cut down the soft side of the lobster tails and remove flesh from the shell in one piece, it should come away very easily.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of very salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with the curry powder and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the lobster, flesh-side down. Pour over the Cognac and flambé to burn off the alcohol. Add the white wine, passata, and herbes de Provence, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the lobster is heated through.

Drain the spaghetti. Lift the lobster tails out of the pan and onto warm plates. Season the sauce to taste with salt and cayenne pepper, add the spaghetti and toss well with the sauce. Spoon alongside the lobster and serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

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Asparagus Carbonara

Classic carbonara is in no way sullied by the addition of asparagus and in our house at the moment it’s asparagus with everything!!

Wine Suggestion: A difficult decision given the awkwardness of asparagus and wine, plus the creamy richness of the sauce. We settled on the delightful Chateau les Charmes Godard, a Sauvignon (Blanc & Gris) and Semillon blend from Bordeaux and were reminded why we love whites from this region, especially with food.

Asparagus Carbonara – serves 4

  • 200g pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 350g pasta
  • 2 bunches of thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • a large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the pancetta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until turning crispy.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salty water to the boil. Boil the pasta until al dente, then drain and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan with the bacon. Season with lots of black pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked (it will take a bit longer if your asparagus is thick).

Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with the Parmesan and a splash of the cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the asparagus pan, then remove from the heat and stir in the egg mixture to combine. Add another splash of cooking water if needed to make a sauce.

Serve right away with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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Roast Chicken, Pancetta & Mushroom Orzo

We really liked this easy recipe for leftover roast chicken, a very tasty dish for midweek.

Wine Suggestion: mid-week, or weekend, this works great with a Pinot Noir-Gamay blend like you can find in Cheverny in the Loire; freshness from Pinot and smoothness from the Gamay … both earthy and the right flavours for this dish. Our choice tonight was an old favourite Domaine Bellier.

Roast chicken, pancetta & mushroom orzo – serves 4

  • 15g porcini mushrooms
  • 30g pancetta cubes
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 50g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 300g orzo
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 300g roast chicken, skin removed and shredded
  • Parmesan, shaved to serve

Soak the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Heat 2tbsp of olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. Cook the pancetta until golden, then scoop out with a slotted spoon.

In the same pan, cook the shallots and garlic until softened. Add the fresh mushrooms and fry until golden. Add the drained porcini, reserving the liquid, and cook for a minute.

Add the orzo and thyme and stir to coat in the oil, then add the porcini’s liquid and enough stock to cover. Simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, adding stock as needed, until tender.

Add the chicken and heat through, then serve with the pancetta and some Parmesan shavings sprinkled over.

(Original recipe by Justin Turner in Olive Magazine, April 2012.)

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Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce

This is a great tomato sauce and of course can be made without meatballs and used in all sorts of things. We like to make the entire recipe and freeze the leftover meatballs in the sauce for tasty meals for kids or when we don’t have time to cook. They’re good served with linguine –  toss the pasta with the meatballs and sauce before serving with some grated Parmesan.

Wine Suggestion: with the higher proportion of pork in the meatballs we think a medium bodied red works better than richer, fuller-bodied wines with this. We went with a Chateau Manoir du Gravoux from Castillon in Bordeaux. A Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend with a lovely freshness and pure, mineral character made a good match.

Pork & Beef Polpette with Tomato Sauce – makes about 40 meatballs and 1.5 litres of sauce

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • small pinch of chilli flakes
  • 750g fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of oregano, chopped
  • caster sugar, if needed

FOR THE POLPETTE:

  • 1kg minced pork
  • 500g minced beef
  • 3 medium eggs
  • scant ½ tbsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • small pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • cooked linguine pasta and grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat half the oil in a saucepan on a medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli for 15 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and cook gently for another 15 minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer on a very low heat for an hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the oregano. Season with a little sugar if needed, then whizz using a hand-blender or food processor for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix together well with your hands, then roll into golf ball sized meatballs. They should weigh about 45g each. Place on a large greased baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown.

Add the meatballs to the hot sauce and poach for 10 minutes with the lid on.

Serve with linguine and grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Polpo by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

 

 

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Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns & Treviso

This baked pasta dish from Jacob Kennedy’s fabulous Bocca cookbook is truly delicious. Quick to cook and an excellent treat for a Friday night when energy levels are low. We find radicchio di Treviso hard to resist with its pretty dark purple leaves. They’re in season and in shops now and we’ve had our eyes on this dish for a while, we weren’t disappointed.

Wine Suggestion: While not our first thought we had a bottle of the Altos de Torona Albariño from northern Spain in the fridge and it proved a delightful match.

Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns and Treviso – serves 2 as a main, 4 to 6 as a starter

  • 120g dried tagliolini
  • 50g butter
  • ½ a small red onion or 1 shallot, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 1 medium head Radicchio di Treviso, shredded 3-5mm
  • 200g peeled raw prawns
  • 60ml white wine
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

Melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for a few minutes, then add the radicchio and sauté gently for 4-5 minutes or until wilted. Add the prawns, then the wine and let it boil for a couple of minutes or until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the cream and at the same time put the tagliolini into a pan of boiling, salted water. Boil both until the tagliolini is undercooked (about half the recommended time) and the sauce just runnier than cream.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss over the heat for a minute to coat the pasta with the cream, then season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish (or divide between a number of smaller dishes). Sprinkle with the Parmesan and brown the top under a hot grill. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe from Jacob Kennedy’s ‘Bocca Cookbook’, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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Spaghetti with Ricotta & Toasted Pine Nuts

Mondays are all about leftovers in our house and we’re determined to use all bits and pieces hanging around after the weekend. This pasta dish helped us out with the remains of a jar of sundried tomatoes and some ricotta cheese. Also great to use the chives that have recently sprouted up in the garden – a positive sign of things to come.

Wine Suggestion: Look for a good Verdicchio with a fuller body, but still fresh and balanced. Tonight an old favourite, the Sartarelli Tralivio.

Spaghetti with Ricotta Cheese & Toasted Pine Nuts – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 6 tbsp pine nuts
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 100g sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced into thin strips
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 500g spaghetti

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown, then set aside.

Put the ricotta cheese, sundried tomatoes, chives, nutmeg, pine nuts and basil into a large bowl. Pour over the oil and hot water, season with salt and pepper, and mix together. Leave to rest at room temperature while you cook the pasta.

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of boiling salty water until al dente. Drain and tip into the bowl with the ricotta mixture (don’t be too particular when draining as a little water will help to loosen the sauce). Gently fold everything together for 30 seconds to combine. Serve with the extra basil.

(Original recipe from Gino’s Pasta by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2010.)

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