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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Ultimate Bolognese

We don’t keep much food in the freezer – peas, broad beans and ice cubes mainly. But at this time of year we like to cook bigger quantities of bolognese, chilli & casseroles so there’s always something warming available for the end of the week, when ingredients are running low. This version by Barney Desmazery is not traditional but absolutely flavour-packed and we loved finishing the pasta in the sauce which really brings it all together.

Wine Suggestion: Bolognese and other tomato based ragú worked really well with Sangiovese. Whether you choose a favourite Brunello, like we did, a Chianti, or a non-Italian version the acidity and tannins help with the richness and flavours.

Pasta Bolognese – serves 8 

  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g Italian sausages, skinned and crumbled
  • 200g smoked pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • small bunch fresh basil, small leaves picked and reserved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • handful dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½  tsp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100g Parmesan, grated, rind removed and reserved
  • pasta, to serve

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and crumble in the mince and sausage meat. Cook the mince for a good 30 minutes – it will release a lot of liquid which will evaporate and eventually it will fry in its own fat. If the pan looks a bit dry, drizzle in more olive oil. Towards the end, keep stirring the mince until it starts to crisp and brown.

Heat the oven to 140C/120C/Gas 2.

While the mince is browning, heat another splash of oil in a casserole dish and fry the pancetta for about 5 minutes or until it starts to brown and release its fat, then add the vegetables and herbs and finely crumble over the dried porcini. Cook gently for 5 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Sprinkle over the sugar, then stir in the tomato purée and splash in the fish sauce and vinegar. Simmer down until thickened, then stir through the meat and pour in the milk and tomatoes. Rinse out the tomato tins with the wine and stir into the pan. Season, then nestle in the Parmesan rind. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

When cooked, tip as many portions of the Bolognese as you need into a sauté pan. Cook the pasta until very al dente, then add to the bolognese sauce with a bit of the water and finish cooking in the sauce for 2 minutes. Stir through the Parmesan and a drizzle more olive oil.

Serve the pasta bolognese in bowls with basil and Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Barney Desmazery in BBC Good Food Magazine, September 2017.)

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Roasted butternut squash and red onion pasta

A simple autumnal pasta dish for a tasty weeknight dinner.

Wine Suggestion:  we initially thought to open a Pinot Noir for this but hesitated because of the Parmesan and crème fraîche. We’re glad we did because the Pira Luigi Nebbiolo d’Alba was the better match. This had just the right earthiness alongside a youthful fruit (the dish isn’t too serious) plus great fresh acidity and fine tannins for the rich proteins of parmesan and cream that bring the dish together.

Roasted squash & red onion pasta – serves 2

  • 1 butternut squash, about 700g
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 175g penne or rigatoni
  • 3 rounded tbsp crème fraîche
  • freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Preheat your oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Peel and deseed the squash, then cut it into bite-sized chunks. Peel the onions then cut each into eight wedges. Tip the squash and onions into a roasting tin along with the sliced garlic and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, then toss with your hands until everything is coated with oil. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until the veg is completely tender and browned and crispy at the edges.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water according to the pack instructions. Drain the pasta and reserve about 4 tbsp of the cooking water. Remove the tin from the oven and stir in the the cooking water and crème fraîche. Tip in the pasta and toss well. Serve in warm bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Creamy marscapone tortellini

Because we had leftover marscapone … we love using leftover ingredients. It’s ok to cheat sometimes with some shop-bought fresh tortellini and the result is dinner in minutes!

Wine Suggestion: this works with young, fresh red wines. If you feel like Italian then the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo which is unoaked and vibrantly full of fruit is a good choice. We, however, threw a Pike & Joyce Rapide (unoaked) Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills into the fridge for 30 minutes. A good match too.

Tortellini with Creamy Tomato & Mascarpone Sauce – serves 2-4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (we never are without Marigold Swiss Bouillon) or ½ cumbled stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • few basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone plus a bit extra
  • fresh tortellni – we used spinach & ricotta

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and gently fry for 1 minute. Add the tin of tomatoes, the stock powder, tomato purée and sugar, then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Tear in the basil leaves and stir in the 2 tbsp of mascarpone.

Meanwhile, cook the tortellini in boiling salted water as per the timing on the pack, then drain well and tip into a small ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the tortellini and top with a few more spoonfuls of mascarpone, then bake until bubbling at the edges.

(Original recipe by Gareth Morgans IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, August 2008.)

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Orzo & tomato salad

A characterful and bright salad that tastes great with barbecued lamb. Easily halved.

Orzo & Tomato Salad with Capers & Kalamata Olives – serves 6 to 8

  • 350g orzo pasta
  • 2 x 290g deli packs of sunblush tomatoes, drained & cut into strips – reserve the oil
  • 400g green beans, trimmed & halved
  • 200g pitted Kalamata olives, roughly halved
  • 50g flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems finely chopped
  • 400g feta cheese, crumbled into small chunks
  • 100g pine nuts
  • 240g capers in brine, drained

Cook the orzo according to the pack. Rinse well in cold water and leave to drain in a sieve for 10 minutes.

Put the drained orzo into a large mixing bowl. Add 2 tbsp of oil from the tomatoes and mix well.

Cook the green beans in boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender, then drain and put into a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking. Drain well.

Add the green beans to the orzo along with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add some more of the tomato oil and season generously with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2017.)

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Spinach & Courgette Lasagne

We loved this easy veggie lasagne that celebrates courgettes – one of our favourite summer vegetables. An excellent family dish for mid-week.

Wine Suggestion: We had a Bergerac blanc from Le Tap at hand from our recent holidays. It was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and a touch of Muscadelle and had the right kind of freshness and body.

Spinach & Courgette Lasagne – serves 6

  • 400g spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 9 lasagne sheets
  • 100ml double cream
  • 3 large courgettes, sliced lengthways

Put the spinach into a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt it. Leave until cool enough to touch, then squeeze out the excess liquid with your hands.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and soften for a minute. Add the nutmeg and cook for another minute before adding the mascarpone, spinach, half the cream and half the Parmesan. Mix together and season well, then set aside.

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

Spread a third of the filling over the base of a 20 x 30 cm baking dish, cover with 3 lasagne sheets, then add a layer of courgettes. Repeat two more times. Pour the remaining cream over and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the pasta is cooked. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Linguine with Creamy Tomato, Rosemary & Caper Sauce

Super simple weeknight pasta that tastes delicious.

Wine suggestion: A youthful Sangiovese from Tuscany is our pick with the wine at hand the Rocca delle Macie Vernaiolo which we find a great unoaked and fresh red wine. We like to put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before opening at this time of the year.

Linguine with creamy tomato, rosemary & caper sauce – serves 2

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 150g linguine
  • Parmesan, grated, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chilli & rosemary and cook for another minute. Add the tin of tomatoes.

Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes, squashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon occasionally so they break down into a thick sauce. Add the capers and cream and simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to the pack, then drain well. Tip the pasta into the sauce and toss together. Serve in warm bowls with some Parmesan for sprinkling over.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe IN: BBC Olive Magazine, May 2015.)

 

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Spaghetti with crab, cherry tomatoes & fresh chillies

This is really simple and fresh and we love it on a Friday night with a glass of chilled white wine. By all means cook a crab but our local fish shop sells cooked and picked crabmeat which makes this extra quick and easy.

Wine Suggestion: One of our stand-by wines for seafood is Muscadet and for this dish it was a good choice. A long standing favourite, the Domaine de la Chauviniere Muscadet sur lie always has good fruit, great texture and freshness and accentuated the flavours of the crab in a very nice way.

Spaghetti with Crab, Cherry Tomatoes and Chillies – serves 4

  • 500g spaghetti
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 medium hot red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100ml white wine
  • 200g white crabmeat
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped chives

Cook the pasta in a very large pot of boiling salty water until al dente.

Meanwhile, gently heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic and chilli for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes before adding the wine and bringing to a simmer. Add the crab and cook for a minute to just warm through.

Drain the pasta well and tip into the pan with the crab sauce. Stir to combine, sprinkle over the chives, and serve.

(Original recipe from Pronto! by Gino D’Acampo, Kyle Books, 2014.)

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