Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

We’re clearing out in January, rather then dieting. This recipe used up the last of a side of smoked salmon and its simplicity is perfect.

Wine Suggestion: We think Verdicchio is under-rated as a grape and for food combinations like this where you have a creaminess, combined with some Omega fatty acids and citrus zest it is the business. Tonight our choice was Sartarelli’s Tralivio which balances fruit weight with an almost saline minerality.

Tagliatelle with Salmon and Mascarpone – serves 4

  • 400g tagliatelle
  • 200g smoked salmon, snipped with scissors into short strips
  • 125g mascarpone
  • 20g soft butter
  • zest of 1 lemon, plus more to garnish
  • a few sprigs of dill, snipped

Cook the tagliatelle in lots of very salty water until al dente.

Meanwhile, tip the salmon strips into a large warm serving bowl along with the mascarpone, butter and lemon zest. Add a ladleful of the pasta cooking water to loosen it all to a cream, then taste and add salt if needed.

Drain the pasta, reserving some water, then tip into the bowl with the sauce and toss gently, adding more cooking water if needed. Serve sprinkled with the dill and some more lemon zest.

(Original recipe from An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy, Penguin: Fig Tree, 2021.)

Read Full Post »

We love the colour of this dish – a delicious bowlful of goodness.

Wine Suggestion: This demands a simple, earthy red like Morisfarms Mandriolo, a Sangiovese dominant wine from the Maremma on the Tuscan coast. The Moris family have lived on their farm for over three hundred years and their gentle care and organic approach to winemaking comes from their love of the land. A thoughtful wine.

Risoni di Cavolo Nero – serves 2

  • handful of hazlenuts
  • 150-200g cavolo nero
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • garlic
  • 2-3 anchovies in oil
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 700ml home-made chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ lemon
  • 240g orzo
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • finely grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat the oven to 150C fan.

Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for 15 minutes, then set aside.

Strip the cavolo nero leaves from the stalks, then roughly chop the leaves and rinse them in cold water. Discard the tough stalks.

Put the oil, garlic and anchovies in a pan and heat gently for a few minutes until the anchovies have melted. Add the chilli and cook for another minute, stirring. Add the cavolo nero and cook for 3-4 minutes until just wilted. Discard the garlic and transfer to a blender. Add a splash of stock and a squeeze of lemon juice, then blend to a smooth liquid.

Put the rest of the stock into the same pan and bring to the boil. Add the orzo and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock has been absorbed by the pasta, add a splash of water if it drys up too soon. Add the green purée and cook for another 2 minutes – you are looking for a risotto-type consistency. Finely grate in the zest of ½ a lemon and stir in the mascarpone. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice if needed.

Serve with the toasted hazelnuts crumbled on top, some finely grated Parmesan and a good drizzle of your best olive oil.

(Original recipe from Stagioni by Olivia Cavalli, Pavillon, 2022.)

Read Full Post »

Perfect dish for nights when you’ve little energy – dinner for two in ten minutes and lots of flavour.

Wine Suggestion: A warmer climate Shiraz/Syrah is our choice as you need the juicier fruit, but nothing too jammy please. Tonight a glass of the Wolftrap Red from Boekenhoutskloof in South Africa. Mostly Shiraz but with a touch of Mourvèdre and Viognier it has the fruit to counter the harissa heat, and a balance that doesn’t overwhelm the food.

Tagliatelle with mushrooms and harissa – serves 2

  • 150g tagliatelle
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp harissa paste
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Bring a large pan of very salty water to the boil, then cook the tagliatelle according to the timings on the pack.

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes or until starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the scallions and continue to cook for a couple of minutes or until softened. Stir in the harissa paste.

Drain the pasta quickly and not too well, then tip into the pan with the mushrooms. Toss everything together, then serve in warm bowls with the Parmesan sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2021.)

Read Full Post »

Who doesn’t love meatballs. There’s at least one person in this house who would have them every week. This recipe by Olia Hercules makes heaps to help with that problem.

Wine Suggestion: great with a simple Sangiovese with bright and slightly crunchy fruits and a good wack of tannins. Rocca delle Macie’s Chianti Vernaiolo is our standby and doesn’t hide behind oak, rather celebrates the joy of fruit. The added joy is the smooth tannins this wine brings despite the potentially awkward Sangiovese grape; they have a great feel for getting the balance right even with a bouncingly youthful cuvee.

Olia’s Meatballs – Sugo Della Mamma – makes 30 meatballs

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 60g stale sourdough bread with crusts (or dry out 80g of fresh bread chunks in the oven)
  • 250ml hot whole milk
  • 20g parsley, very finely chopped
  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g pork mince
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 100g Pecorino/Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ nutmeg, finely grated

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • up to 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised but left whole
  • 800g tomato passata or 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • a couple of sprigs of basil
  • Tagliagelle, pappardelle or orecchiette, to serve

Put the bread into a bowl and pour over the hot milk. Leave for 5 mintues then press the bread down to make sure it’s all soaked. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.

Mix the mince, egg, bread and soaking milk, grated garlic, parsley, cheese and nutmeg together. Season well with 1 tbsp of sea salt and lots of black pepper. Use your hands to mix it all together really well.

Wet your hands and shape the mixture into about 30 golf-ball sixed meatballs.

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil for the sauce. Fry the meatballs in batches until browned on a couple of sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

If you need more fat you can add the extra 2 tbsp of oil, then add the bruised garlic and cook for a few minutes to infuse the oil, then remove and discard.

Add the passata or tomatoes to the pan, then fill the jar or tin with 200ml water and add that with a generous pinch of salt. Cook over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce and cook for 15-20 minutes at a gentle bubble. Add the basil sprigs for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Cook the pasta, then roughy drain so a little water remains. Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, ladle over the sauce and meatballs and gently stir to combine.

Serve with extra grated pecorino.

(Original recipe from Home Food by Olia Hercules, Bloomsbury, 2022.)

Read Full Post »

This is a nice soupy-stew sort of thing. Perfect for cold nights but still with nice fresh flavours.

Wine Suggestion: We went a bit left-field for this dish and look for an aged white Rioja where you get the roundness and poise of an oaked chardonnay but with a slightly softer acidity. Graceful in age the Urbina Rioja Bianco Crianza 2014 was both youthful with melon and citrus fruits, and with a layer of aged, tertiary fennel, aniseed and peach. A joy to know this is the current release from an under the radar winery.

Chicken with leeks & orzo – serves 3

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large chicken thighs
  • 250g leeks, cut into short lengths, wash well to get rid of any grit and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • half a lemon, cut into 2 fat wedges
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 200g orzo
  • 150g frozen peas
  • a small handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • a small handful of tarragon, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Heat the oil in a large, deep casserole dish. Fry the chicken thighs until well-browned on both sides, then remove and set aside.

Add the leeks to the chicken fat in the pan and cook over a medium-low heat, with the lid on, for 5 minutes, you want them softened but not browned.

Add the stock and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes to the boil, then add half the lemon, peppercorns and 1 tsp of salt. Scatter in the orzo and boil for 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, then cover and bake for 35 minutes.

Add the peas, then return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Add the tarragon and parsley and serve in warm bowls.

(Original recipe from A Cook’s Book by Nigel Slater, 4th Estate, 2021)

Read Full Post »

A bit like a classic lasagne but there’s no béchamel and definitely less fuss altogether. It tastes absolutely amazing too. The recipe is from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage; a book full of delicious things.

Wine Suggestion: we grabbed the first thing in the fridge which was the Zuani Bianco Riserva, an oaked Collio from North Eastern Italy which is a blend of Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Stunning, with so much complexity and layered fruits, savouriness and creamy textures. An under-rated part of the world. If you can’t find something like this, look for a lightly oaked white with a fresh acidity and a nutty finish.

Squash and sage lasagne gratin – serves 4 (generously)

  • half a large butternut squash, peeled and seeds discarded (about 500g)
  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2¾ tsp fine salt
  • 5g fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus 10 extra leaves to serve
  • 6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 220g double cream, plus extra 2 tbsp to serve
  • 80g Parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
  • ¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250g-300g dried lasagne sheets
  • 400g chicken stock (you can use veg stock if you prefer)

Heat the oven to 220C fan/240C.

Finely slice the butternut squash into very thin half moons – a mandoline is best for this or you could use the slicing attachment on a food processor.

Mix the squash slices, tomatoes, garlic, tomato purée, fine salt, chopped sage, 4 tbsp olive oil and lots of black pepper, together in a large bowl. Your hands are best to toss it all together.

Mix the cream, Parmesan and nutmeg together in another bowl. Set 80g of this mixture aside for later.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish (approx. 28cm x 23cm) with a layer of lasagne sheets, then a layer of the squash mixture. Spoon over some of the cream mixture, then continue the layering until you have used everything. Pour the stock evenly over everything in th edish, then cover tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and remove the foil. Spoon over the reserved 80g of cream mixture and return to the oven, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Mix 2 tbsp of the oil with the 10 sage leaves in a small bowl. Spoon this over the lasagne and return to the oven for a final 5-6 minutes, or until the sage leaves look crisp and the lasagne golden-brown.

Rest for 10 minutes, then finish with the 2 tbsp of cream, a good drizzle of olive oil and plenty of extra grated Parmesan, sea salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage, Ebury Press, 2022.)

Read Full Post »

You need to cut your courgettes into very thin strips for this, as thin as the pasta. The sauce is a bit carbonara-ish, very delicious.

Wine Suggestion: Something fun and white like the El Abuelo de Piqueras, a Verdejo – Sauvignon Blanc blend from Almansa in Spain. Vibrant fruit tied together with a sense of fun and energy.

Bucatini with courgettes – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 300g courgettes, cut into 5cm long, 2mm thick strips
  • 400g bucatini (or spaghetti, linguine or fusilli)
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 extra egg yolks
  • 70g Parmesan, grated
  • a few fresh basil leaves

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and courgettes with a pinch of salt, then cook gently for 10 minutes, turning over gently, until very soft. Remove from the heat.

Bring large pan of water to the boil, then add lots of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, put the eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and lots of black pepper into a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.

When the pasta is almost cooked, return the courgette pan to the heat to warm through the fat and courgettes and add the torn basil.

Drain the pasta and reserve some of the water. Add the pasta to the courgette pan and stir together. Remove the pan from the heat and add the egg mixture and a splash of pasta water, then stir quickly until everything is coated in a creamy sauce. Add a little more pasta water to make it silky if needed, then serve.

(Original recipe from An A-Z of Pasta by Rachel Roddy, Fig Tree, 2021.)

Read Full Post »

We are cooking our way through Persian Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour. We struggle like everyone to eat well on busy days but this book is perfect for just that.

Wine Suggestion: White, lemony and medium bodied. Maybe a youthful Verdicchio, or our current fave, Zuani’s Ribolla Gialla Sodevo, from Collio in North East Italy. A grape that was so higly regarded by the Romans they implemented laws to protect it from adulteration … possibly the world’s first appellation laws …we’ll need to investigate further.

Pasta with sage butter, feta & pine nuts – serves 2

  • 200g pasta shells
  • 75g butter
  • 20 sage leaves
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 2 pinches of pul biber chilli flakes

Cook the pasta in lots of very salty water according to the timings on the packet.

When the pasta is almost cooked, put a large frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the butter and sage and allow the butter to melt gently but don’t let it sizzle much. Keep stirring so the sage flavours the butter.

Roughly drain the pasta (you want a little bit of water still on the pasta) and add to the pan with the butter and sage. Turn up the heat and season very generousy with black pepper and a little sea salt. Add the pine nuts and toss everything together, then add the feta and stir until melting and starting to coat the pasta.

Serve spinkled with extra black pepper and a pinch of pul biber.

(Original recipe from Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour, Aster, 2022.)

Read Full Post »

Easy and full of veg. Great for a weeknight, and if your kid is like ours they will eat anything with pasta and cheese!

Wine Suggestion: keep it simple with a juicy red from a warmer climate. The Cline Family Cellars have star with their Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel which has a joyful balance between vibrant and complex red and black fruit, velvety tannins and a easy drinkability.

Veggie Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 aubergine, finely chopped
  • 1 courgette, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • a handful of roughly chopped basil
  • 300g pasta – we used fusilli
  • 150g mozzarella ball, drained and finely chopped (you don’t need the expensive buffalo stuff for this)
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.

Put the peppers, aubergine, courgettes and onion into a large roasting tin and toss in the oil. Season well with salt and pepper, then cook in the oven for 45 minutes, turning a couple of times, until the vegetables are soft and golden brown.

Add the cherry tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, garlic and basil and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of boiling salty water. Add 4-6 tbsp of the pasta cooking water to the cooked vegetables to make it a bit more saucy.

Drain the pasta and tip into the roasting tin with the veg. Add the mozzarella and pesto and stir well to combine. Top with the Parmesan and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

(Original recipe from BBC Food)

Read Full Post »

If you have a little leftover ‘nduja, then this is the dish for you!! It makes a delicous main for two, or starter for 4. Masterminded by Jacob Kenedy of Bocca di Lupo.

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs a medium bodied red fruited wine with a lick of acidity like the Morisfarms Mandriolo from the Tuscan coast. Fruit-forward cherry and raspberry flavours which come from the Sangiovese which is tied together with a touch of Cabernet and Petit Verdot.

Orecchiette with ‘nduja – serves 2 (or 4 as a starter)

  • 200g dried orecchiette (if you can make or get fresh then go for that but dried works pretty good)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 120g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g ‘nduja (a bit less will be fine)
  • 50ml white wine
  • 80ml double cream
  • 50g rocket, very roughtly chopped
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano, to serve (we used Parmesan – sorry Jacob!)

Get your orecchiette on to boil in lots of very salty water. Start making the sauce when there’s about 10 minutes to go.

Fry the onion and tomatoes over a high heat for about 3 minutes, you want them softened and lightly browned. Add the ‘nduja, break it up and fry for 30 seconds, then add the wine and a small ladleful of water from the pasta pot. Bubble briefly, then add the cream. Taste and season with some salt.

Keep cooking the sauce until thickend and not watery, then add the drained pasta (still a bit wet) and the rocket. Cook until the rocket is wilted and the pasta is coated in the glossy sauce. Serve with grated cheese on top.

(Original recipe from Bocca Cookbook by Jacob Kennedy, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

Read Full Post »

A nice pasta with unusual flavours. Use good-quality Italian sausages for this if you can find them.

Wine Suggestion: As this dish is full-flavoured we’d suggest a full flavoured white like Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, which has a wonderful Californian ripeness combined with a core of fresh minerality and zing from the cooling breezes and fog coming through the Petaluma Gap each day. The subtle oak gives a lovely texture which helps matching this dish too.

Pasta with fennel, sausage and courgette – serves 4

  • 3 good-quality pork sausages (we like Italian sausages)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ small fennel bulb, trim off any green bits and chop finey, reserve any fronds to garnish
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g rigatoni pasta
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 1 medium-large courgete, grated
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • grated Parmesan (to serve)

Take the skins off the sausages and crumble them into small chunks. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the sausages until browned and crispy, breaking the lumps up with a wooden spoon. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the fennel, onion and garlic to the sausage fat in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. You can add a splash of water if it starts to stick.

Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to the timings on the pack. Drain but reserve a mugful of the cooking water.

Return the frying pan to the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, mascarpone, grated courgette and a splash of pasta cooking water. Bubble for 2 minutes, then stir in the cooked pasta and sausages. Season, then serve garnished with fennel fronds, pine nuts and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Read Full Post »

Like a Greek salad, but with pasta added in. It makes a great lunch or lunchbox and is good for using up odds and ends in the fridge.

Pasta Salad – serves 4

  • 200g pasta – use what ever shape you have
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 75g pitted black olives, halved
  • ½ small cucumber, quartered lengthways then sliced
  • ½ a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g feta cheese

Cook the pasta in lots of salty boiling water according to the timings on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano and some seasoning into a mixing bowl and mix well to make a dressing.

Drain the pasta in a colandar and leave to cool for a few minutes. Tip the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl and toss to coat in the dressing.

Tip in the tomatoes, olives, cucumber and red onion, then crumble in the feta cheese. Gently mix everything together, then serve or put in the fridge for lunchboxes tomorrow.

(Original recipe by Cassie Best in BBC Good Food Magazine, July 2022.)

Read Full Post »

A delicious creamy pasta dish which is ready in minutes, and very useful when you’ve got leftover mascarpone.

Wine Suggestion: Anytime we have pasta our automatic choice is an Italian wine, and with all these summery flavours opened a bottle of Macchialupa Greco di Tufo from the hills and valleys inland from Naples. Quite full bodied for a white it nonetheless added an extra layer to the meal with it’s stonefruit and citrus flavours and nutty (almond & hazelnut) finish. Despite it’s weight it was also fresh and tasted of a warm Italian summer.

Pasta with pancetta, broad beans & mascarpone – serves 6

  • 300g conchiglie pasta
  • 200g frozen broad beans, blanched in boiling water and skins slipped off
  • 200g green beans, sliced into three
  • 140g pancetta cubes
  • 250g tub mascarpone cheese
  • 75g grated Parmesan
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • a small bunch of basil leaves, torn

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling and very salty water according to the timings on the pack. Add the green beans 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta until crispy. Stir in the mascarpone and Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.

Scoop out a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta and beans. Add the pasta, green beans and broad beans to the frying pan and add 6 tbsp of the pasta cooking water (you can add a bit more if it needs loosened further). Add the lemon juice and basil, then season with salt and pepper.

Serve with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks up a Feast with Lucy Young, DK: Penguin Random House, 2019.)

Read Full Post »

We don’t stop making soups in the summer, and in fact we often need them to use up bits and pieces. At the moment that means the courgettes that are growing faster than we can eat them. Whatever the excuse this is bursting with summery flavours and a joy to eat, especially outside on a hot summer afternoon.

Summer Minestrone Soup – serves 6

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over to serve
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 courgettes, finely chopped (use green and yellow if you have them)
  • 70g diced smoked pancetta
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely grated
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin cannellini beans
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1.2 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 70g fideua pasta (or other small pasta)
  • 100g kale, stalks removed and roughly chopped
  • a handful of basil leaves, to serve
  • finely grated Parmesan, to serve

Warm the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, courgette and pancetta. Season well with salt and pepper and cook gently for about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and oregano and cook for another minute, then add the beans, tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, vegetable stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 30 minutes.

Add the pasta and kale and cook for a final 10 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, then serve in warm bowls, with some basil and Parmesan over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

Read Full Post »

We’re never sure what to cook for other people’s children but most of them seem to like pasta bake. This one has been popular and also the recipe below which uses a packet of supermarket filled pasta. They like our home-made lasagne too but we don’t always have the energy or time for the extra effort required!

Easy Pasta Bake – serves 3 children (or even 2 adults and 1 child)

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • a small handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 packet of filled pasta, about 250g, we tend to go for spinach and ricotta tortellini but you could do a meat filled version if you want to keep to traditional lasagne flavours
  • 4 tbsp mascarpone
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus extra for over the top
  • ½ a small ball of mozzarella, sliced

Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes, then tip in the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil.

Cook the pasta in boiling water for about a minute less than recommended on the pack, then drain.

Mix the mascarpone with the 3 tbsp grated Parmesan.

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

Rub a little olive oil over a small baking dish. Spoon a little bit of tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish, add about half the pasta, then spoon over half the mascarpone and Parmesan mixture.

Add another layer of tomato sauce, then the rest of the pasta. Top with the remainder of the tomato sauce and the mascarpone mix. Lay the mozzarella slices over the top and sprinkle with some more grated Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven until golden and bubbling.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, June 2016.)

Read Full Post »

A great dish for using up the end of a tub of cream with just a few ingredients that you might well have already.

Wine Suggestion: Central Italian whites just seem to sing with this dish and the La Piuma Pecorino which is light as a feather, citrussy and floral hits the spot; and is a bargain to boot.

Tagliatelle with broad beans, cream & mint – serves 2

  • 150g broad beans, blanched and skins slipped off
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 100ml double cream
  • a small handful of mint, finely chopped
  • 75g pecorino, finely grated
  • 200g dried tagliatelle

Get the pasta water on, then start the sauce.

Whizz half the beans in the small bowl of a food processor to get a rough purée.

Warm the 1 tbsp of the oil and the garlic in a heavy-based saucecpan for a minute or two to soften the garlic but without letting it colour.

Add the puréed broad beans, to the pan and cook for a minute, then add the double cream and the rest of the broad beans. Stir in the mint and bring to a simmer. Add half the pecorino and season to taste – careful as the cheese is quite salty.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in lots of salty water then scoop straight out of the cooking water and into the pan with the sauce. Toss to combine and add a little more pasta cooking water if needed to make a sauce. Serve with the extra pecorino for sprinkling over the top.

Read Full Post »

This simple pasta dish will be ready in 10 minutes, the kind of dish we like on a Friday night! The Italian sausages we used tonight were the spicier sort but this would be delicious with milder ones too, the key is the higher meat content. If the sausages have fennel in them halve the fennel seeds.

Wine Suggestion: An under-rated Tuscan coast gem, Morisfarm’s Mandriolo. A classic, youthful Sangiovese with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot this is juicy and vibrant, but also hiding a serious core that stands up to flavoursome food

Penne with Italian sausages & rocket – serves 4

  • 200g Italian sausages
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ glass of white wine
  • 500g penne rigate pasta
  • 100g freshly grated pecorino
  • 100g rocket

Remove the skins from the sausages and break them up into a bowl.

Warm the oil in a large frying pan over a low heat, add the sausages and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add fennel seeds and some salt and continue to cook for another minute. Add the wine and cook for a minute more, then remove from the heat.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in lots of salty water.

When the pasta is cooked, return the sauce to a medium heat. Drain the pasta and tip into the sauce. Sprinkle over the pecorino and rocket and toss for about 30 seconds over a medium heat to allow them to come together.

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

Read Full Post »

We’ve tried a few of these lately; a pasta dish where you literally chuck everything into the one pan, pasta and all, and cook. Perfect for weeknight/late night cooking.

Wine Suggestion: Well we wouldn’t go too fancy here as it would sort of defeat the purpose, something red, Italian, and not too expensive would be our choice.

One-pan pasta with sausage & fennel – serves 2-3

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 pork sausages, skinned
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp hot-smoked paprika
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped or plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 175g penne pasta or similar
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche, soft cheese or double cream
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated, plus more to serve
  • a bunch of basil, roughly torn

Heat the oil in a a large deep frying pan. Pull off small pieces of sausage and add them to the pan. Fry until nicely browned all over. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, paprika and chilli flakes and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato purée and stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pasta, then cover with a lid and simmer gently for 12-15 minutes or until almost cooked, give it a stir now and then as it cooks. Stir in the crème fraîche, Parmesan and basil, then remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to sit for a couple of minutes. Serve with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2020.)

Read Full Post »

Jules’ parents often give us yellow peppers as they prefer green ones, and for some reason they can only buy peppers locally (NI) in multi-coloured packs of three. Perhaps another Brexit effect. No matter as we’ve found the perfect use for them in this simple pasta sauce by Joe Trivelli. We didn’t have enough rigatoni so added some penne that got stuck in all the rigatoni tubes. We had good fun sucking them out.

Wine Suggestion: This is excellent with oaked Sauvignon Blanc, especially white Bordeaux, where the oak mellows out the grassy characteristics and adds a creamy, buttery layer with extra citrus fruits. We recognise these are harder to find and higher in price, so more affordably we successfully opened an Umani Ronchi Ca’Sal di Serra Verdicchio which carries over the cut grass and citrus characters and adds an almondy twist.

Rigatoni with yellow peppers – serves 4

  • 1 large yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • ½ dried chilli or a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 40ml double cream
  • 400g rigatoni – Joe sugests whole-wheat but we had the regular stuff so just used that
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • salted ricotta if you have some – we used Parmesan which works too

Put a medium frying pan over a medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Fry the pepper for 3 minutes, then add the garlic with a pinch of salt. Crumble in the chilli, cover and cook over a low heat, stirring now and then. You want the pepper to soften completely which could take around 30 minutes so be patient.

Add the cream and bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, then purée the sauce in a food processer and return to the pan.

Cook the pasta in lots of salty water until al dente. Scoop out a mugful of the pasta cooking water before draining, then add the pasta to the pepper mixture. Toss the pasta and sauce over a low heat, adding the basil leaves and some pasta water if needed to make the sauce creamy.

Serve on warm plates with some grated cheese.

(Original recipe from The Modern Italian Cook by Joe Trivelli, Seven Dials, 2018.)

Read Full Post »

Tinned fish seems to be having a moment, which is fine with us because we love it. We especially like Shines of Killybegs who do great sardines in sunflower oil, amongst lots of other delicious fishy things.

Wine Suggestion: An Italian white with a nutty twist at the end like Sartarelli’s Tralivio, a verdicchio from low yielding old vines that epitomises the very best of this grape and a perfect match to the umami saltiness of this dish.

Spaghetti with chilli, sardines & oregano – serves 2

  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 75g rough breadcrumbs, made from stale bread
  • 200g dried spaghetti
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 x 120g tin good-quality sardines in oil, drained
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 50g rocket

Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add a good glug of olive oil and when it’s hot add the breadcrumbs and half the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until golden and toasted, then season with salt and pepper and toss well. Drain on kitchen paper if needed.

Cook the pasta according the pack timings in lots of very salty water.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little oil, then add the remaining garlic and the chilli for 1-2 minutes. Flake the sardines into small pieces, then toss in the pan with the garlic and chilli.

Lift the cooked pasta out of the cooking water with tongs and add straight to the frying pan with the sardines. Toss to mix well, then add the oregano and season to taste.

Stir in the rocket and divide between two plates. Garnish with the garlicky breadcrumbs.

(Original recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course,

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »