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Posts Tagged ‘Parmesan’

Today was a sunny Sunday so we grilled aubergine slices on the barbecue, made this delicious veggie bake, and ate it outside. Happy days! Serve with garlic or crusty bread and salad.

Wine Suggestion: We think youthful, fruity reds are a joy with this dish and can’t pass up a chance to open a good Beaujolais. For this dish Domaine Rochette’s Régnié, a cru that is often overlooked and unfairly so. Bright and almost crunchy fruit that shouts just as much of sunshine as the Parmigiana.

Melanzane Parmigiana – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing over the aubergines
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 8 large sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 6 large aubergines, sliced very thinly, lengthways
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 85g white breadcrumbs
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 x 125g mozzarella balls, torn into small pieces
  • a handful of basil leaves

Get the sauce on first. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wide saucepan, then add the garlic, thyme and sage and cook for a few minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar and sugar, and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, light your barbecue – a gas barbecue is particularly good for this as it’s easier to control the heat, you don’t want the aubergine to char before it’s softened. If you don’t have a barbecue (or if it’s not barbecuing weather) you can use a griddle pan instead.

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, then barbecue in batches until softened and lightly charred.

Mix 25g of the Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts, and set aside.

Spread a little of the tomato sauce over the base of a large baking tray or lasagne dish. Top with a layer of aubergine slices, then season well. Spoon over some more sauce, then scatter over some mozzarella, Parmesan and bssil leaves.

Repeat the layers and finish with a layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the cheesey breadcrumbs. You can bake the dish now or stick it in the fridge for up to 24 hours and bake when you’re ready.

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

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is crispy and golden and the tomato sauce bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes, then serve with salad and bread.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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This soup recipe by Skye Gyngall is delicious. Make it while you can get local aspragus and serve with some crusty bread.

Asparagus, rice & pancetta soup – serves 4

  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • a small bunch of thymes, leaves stripped and stalks discarded
  • 5 slices of pancetta, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 100g white rice
  • 1 litre good chicken stock
  • 500ml water
  • 12 green asparagus spears, snap off the woody ends and cut into short lengths on the diagonal
  • 100g Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onions, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Add the pancetta and garlic and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, then stir in the rice. Pour in the stock and water and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down low, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Add the asparagus to the soup and cook for a few minutes until just tender, then stir in the Parmesan. Season to taste with lots of black pepper and salt to taste.

Ladle into warm bowls and top with the parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell, Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2008.)

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Do buy good quality tuna for this, packed in olive oil. We like Ortiz which is widely available and excellent quality. We’d also highly recommend Shines’ Wild Irish Tuna, one of our local companies based in Donegal. We have tried loads of their tinned and jarred fish and they are all top quality.

Wine Suggestion: We chose a lighter red to match this dish from the Marches in central Italy. The Umani Ronchi San Lorenzo Rosso Conero has style and panache and the medium body, morello cherry flavours, soft spices and silky tannins are a charming match.

Baked orzo puttanesca – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 30g preserved lemon, discard the flesh and thinly slice the skin into strips
  • 70g pitted Kalamata olives, roughly torn in half
  • 2 tins of good tuna in olive oil, drained and roughly flaked
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 250g dried orzo
  • 1-2 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into half ½ cm thick rounds
  • 40g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 5g basil leaves, roughly torn

Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan that has a lid. Add the onion and cook gently for about 8 minutes or until softed and browned. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and anchovies and cook for another minute, until fragrant.

Stir in the capers, half the preserved lemon strips, 45g of the olives, the tuna, tomato purée, tinned tomatoes, orzo, 450ml of water, 1 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked through.

Turn the oven up to 230C fan.

Remove the lid from the dish, top with the tomato slices and sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle over the remaining olives, preserved lemon, basil and 1 tbsp of oil before serving.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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This has to be the perfect post-Christmas dish; great for using up the cheeseboard leftovers and all that smoked fish you though you would eat. Our daughter was so enamoured of this that she has been demanding it ever since. Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Find yourself a Chardonnay made on the lees, but not necessarily in oak. This will preserve a freshness and mid-weight while giving a yeasty, buttery character. A good producer from the Maçon, like Manciat-Poncet, would be ideal and that’s what we had.

Smoked Salmon Soufflé – Serves 3

  • 20g freshly grated Parmesan, plus an extra 1 tbsp
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 100g smoked salmon or smoked trout, finely chopped
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50g butter
  • 55g plain flour
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon

You will need a soufflé dish or baking dish, approximately 18-20cm.

Lightly grease the inside of the dish with butter, then dust with the 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Put the milk into a small saucepan with the onion and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to sit for a few minutes. Remove the onion and bay leaf and discard.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Then pour in the warm milk and stir vigorously until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes, then remove from the heat.

Lightly beat the the egg yolks with a fork, then stir them into the sauce with 20g of Parmesan, the chopped fish and the tarragon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff with a whisk in a large bowl. Fold the egg whites into the sauce, then spoon into the buttered dish. Smooth the top if needed, then sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan. Put the dish onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. The crust should be pale brown and the centre slightly soft, it should still have a little wobble when you give it a shake.

Serve immediately with dressed salad leaves and crusty bread. You need to eat it all up as this dish will not keep.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, Tuesday, 28 December 2021.)

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We loved this dish! Bursting with flavour and the perfect wintery side salad. The leftovers were also good the next day. You can use capers instead of anchovies if you prefer.

Wine suggestion: This dish works really well with a good, dry Chenin Blanc. Our current favourite is Bernard Fouquet’s Domaine Aubuissieres Vouvray Silex Sec. Dry and full of yellow apple fruits and layers of texture, while remaining discrete enough to allow the sprouts and parmesan to come through.

Brussels sprout and Parmesan salad with lemon dressing – serves 4

  • 700g small brussels sprouts, trimmed, leave 500g whole and thinly shave the rest
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 anchovies in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 60g Parmesan, 20g roughly grated and the rest cut into shards – a veg peeler will do this nicely
  • 120g kale leaves, discard the stems and thinly shred the leaves
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 20g basil leaves
  • 70g blanched hazelnuts, well toasted and roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 220C fan.

Line a tray with baking paper and add the whole sprouts, 2 tbsp of oil, ½ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper, toss to combine. Roast for 18 minutes, stirring halfway, until well browned and cooked through, then leave to cool.

Meanwhile, put the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, anchovies, grated Parmesan, 3 tbsp of oil, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into the small bowl of a food processor and whizz until smooth.

Put the kale, the shaved sprouts, the dressing, ¼ tsp of salt and plenty of black pepper into a large bowl and toss with your hands, massaging the leaves gently. Leave to soften and wilt for about 10 minutes.

Add the onion, basil, chopped hazelnuts, Parmesan shards and roasted sprouts to the bowl and mix to combine. Turn out onto a platter to serve.

(Original recipe from OTK Shelf Love by Noor Murad & Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2021.)

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This has a crunchy crust and makes a great wintery side dish for a roast dinner or sausages. For clarity, when we refer to turnips we mean the large yellow-fleshed things that some call swedes, not the little white ones.

Baked turnip mash with sage & Parmesan crumbs – serves 6

  • 1kg turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 50g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 200g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 75g Parmesan
  • 8 sage leaves

Boil the turnip and garlic in salty water for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well and allow to steam dry in the pot, then mash with half the butter and the cream, a pinch of cayenne and lots of salt and black pepper. Spoon into a baking dish.

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

Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and some black pepper. Melt the rest of the butter and fry the sage leaves untli they crisp up, then crumble them into the breadcrumbs and cheese. Sprinkle the mix all over the turnip and spoon over any melted butter, then bake for 40 minutes or until crisp and golden.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, November 2012)

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Yummy sauce for using up leftover pesto and perfect for mid-week.

Green Spaghetti Sauce – serrves 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 140g frozen peas
  • a small bunch of basil, leaves picked
  • 3 tbsp green pesto
  • 150ml single cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve

Cook the spaghetti in lots of salty water for the time stated on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the spinach and peas in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave for 3 minutes, or until the peas are tender, then drain well.

Tip the peas and spinach into a food processor, then add the basil, pesto, cream and Parmesan. Whizz to make a smooth sauce.

Drain the pasta, but reserve a mugful of the cooking water, then return to the pan. Pour over the green sauce and place over a low heat to cook for a few minutes, you want the sauce to cling to the spaghetti. Add a little pasta water if it looks dry, season to taste and serve with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is like a cross between a lasagne and a parmigiana. If you have a gas barbecue it makes a very easy job of griddling the aubergines in big batches which attracted us to this dish in the first place as the barbecue was on a good run. Nice with some crusty bread.

Wine Suggestion: Light, crunchy red wines just seem to fall into place with lasagne, or aubergine and tomato. This was no different. Tonight to good effect, our favourite Loire red, the Chateau du Hureau Saumur Champigny Tuffe.

Aubergine Parmigiana Lasagne – serves 6

  • 3 large aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g mozzarella, drained and coarsely grated
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • a bunch of basil, leaves picked and roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
  • 8 dried egg lasagne sheets

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • ¼ tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

Make the sauce by warming the olive oil and garlic in a large pan for a minute or until golden, go gently or the garlic will brown and turn bitter. Add the sugar and red wine vinegar and allow to bubble up for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt and return to a simmer. Bubble gently for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a gas barbecue or a griddle pan to a medium-high heat. Brush the aubergine slices with oil on both sides and season with a little salt. Griddle or barbecue in batches until softened and slightly charred. Don’t let the heat get too high or they will char before they are softened.

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

Lay a third of the aubergine slices over the base of a large baking dish, then spoon over a third of the sauce. Scatter with a small handful of both cheeses (but not too much as you want most of it for the top) and half the basil, then top with 4 lasagne sheets. Repeat once more, then finish with a layer of aubergines topped with the rest of the sauce and scattered with the remaining cheese.

Place the dish in the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for at least 10 minutes then serve with the rest of the basil sprinkled over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is simplicity itself but tastes just like the season.

Wine Suggestion: Pick a good, top-notch, dry Sauvignon Blanc to match this dish like the André Dezat Sancerre which is flinty, grassy-fresh and has great concentration and power despite being super balanced and effortless.

Gnocchi with asparagus, edamame & Parmesan – serves 4

  • 500g pack of gnocchi
  • good extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g asparagus, snap off the woody part of the stems, then cut into 5cm pieces
  • 150g frozen edamame beans
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 lemon, for squeezing over at the end
  • 60g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil, then add the gnocchi and cook according the pack instructions. It’s done when if floats to the top. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

Heat a large fraying pan over a medium-high heat, then drizzle with oil, and when hot, add the asparagus with a pinch of sea salt. Fry for a few minutes or until the pieces are starting to char but are still crisp. Remove from the pan and put into a warmed dish.

Add the frozen edamame beans to pan with a splash of water and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then scoop ot and add to the asparagus.

Drizzle some more oil into the pan and warm over a medium-high heat, then add the gnocchi. Fry until golden and crispy. Don’t be tempted to turn them too quickly or they will stick. Remove from the pan and into a large dish.

Combine the gnocchi with the asparagus, edamame, and chives. Squeeze over some lemon juice to taste and drizzle with olive oil, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Scatter over the Parmesan to serve.

(Original recipe from Family by Hetty McKinnon, Prestel, 2019)

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Given it’s sharp-sour character it can sometimes be tricky to think of what to do with sorrel – so this is a quick and easy recipe for sorrel butter. Delicious with pasta or on fish or chicken. You can make the butter and stash it in the freezer if you happen to have some leftover sorrel from another dish.

Wine Suggestion: This works really well with the Gulfi Valcanzjria. A blend of Chardonnay and Carricante from the slopes of Mt Etna, this fresh and Spring-like as well as having the stuffing to work with the sharp/sour sorrel.

Tagliatelle with sorrel butter & pine nuts – serves 4

  • 2 large handfuls of sorrel leaves, remove the stalks and roughly chop
  • 100g butter, softened
  • ½ a lemon, juiced
  • 300g tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta
  • 75g toasted pine nuts, to serve
  • Parmesan, shaved or grated to serve

Tip the sorrel into a food processor with the butter and lemon juice, then whizz to a paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Scrape the butter out onto a piece of cling film then roll into a log and chill in the fridge. It will be fine there for a few days or you can freeze for a month.

Cook the pasta in very salty water until al dente.

Meanwhile, melt the sorrel butter in a large frying pan. Use tongs to transfer the cooked pasta from the cooking water into the frying pan with the butter. Toss the pasta in the butter, then add most of the pine nuts and mix well.

Divide the buttery pasta and pine nuts between warm bowls and scatter with Parmesan and extra pine nuts to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This recipe by Gill Meller has to be one of the nicest things you can do with a turnip. By turnip we mean the large, orange-fleshed variety that some call swedes. We’re so busy cooking new things that we rarely do things again, but we’ve made an exception for this dish already. It goes without saying that you should use top quality sausages!

Wine Suggestion: This dish needs the comforting, warm spices of a Southern Rhone red with a good dollop of Grenache, some Syrah and possibly other varieties thrown in. Given the festive season we opened a bottle of Les Palliéres Racines Gigondas. Made by the Brunier’s of Domaine Vieux Télégraphe this is velvety and deep; a real treat.

Turnip with fried sausages, green peppercorns & Parmesan – serves 2

  • 1 turnip (or swede), cut into 2cm cubes
  • top quality sausages
  • 50g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 2-3 tsp green peppercorns in brine

Bring a large pot of salty water to the boil. Add the turnip and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add a little bit of oil, then add the sausages and cook slowly until well browned on all sides and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Don’t be tempted to speed up this process.

When the turnip is tender, drain and leave in a colander to steam. Put the pot back over a low heat and add the butter and cream. When this is bubbling, return the turnip to the pan. Mash the turnip until smooth, then season generously with black pepper, salt and most of the Parmesan.

Spoon the turnip onto a platter, pile the sausages on top, scatter over the peppercorns and sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Roast long-stemmed Broccoli & Lemon Pasta

This is simplicity itself and the roasted lemon, garlic and broccoli really pack it full of flavour. Perfect for a weeknight.

Wine Suggestion: perfect with an unsung Italian white from the Abruzzo region: Pecorino.

Roast long-stemmed broccoli & lemon pasta – serves 2

  • 300g long-stemmed broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, skin on
  • ½ a lemon, zested
  • 200g short pasta, we used penne
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated, plus a bit extra to serve

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

Put the broccoli into a bowl with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with Maldon sea salt and black pepper. Toss with your hands to coat then spread over an oven tray.

Wrap the garlic clove in tinfoil and add to the tray along with the zested lemon half. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until tender and starting to char.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack, then drain but keep a cup of the pasta cooking water.

Squeeze the roasted lemon into the empty pasta pan, then add the zest and squeeze the garlic from it’s skin into the pan. Mash together, then tip the pasta back in with the Parmesan and a good splash of the cooking water. Stir over the heat for a minute, then add the roasted broccoli and toss. Serve with more Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil if you like.

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

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Oregano pesto

Our Oregano plants have gone mad, so we thought it a shame not to use them more. Taking inspiration from the Classic Basil Pesto and with a little adjustment this is of course good on pasta. It also really comes into it’s own on top of roast chicken: simply roast some chicken thighs and drumsticks and top with this when cooked.

Oregano Pesto – enough to serve 2 with pasta

  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 15g Parmesan

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and leave to cool.

Pound the oregano in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the oregano has broken down, add the pine nuts and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the oil and Parmesan, then season to taste. Cover with a layer of oil and store in the fridge.

 

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Broad Bean Carbonara

There has been so many broad beans on our plates in the last couple of weeks, not that we’re complaining, we adore them! The frozen ones are hard to beat as they tend to be small and sweet.

Wine Suggestion: Choose a well made Chardonnay with a deft hand with oak and fresh acidity depending on what you have at hand; Burgundy, Jura, Baden, Stellenbosch, Macedon, Santa Cruz, etc.

Broad bean carbonara – serves 2

  • 85g pancetta (we had bacon lardons which worked perfect)
  • 100g podded and skinned broad beans (put the beans in boiling water for a minute, then refresh under cold water, the skins will slip off easily) – if you’re buying in pods you will need about 400g
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 200g parpardelle pasta (we used tagliatelle but you could use whatever pasta)
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and salt it generously.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta/bacon for about 8 minutes or until crisp.

Beat the egg yolks with the cream and season generously with black pepper.

Cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack, then drain, but save a bit of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the broad beans and pancetta in the frying pan. Add the egg and cream mixture and stir to coat, you may need some of the pasta water to create a silky sauce. Add half the Parmesan and toss through the pasta, then serve in warm bowls with the extra Parmesan on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food).

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Cauliflower & chestnut soup

Got chestnuts? We made this with a vac-pack we still had in the drawer from last Christmas. A really delicious soup and perfect for using a post- or pre-season chestnut surplus!

Cauliflower & Chestnut Soup – serves 4

  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 250ml milk
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 200g pack vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 25g grated Parmesan, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Add the cauliflower, milk and stock, then bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.

Add the cream, season well, and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the chestnuts, then blend with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste and serve with shaved Parmesan, lots of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Risotto bianco with pesto

It’s anything with pesto in our house at the minute. This dish is definitely suitable for adults too.

Wine Suggestion: We would suggest a good Fiano from Campani in the south of Italy with  freshness and fruit that isn’t too ripe and tropical. By avoiding over-ripeness you get more stone fruit with a fresh vibrancy. Alongside the rich risotto and herby pesto it’s a great match.

Risotto Bianco with Pesto – serves 6

  • 1.1 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ a head of celery, finely chopped
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 70g butter
  • 115g freshly grated Parmesan
  • fresh pesto
  • small handful of pine nuts – toasted
  • small basil leaves (to serve)

Put the olive oil and knob of butter into a pan, then add the onion, garlic and celery, and cook gently for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened turn the heat up and add the rice.

Keep stirring for about a minute or until the rice looks translucent. Add the vermouth and continue to stir.

When the vermouth has disappeared, add a ladle of the hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladles of the stock, stirring all the time, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding another. This should take about 15 minutes. After this taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, keep adding stock until the rice is soft with a little bite. If you run out of stock you can add a some boiling water. Season.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well, then cover the pan and leave to sit for 2 minutes. Eat immediately garnished with a spoonful of fresh pesto, some toasted pine nuts, a few basil leaves and some extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

 

 

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Porcini & spinach risottoWe love a good risotto and this simple one doesn’t disappoint. Perfect cold weather comfort food.

Wine Suggestion: as this is a richer flavoured mushroom dish our first choice would be to head to a Nebbiolo, especially a good Barolo. With the addition of the spinach which has a fresh, iron bitterness we would swing back to a full-bodied white and go for a good Alsace Pinot Gris. The depth of flavour of this dish can balance a really intense Pinot Gris like one from Zind- Humbrecht, which sometimes can be edgy and a bit much for many foods. This one can handle it so push the boat out for flavour and enjoy.

As we had this as a weeknight treat, however, we found that a more humbleVilla Wolf Pinot Gris from the Pfalz also worked.

Porcini & spinach risotto – serves 2

  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 50g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 150g risotto rice
  • a glass of white wine
  • 750ml veg stock, simmering (we use Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder)
  • 100g spinach, washed & chopped
  • parmesan shavings

Soak the porcini mushrooms in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve to remove any gritty bits and keep for later. Roughly chop the porcini.

Heat the butter in a wide shallow pan and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the chestnut mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, then add the porcini and risotto rice and stir until coated.

Pour in the wine and bubble until it has been absorbed by the rice. Gradually add the stock and porcini soaking liquid, stirring until the rice is al dente (you may not need all of the stock). Stir through the spinach until just wilted and serve sprinkled with shavings of parmesan.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, February 2009.)

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Courgette Pasta

This dish is so simple, and yet completely satisfying and delicious. It features regularly on our table during the summer months and has also become our daughter, Orlaith’s, favourite dish alongside Moussaka.

Wine Suggestion: A lovely and fresh wine but with depth and reasonable body works well with tis; something like a very good Verdicchio – try Sartarelli’s Talivio or Umani Ronchi’s Casal di Sera. If you feel like a red try a Cabernet Franc from the Loire, like the thoughtful and expressive Chinon’s by Charles Joguet.

Courgette Sauce for Pasta – serves 4

  • 1kg courgettes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp of cream
  • 50g freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • pasta of your choice (long or short works), 75-100g per person

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the garlic and courgettes, and a pinch of salt.Cook gently to soften without browning. Continue to cook until the courgettes are completely soft and almost all of their water has evaporated (20-30 minutes). Then bash the courgette mixture to a rough purée with a wooden spoon or masher.

Stir in the cream and Parmesan and allow to bubble for a minute or so until the cream has reduced a bit.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.

Serve with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Collins, 2001.)

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Parmesan Turnip / Swede

We insist on calling swede turnip in Ireland which can lead to confusion. To be clear we mean the large yellow-fleshed sort as opposed to the smaller, white-fleshed turnips.

We like both versions, but particularly the larger ones, and this is a great side dish which makes a change from mash.

Roasted turnip-swede with Parmesan – to serve 4

  • 1 large swede/turnip, peeled and cut into chips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves
  • knob of butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

Put the turnip, olive oil, almost all of the Parmesan, and the rosemary leaves into a shallow roasting tin. Season, toss well, and arrange in a single layer.

Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan, dot with butter and add the garlic cloves.

Roast for 35-40 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and cooked through.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is delicious but very rich, plus a little goes a long way! We found this a really good twist on a classic.

Carbonara Cabbage – serves 8

  • 1kg Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 12 rashers streaky bacon, chopped small
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 250ml single cream
  • 50g Parmesan, grated

Cook the cabbage for 10 minutes in a large pan of boiling salted water. Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large frying pan for 7-8 minutes or until crispy, adding the garlic for the final few minutes.

Mix the cream and Parmesan in a bowl with some black pepper. Add the cream mixture and the cabbage to the bacon pan and toss everything together really well. Warm through for a few minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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