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Posts Tagged ‘Pasta’

Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pasta Bake

We’ve been cooking pretty much as usual since Covid-19 struck and we’ve all had to stay home. We are trying even harder than usual though to use what we already have. The only fresh ingredient you need here is broccoli, we used purple sprouting as it’s in season but any broccoli will do. Hopefully you have everything else in your cupboard or fridge already, if not the corner shop should have it.

Wine Suggestion: a simple white wine with a bit of freshness and texture is all that is needed here. Our selection is the Macchialupa Falanghina from Benevento in Campania, Italy, which over delivers but is joyfully fresh and vibrant.

PSB and Pasta Bake – serves 4

  • 250-300g broccoli, cut into florets (we use stalks and all)
  • 250-300g penne pasta (or whatever short pasta you have)
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 large handfuls of grated Cheddar cheese (or any leftover cheese)
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard (or any mustard)

Cook the pasta in loads of salty boiling water and add the broccoli for the last 4 minutes. Drain and leave to steam dry in the pot.

Make a cheese sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour. Keep stirring for a minute, then gradually add the milk, a little at a time, stirring all the time. Keep stirring now until the mixture bubbles, then leave to simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir in the mustard, one large handful of cheese and plenty of seasoning.

Tip the cooked pasta and broccoli into the sauce and stir gently. Tip into an ovenproof dish and put under a hot grill for a few minutes until browned and bubbling.

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Chorizo & Chilli Pepper Pasta

We made this to use up a piece of chorizo ring leftover from a previous recipe. The whole dish took about 20 minutes from start to finish and was yummy.

Wine Suggestion: The first time we had this it was with a Beaujolais (Gamay) and it was a delightful match, and then a few weeks later it was with a white blend of Grenache Blanc and Viognier and again a real delight. We think the key here is a vibrant, medium bodied wine … and avoid to much complexity and concentration … this is a simple, if very tasty dish, so keep the wine the same.

Chorizo & chilli pepper pasta – serves 2

  • 200g penne (or any short pasta)
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 100g chorizo, skinned and cut into small chunks
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes (regular tin of chopped tomatoes would be fine if that’s what you have)
  • 3 guindilla pickled chilli peppers, sliced on an angle (any pickled chillies would do)
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
  • grated Parmesan, to serve

Cook the pasta in lots of salty water for a minute less than recommended on the packet.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a high heat. Fry the chorizo for a couple of minutes or until it releases its oil.

Stir in the tin of tomatoes, a pinch of sugar and seasoning.  Let bubble for 5 minutes, then stir in the peppers and basil.

Drain the pasta and stir through the sauce.

Serve with plenty of Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Ditali Pasta with Cauliflower, Saffron and Tomato Cream Sauce

We made this Sicilian pasta dish by Rick Stein on Valentine’s Day and it was lovely.

Wine Suggestion: this dish needs a rich white wine to match the cream and saffron and a vibrancy for the anchovies. We opened a Gulfi Carjcanti, a Sicilian white made from the local carricante grape. Complex and refreshing with apples, blossom and hints of sea breezes on the nose and vibrant, juicy and mineral on the palate.

Ditali pasta with cauliflower, saffron and tomato cream sauce – serves 4 (easily halved)

  • 25g anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into small florets (discard the core) – about 750g
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-hot red chilli, seeded and finely chopped or ½ tsp crushed dried chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • a large pinch of saffron strands
  • 450g ditali or other small tubular pasta
  • 5 plum tomatoes from a tin
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • finely grated Parmesan, to serve

Melt the anchovies in a small frying pan over a lowish heat, then set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the breadcrumbs and stir over a medium heat until golden and crispy. Season with salt and pepper, then tip onto a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Heat the remaining 4 tbsp of oil in the same pan, add the cauliflower and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes without colouring, until starting to soften. Add the garlic, chilli, season and cook for another minutes.

Mix the sun-dried tomato paste with 120ml of water and stir this into the cauliflower. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes or until just tender.

Meanwhile, pour 50ml of warm water over the saffron strands and leave to soak.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add lots of salt (Rick suggests 8 tsp – we just add a load). Cook the pasta according to the timings on the pack.

Add the saffron water, tomatoes and anchovies to the cauliflower and season. Increase the heat slightly and cook uncovered until the cauliflower is very soft. You might need to break it up a bit with a wooden spoon to help it along. When the cauliflower is completely soft add the cream and the parsley.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the cauliflower mixture and toss everything together well and spoon into warm bowls. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and cheese.

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

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Nigel's Bolognese

We love cookbooks that divide recipes up by the month of year. You can pick them off the shelf and get some instant inspiration that suits the weather conditions and what’s available. This is how we came to make this spaghetti bolognese, from Nigel Slater’s original Kitchen Diaries, on a cold night in January. We don’t usually add mushrooms to our Bolognese but they were really good here. Serve with some sort of long pasta (or penne if that’s what you’ve got) and loads of Parmesan.

Wine suggestion: we really enjoyed Michele Biancardi’s Ponteviro Primitivo from Puglia with this: wonderfully fresh and with a herbal spice as opposed to jam which appeals to our tastes.

A really good spaghetti Bolognese – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 70g cubed pancetta
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 large flat mushrooms (about 100g), finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g beef mince
  • 200ml passata
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml stock
  • a nutmeg
  • 200ml full-cream milk or cream
  • spaghetti or tagliatelle (to serve)
  • grated Parmesan (to serve)

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan, then stir in the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften, then add the carrots and celery and continue to cook. When they have softened a bit, add the mushrooms, tuck in the bay leaves and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring now and then.

Turn the heat up and add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Leave to cook for 3-4 minutes until the bottom starts to brown, the stir again and leave to colour.

When the meat is well browned, add the tomatoes, red wine, stock, a grating of the nutmeg and some salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a bare bubble. Partially cover with a lid and leave to cook for 60-90 minutes, stirring now and then. Add a bit of extra liquid if it looks dry at any point.

Gradually add the milk/cream, then continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Season to taste and serve with the pasta and Parmesan.

(Original recipe from

 

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Fusilli with Chestnut Mushrooms, Leeks and Mascarpone Cheese

This pasta sauce can literally be made in the same time as it takes to boil the pasta. The recipe is easily halved for two and therefore good for using up mascarpone.

Wine Suggestion: A tasty supper like this pairs well with unoaked Chardonnay, particularly from slightly cooler areas like the Maçon in Burgundy. Tonight’s choice, the Domaine Manciat-Poncet Maçon-Charnay which has a fresh joy to it with red apples and citrus flavours.

Fusilli with chestnut mushrooms, leeks and mascarpone cheese – serves 4

  • 45g butter
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 4 pinches of cayenne pepper
  • 400g fusilli pasta
  • plenty of freshly grated Parmesan to serve

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the butter and allow to melt. When the butter is foaming add the mushrooms, leeks and garlic and fry for 5 minutes.

Add the mascarpone and cook for another minute or so, stirring continuously. Stir in the chives and cayenne pepper, then season carefully with salt and remove from the heat.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in lots of salty water according to the timings on the pack, then drain and return to the same pan.

Pour the mushroom sauce into the pasta pan and stir together for 30 seconds before dividing between warm bowls.

Sprinkle over the Parmesan and serve.

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

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Turkey Tetrazzini

A creamy turkey and mushroom pasta bake for the inevitable leftovers. Tetrazzini was created by Italian immigrants to the USA adapting family recipes to local conditions and evolving tradition. We like this.

Wine Suggestion: Given this is American in origin we opened a Californian Chardonnay, the Cline Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast. The richness of fruit and hints of oak were a great match.

Turkey Tetrazzini – serves 4

  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 50g butter plus a bit extra for frying the mushrooms
  • 2tbsp flour
  • 250ml hot chicken stock
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 3 tbsp single cream
  • 300g cooked turkey
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Start by frying the mushrooms in a little butter until softened and browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water for the time indicated on the pack.

Meanwhile, make your white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir and cook for a minutes or so. Gradually whisk in the hot chicken stock until smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the tabasco, egg yolk, sherry and cream, then stir in the cooked turkey and mushrooms.

Layer the cooked spaghetti with the turkey mixture in a ovenproof dish, finishing with a layer of spaghetti and the Parmesan sprinkled over.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until piping hot and bubbling. Put briefly under a hot to crisp up the spaghetti on top if needed.

Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, January 2008)

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We’re all about creamy sauces, gratins and roasts at this time of the year. This is a great Friday night pasta dish by Nigel Slater with all the roast chicken flavour but quick to put together.

Wine suggestion: this really needs a full bodied white wine with texture. We naturally fall towards Chardonnay when thinking this, but the Languedoc one we had in the fridge we knew was easy drinking but not able to stand up to the food despite it being fuller bodied. Luckily we also had Vouvray made by Vincent and Tania Carême from our holidays earlier this year, and despite it being “tendre” or off-dry, it was a delight and an excellent match. The key was the texture even with the residual sugars left in the wine.

Roast chicken pasta – serves 4 generously

  • 4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg chicken thighs
  • 300g fusilli or trofie pasta
  • 7g tarragon, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 10g parsley, leaves stripped and chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 75g pine nuts, toasted
  • 500ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Bash the rosemary, peppercorns and a tsp of sea salt in a pestle and mortar until you have a coarse powder, then blend in the olive oil.

Put the chicken thighs in a roasting tin, then pour over the rosemary mixture and rub to coat all over. Put into the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Remove the chicken from the bones, keeping it in large chunks if you can and catching any meaty juices.

Mix the tarragon, parsley, lemon and toasted pine nuts together.

Put the roasting tin over a medium heat, add the cream to the tin and stir to scrape all the crusty bits off the tin. When the cream starts to bubble, add the cooked pasta and chicken. Season with black pepper.

Serve the pasta in bowls with the pine nut and herb mixture scattered over the top.

(Original recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, Sunday 1st December 2019)

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