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Posts Tagged ‘Spaghetti’

Rachel Roddy is a great inspiration for us in the kitchen. Her recipes are so simple but just right. This spaghetti dish has no pepper or cheese and doesn’t need them, it’s delicious as it is and a treat at any time of year.

Wine Suggestion: We were inspired by the bright Spring day and this dish to open the Spiaggia Marche Bianco. A youthful Verdicchio from the Sartarelli family who live and breathe Verdicchio. Joyful and charming; everything we were hoping for.

Spaghetti aglio, olio al limone – serves 4

  • 2 large unwaxed lemons, zest grated
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 small dried chilli or a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil

Mix the lemon zest and chopped parsley together and set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add lots of salt, then stir in the spaghetti and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, very gently warm the olive oil in a large frying pan with the chopped garlic and chilli. You want it to be fragrant but be very careful not to burn it.

Use tongs to lift the spaghetti out of the water and into the frying pan, you want a little of the residual cooking water. Stir the spaghetti to coat in the oil, then add the lemon zest and parsley and a pinch of salt. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like, we usually don’t feel it needs it. Divide between warm pasta bowls.

(Original recipe from Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, Headline Home, 2017.)

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Somewhere along the line we forgot about spaghetti carbonara, but remembered it again last night. This really is a store-cupboard dish. We’re never without pasta, eggs or Parmesan and more often than not there’s a half packet of pancetta or bacon lardons in the fridge needing used. Thursday night might turn into carbonara night!

Wine Suggestion: An open bottle of Edetaria via Terra red, made from Garnache Tinta grown in Terra Alta south of Barcelona was a joyful accompaniment. Fresh with refined spices and tannins; a gourmand wine. We don’t know whether it was the night or the wine but we had the chats all night after this food and wine.

Spaghetti Carbonara – serves 2 – though you can of course double to serve 4

  • 200g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pancetta cubes or bacon lardons
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 25ml vermouth or white wine
  • 1 large egg
  • 50g grated pecorino or Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cook the spaghetti in lots of very salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the pancetta over a medium heat until crispy. Add the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes before the vermouth or white wine and bubble until well reduced. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the egg into a large bowl and beat it with a fork. Add a little salt and plenty of black pepper, then add the cheese and stir to combine.

Drain the pasta in a colander and immediately transfer to the bowl with the egg and cheese, don’t be too fussy when you’re draining as a little of the pasta cooking water will help make a silky sauce. Stir together until the spaghetti is coated in a glossy sauce, then add the pancetta and stir again.

Serve in warmed bowls and sprinkle with the parsley.

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We occasionally go to Lidl, when they have those country promotions on, for the white anchovies in the fridge section. Last time it was a Spanish promotion and we also grabbed a tin of artichokes which we used tonight for a mid-week pasta dish with spaghetti and pesto.

The pesto we used was an oregano version that we made in the summer and stashed in the freezer. Very happy diners!

Wine Suggestion: Artichokes are hard to match as they make most grape varieties taste metallic. However, Grüner Veltliner with its higher umami savouriness, really works. We opened a bottle of Höpler’s GV grown in Burgenland which is better known for it’s reds and sweet wines and goes to show how a great site always wins. Their GV vineyard reliably produces delightful wines and the current vintage is a gem; vibrant and fresh with hints of white pepper, pears and lemony citrus zest.

Spaghetti with artichokes & pesto – serves 4

  • 350g spaghetti
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 tbsp green pesto
  • 50g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 390g tin artichokes, drained, quartered and dried
  • 50g pine nuts

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

Cook the spaghetti in lots of boiling salty water according to the time given on the pack.

Meanwhile, gently mix the eggs, milk, pesto, Parmesan, and artichokes, together in a bowl, then season.

Drain the cooked spaghetti in a colander and return to the hot saucepan. Immediately add the egg and pesto mixture and stir gently until it forms a silky sauce.

Stir in the toasted pine nuts and serve in warm bowls with some extra Parmesan and a drizzle of your best olive oil if you like.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Hot Smoked Trout & Dill Spaghetti

A lovely weeknight treat and so easy and quick to make. We used Barbecued Rainbow Trout from Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Kilkenny but any hot smoked trout or salmon will work perfectly.

Wine Suggestion: this works with lightly / judiciously oaked Chardonnay which gives structure and a touch of butteriness but retains the fruit and texture; your choice.

Hot Smoked Trout & Dill Spaghetti – serves 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 100g frozen petits pois
  • 100g hot smoked trout or salmon (see above), remove the skin and break into bite-sized chunks
  • a small packet of dill (about 25g), remove any thickish stalks and roughly chop
  • 3 tbsp of crème fraîche

Cook the spaghetti in loads of boiling, very salty water, for a minute less than the time given on the pack. Add the frozen petits pois and cook for another minute, then drain and return to the pan. Reserve some of the pasta water to thin the sauce.

Stir the hot smoked trout, dill, crème fraîche, salt and lots of black pepper into the pasta. Add a couple of tbsp of pasta water to the pan and toss everything together over a very low heat. Keep adding pasta water until you have a silky sauce, then serve in warm bowls.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Spaghetti with Roasted Red Mullet

It feels a bit weird posting recipes like this but at the same time we think its important to remember that there are no food shortages. The fish shops are open and fishermen continue to fish and while this continues, we’re going to make the most of it.

Wine Suggestion: a good rule of thumb when matching wines is to look at the source of the food and see what is being grown nearby. Today, an Italian seafood pasta drags us to the Poggio ai Ginepri Vermentino, grown on the Tuscan coast; both floral and salty in equal amounts with a good dollop of tasty fruit in the middle.

Spaghetti with roasted red mullet – serves 2

  • 4 small fillets of red mullet – ask the fish shop to fillet them for you and make sure you check them over for tiny bones
  • a handful of black olives, pitted
  • a dried chilli or half a tsp of dried chilli flakes
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • your best extra virgin olive oil
  • some fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • 200g spaghetti

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.

Prick the cherry tomatoes with a fork, then toss with a little olive oil, season and spread over a baking tray. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Put the fillets of red mullet in a single layer in a shallow baking dish, sprinkle with thyme and the dried chilli, then season. Drizzle with oil and roast in the oven for 5 minutes.

Cook the spaghetti in loads of salty water until al dente. Drain and return to the pan.

Add the olives and tomatoes to the pasta with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season. Add the red mullet and toss gently, then serve.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy: Simple Recipes form the London River Cafe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006)

 

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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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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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Linguine with garlic mushrooms & sage

Nothing fancy here but might be the break you need from all the Christmas festivities. Minimal effort required!

Wine Suggestion: a light red wine was our choice today; the Domaine Bellier Cheverny Rouge, a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay from the Loire in France. Earthy and fresh plums and cherry flavours with fine, light tannins.

Linguine with garlic mushrooms & sage – serves 2

  • 150g linguine
  • 25g butter
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • a handful of sage leaves, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 50g Parmesan, finely grated

Cook the linguine in loads of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until very soft and golden and the any liquid has pretty much disappeared.

Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the sage and cook for another minute. Season generously.

Drain the pasta but reserve some of the cooking liquid. Add the cooked pasta to the mushroom pan with the lemon juice, Parmesan and enough of the reserved water to make a sauce. Toss everything together until the pasta is coated.

Serve with a bit of extra Parmesan over the top if you like.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, November 2015)

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Lobster & Pasta

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

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

Lobster & Spaghetti – serves 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Spaghetti with Ricotta & Toasted Pine Nuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Spaghetti with Prawns & Rocket

Easy, tasty, prawns, chilli & spaghetti 🙂

Wine Suggestion: A great match was the Biancardi Solo Fiano from Puglia which was aromatic, floral and vibrantly fresh.

Spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola – serves 4

  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 dried chillies, crumbled (or you could use a tsp of chilli flakes)
  • 400g raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 small wineglass of wine – about 175ml
  • 2 heaped tbsp of sun-dried tomato purée or 6 sun-dried tomatoes blitzed in a blender
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 handfuls of rocket, roughly chopped

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and chilli.

When the garlic starts to colour, add the prawns and sauté for a minute, then add the wine and tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a little bit of cooking water.

Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, the lemon juice and half the chopped rocket and season to taste (add a bit of the pasta water at this stage if needed).

Divide between plates and scatter with rocket and lemon zest before serving.

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

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Spaghetti with walnuts, raisins & parsley

A simple weeknight dish with very few ingredients. Typical of the type of dish we have at the end of the week when we’re determined to use what we’ve got without having to return to the shops.

Spaghetti with Walnuts, Raisins & Parsley – serves 4

  • 300g spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 5 tbsp raisins or sultanas
  • 250ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 5 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions for 8 to 10 minutes or until soft and golden brown. Add the raisins and stock and cook for a few minutes until hot through. Toss with the pasta, Parmesan, walnuts and parsley.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Spaghetti Carbonara

A sort of carbonara-style dish but far from authentic. It’s tasty though, and we get requests for this version so we’ll keep making it.

Wine Suggestion: We opened a bottle of the Colterenzio Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige/Südtirol for our guests and it went very well. If in doubt we try to choose a wine similar to the origin of the food; a good rule if you’re stuck.

Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Bacon & Cream – serves 4

  • 350g spaghetti
  • 150g unsmoked streaky bacon, cut across into very thin strips
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g small chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 85g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water according to the time indicated on the pack.

Meanwhile, heat a large, deep, non-stick frying pan and fry the bacon over a low heat until the fat starts to run. Add 1tbsp of the olive oil, increase the heat, and keep cooking for another 3-5 minutes or until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the same pan, then add the mushrooms and garlic and fry over a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms are golden. Set aside.

Combine the eggs and most of the Parmesan in a small bowl (reserve enough cheese to sprinkle over at the end). Season well with salt and black pepper. When the pasta is almost done, return the frying pan to a low heat. Scoop out a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain.

Tip the spaghetti into the warm pan with the bacon and mushrooms. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the eggs and cheese. Stir in the cream and about 120ml of the reserved pasta water. Use some tongs to toss the spaghetti with the other ingredients.

Divide the spaghetti between 4 warm bowls and scatter over the parsley, reserved Parmesan and some more black pepper.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect, DK, 2014.)

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Spaghettini w. prawns basil parsley and pistachios

We know it’s Sunday and it’s getting colder and the clocks have changed, so we should really be posting a nice roast. However, we figure you probably have dinner sorted for today and you might like something to inspire you later in the week.

Wine Suggestion: the fresh, zesty Staforte Soave from Gaziano Prà would be a great match for this. Made from 100% Garganega it has apricot, peach and apple fruit flavours with touches of camomile and white flowers; followed by a textural finish. We would also try southern Italian Greco di Tufo and Falanghina’s with this dish; try to look for something with crispness, mid-weight and mineral texture and it should work.

Spaghettini with prawns, basil, parsley & pistachios – serves 4

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • a large handful of basil leaves
  • a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • a large handful of mint leaves
  • 75g roasted unsalted pistachio nuts
  • 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g dried spaghettini
  • 500g raw peeled king prawns

Pound the garlic and half the sea salt to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Add the basil, parsley and mint and keep pounding together to make a thick paste. Add half the pistachios and grind them into the paste to get a creamy texture. Roughly chop the rest of the pistachios and stir into the paste with the Parmesan, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with some more salt if needed and black pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salty water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

Put a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and add the rest of the olive oil. Fry the prawns for a minutes on each side, then season with the remaining ¼ tsp of sea salt. Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and keep a little of the cooking water. Immediately tip the pasta back into the pot, then toss together with the herb paste and cooked prawns. Add a little of the pasta cooking water if necessary to loosen. Serve immediately on warm plates.

(Original recipe from Neil Perry’s Good Cooking, Murdoch Books, 2016.)

 

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Spaghetti al cartoccio

This starter portion of pasta is perfect for entertaining as it can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and finished off in the oven when required. We had this as a second course after broad bean bruschetta and followed by barbecued balsamic beef and then home-made ice cream and summer berry compote for dessert.

Wine Suggestion: lovely with a slightly chilled red, and naturally, given the inspiration from the food we’d suggest Italian. A light, lively, youthful and fruity Sangiovese hits the spot in the form of a Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo given 30-40 minutes in the fridge before serving; chilled but not ice cold. The fresh acidity works perfectly with the fresh tomatoes and olives and the combination speaks to us of summer.

Pasta al Cartoccio – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 450g ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 280g dried spaghetti
  • 100g large black olives
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 30x20cm.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove the garlic, then add the tomatoes and chilli and season well. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan oven 180C.

Cook the spaghetti in salted water for half the time given on the pack, then drain well.

Add the olives and half the parsley to the tomato sauce and stir in the pasta. Taste and season to taste.

Divide the spaghetti between the pieces of paper, piling it into the middle of each. Scrunch the edges of each parcel  to seal tightly. Put the parcels in a roasting tin and bake for 7 minutes after which time the spaghetti should be al dente.

Remove the tin from the oven and transfer each parcel to a warm plate. Let everyone open their own parcels and sprinkle the spaghetti with the remaining parsley and some parmesan.

(Original recipe by Ursula Ferrigno in BBC Good Food, August 2001.)

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Spiced Meatballs in tomato sauce

We weren’t so sure about the cinnamon in this meatball recipe but it added a delicious warmth so don’t be tempted to leave it out or reduce the quantity. Much satisfied slurping!

Wine Suggestion: Tuscany beckons for this dish and the juicy red fruits of Morellino won this time to good effect. The MorisFarms (Spanish heritage but longtime settled in the Maremma in Tuscany) Morellino for our mind hits the spot and has an honesty and vitality of winemakers clearly part of their landscape. Bright red fruits and a delightful juiciness that only coastal Tuscany can deliver.

Spiced meatballs in tomato sauce – serves 6

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 x 400g tins cherry tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 oregano sprigs, strip off the leaves and discard the stalks
  • ½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 900g beef mince
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Cooked pasta to serve (allow 100g per person) .

Make the sauce first. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan together and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add a bit of water if necessary. Taste and season.

For the meatballs, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and cook the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for another 90 seconds or so. Put the cooked onion mixture into a bowl with the beef, spices and parsley and season really well. Use wet hands to form the mince into pingpong ball sized meatballs.

Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan and brown the meatballs in batches. They don’t need to be cooked the whole way through at this stage just nicely browned on the outside. Return all the meatballs to the pan, add the tomato sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Stir the cooked pasta and meatballs together in a warm shallow bowl and serve.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Lemon, Prawn & Parsley Spaghetti

We try to keep a bag of frozen raw prawns in the freezer as they always feel like a special treat. This is good if you fancy a special treat on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…

Wine Suggestion: to match this dish you can’t go wrong with a good Albariño (Spain) / Alvarinho (Portugal). What you need to look for is a bit of body as some are just a bit thin; the best have a real depth of flavour along with vibrant freshness. Perfect for the prawns and lemon.

Lemon & Parsley Spaghetti with Prawns – serves 2

  • 175g spaghetti
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 140g large raw peeled prawns, thawed if frozen
  • zest & juice 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve
  • bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Cook the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the prawns and fry quickly until pink all over.

Add the lemon zest and juice, parsley, 2 tbsp of the pasta cooking water and salt and pepper, then heat through.

Drain the spaghetti, add to the pan, then toss it all together.

Serve with lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A Lebanese twist to tomato sauce with gentle spices and almonds; a lovely variation on a theme. The proportion of sauce to spaghetti is also very different to how the Italian’s make pasta so there is a lot of sauce for this dish. This worked for us but you could use the same amount of sauce for a greater quantity of pasta and therefore serve more people if you’d like.

The spices are subtle and warming and the pinches can be generous if you like.

Spaghetti with a Rich Tomato Sauce & Toasted Almonds – serves 2 generously

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch ground pepper
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic and sugar into a pan and simmer over a low heat. Stir frequently and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to packet instructions (usually between 10-12 minutes). Reserve 3 tablespoons of the cooking water and then drain the cooked spaghetti.

Return the spaghetti to the cooking pot with the reserved cooking water and the tomato sauce.

Toss well and then serve sprinkled with the almonds and parsley.

Wine Suggestion: we drank a Valpolicella Ripasso with this dish and the ripe, juicy spices went well with the warming spices of the sauce.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon, 2012.)

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Really simple and delicious. Works best with really fine green beans.

Spaghetti with tomato sauce & green beans – to serve 4

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 50g Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g tin of really good quality tomatoes (Italian brands are usually good)
  • 100g fine green beans
  • 300g spaghetti

Finely slice the garlic and grate the Parmesan.

Heat a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the olive oil, then the garlic and cook until soft but not brown. Add the tomatoes, season, and add the chilli flakes. Cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes.

Trim the beans, then cook in boiling salted water until very tender. Drain well and add to the tomato sauce.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and stir the pasta into the tomato and green bean sauce. Season and toss with a bit of olive oil.

Serve with the Parmesan.

Wine Suggestion: Nothing too big and heavy required here, try a dry rosé from Bordeaux.

(Original recipe from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers’ River Cafe: Italian Two Easy, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

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