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Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

Asparagus Carbonara

Classic carbonara is in no way sullied by the addition of asparagus and in our house at the moment it’s asparagus with everything!!

Wine Suggestion: A difficult decision given the awkwardness of asparagus and wine, plus the creamy richness of the sauce. We settled on the delightful Chateau les Charmes Godard, a Sauvignon (Blanc & Gris) and Semillon blend from Bordeaux and were reminded why we love whites from this region, especially with food.

Asparagus Carbonara – serves 4

  • 200g pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 350g pasta
  • 2 bunches of thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • a large handful of grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the pancetta and fry for about 5 minutes, or until turning crispy.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salty water to the boil. Boil the pasta until al dente, then drain and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan with the bacon. Season with lots of black pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked (it will take a bit longer if your asparagus is thick).

Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with the Parmesan and a splash of the cooking water.

Add the cooked pasta to the asparagus pan, then remove from the heat and stir in the egg mixture to combine. Add another splash of cooking water if needed to make a sauce.

Serve right away with extra Parmesan.

(Original recipe from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson, Quadrille, 2019.)

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Roast Chicken with Morels

We’ve never managed to find fresh morels but they’re such a reminder of Spring that we like to cook with the dried ones at this time of year. The sauce with this simple roast chicken is delicious. Some steamed asparagus is good on the side.

Wine Suggestion: with the classic French flavours of morels, brandy and crème fraîche we had to go with a classic white Burgundy. Tonight a favourite, Patrick Javillier’s Bourgogne Cuvée des Forgets … our mini Meursault.

Roast chicken with morels – serves 4

  • 20g dried porcini
  • a whole chicken, about 1.5kg (if you have a different sized chicken cook for 15 minutes per 450g plus an extra 20 minutes)
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 small shallots, finely diced
  • a handful of dried morels, soaked (or fresh if you can get them)
  • a splash of brandy
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • a small bunch of parsley, leaves stripped and roughly chopped
  • a small bunch of tarragon, leaves stripped and roughly chopped

Soak half the porcini in a small bowl of boiling water for 10 minutes.

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

Put the butter into a small bowl. Drain the porcini, pat dry, then roughly chop and mix with the butter and some seasoning. Put the porcini butter inside the chicken and lift into a roasting tin. Pour 100ml of water inside the chicken too. Rub the chicken all over with vegetable oil and season. Roast in the hot oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Grind the rest of the dried porcini to a powder.

Check the chicken is cooked and cook for longer if needed. Lift the chicken out of the roasting tin carefully and try not to let the butter inside escape. Keep warm.

Remove half the fat from the roasting tin. Put the tin over a low heat and gently cook the shallots. Add the dried porcini powder and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the brandy and flambé carefully. When the flames die down, add the soaked morels, then add the juices, butter and porcini from the chicken and bring to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes, then add the crème fraîche and mix well. Stir in the herbs and serve the chicken with the sauce.

(Original recipe by John Torode in Olive Magazine, April 2011.)

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Risotto Primavera

Do it now when there is lots of asparagus in the shops! If you have peas and broad beans growing you should of course use these rather than our frozen substitutes.

Wine Suggestion: we had opened a delightful Touraine Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Octavie which not only matched the food, it also matched the sunshine with us this evening.

Risotto Primavera – serves 4

  • 200g frozen broad beans
  • 4 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250g asparagus, woody ends snapped off and chopped into 4 pieces
  • 1.3 litres of good chicken or vegetable stock – homemade if you have it
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 85g butter
  • 350g Carnaroli or other risotto rice
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 140g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

Tip the broad beans into boiling water and simmer for 1 minute, then drain and remove the skins.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan.

Heat the oil and half the butter in a heavy, wide pan. Add the shallots, scallions & garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft and translucent but not browned.

Keep the heat at medium and add the rice to the pan and stir for a few minutes so it gets toasted and very hot. When it starts to hiss, pour in the wine and stir for another minute or so until the wine has evaporated.

Set a timer for 20 minutes, then start adding the stock starting with a ladle and a half. It should be gently simmering and you need to stir continuously until the liquid had been absorbed. Keep adding the stock a ladleful at a time and allowing it to be absorbed before adding another.

After 14 minutes, add the beans and peas to the rice with some seasoning. Meanwhile, add the asparagus pieces to the simmering stock and cook for 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and add to the rice. Start tasting the rice to check if it is done – you’re looking for soft rice with a little bite. Keep adding stock until cooked, then take the pan off the heat and add half the Parmesan and the remaining butter along with another splash of stock. Cover with a lid and leave to rest for a few minutes.

Serve with the rest of the Parmesan.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Pasta Primavera

This was tasty. We were a bit concerned about the boiled onion at first but it gives a nice onion flavour without any fried taste which isn’t required here with the light creamy sauce. Good for a weeknight or weekend lunch.

Pasta Primavera – serves 4-6

  • 1 red pepper, halved and deseeded
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 225g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm lengths
  • 100g sugarsnap peas, sliced in half lengthways
  • 300g dried penne
  • 100ml double cream
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 25g toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp torn fresh basil leaves

Put the pepper halves under a hot grill, skin side up, for around 10 minutes or until the skin is completely charred. Seal in a plastic bag and leave to cool, then peel and discard the skin. Slice the flesh into large pieces.

Cook the chopped onion in a pan of salted boiling water for 9 minutes, then add the asparagus. Cook for another minute before adding the sugarsnaps and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Cook the penne in a large pan of salted boiling water for the recommended time on the pack, then return to the pan with the cooled vegetables. Add the roasted pepper, cream and cheese and stir over a gentle heat to warm through. Season well with sea salt and black pepper.

Squeeze over the lemon and scatter over the pine nuts and basil to serve.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Cookery Course, DK, 2013.)

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Rosemary roast chicken thighs, asparagus & new potatoes

A weeknight treat to celebrate the new season’s bounty.

Wine Suggestion: We had a glass of the Domaine St Denis Macon-Lugny, a superb chardonnay from the Mâconnais in Burgundy and from the only grower-winemaker in this village (the rest goes to the co-op). Excellent flavours and a nutty depth marry well with the fresh, new season flavours and roasted chicken; a good choice.

Rosemary Roast Chicken Thighs with Asparagus & New Potatoes – serves 4

  • 750g small new potatoes, halved
  • 2 large bunches of asparagus, discard the woody ends
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves separated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • small handful of rosemary sprigs
  • 8 chicken thighs

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

Put the potatoes, asparagus, garlic cloves and olive oil into a large roasting tray and season well. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon halves, then cut into chunks and add to the tray. Toss together well, cover with foil and roast for about 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and stir through the rosemary.

Season the chicken thighs and arrange in the dish in a single layer.

Now roast for 30-50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is crisp and cooked through (this will depend on the size of your potatoes and chicken thighs).

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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We’re moving house this week and next week we’re getting married so we don’t reckon there will be much cooking done. Don’t worry we’ll be back mid-May after eating lots of great food and drinking lots of wine in Tuscany. In the mean time enjoy this cause we did!

Baked salmon with smoked pancetta – to serve 4

  • 4 pieces of salmon fillet, about 540g in total
  • 12 thin slices of smoked pancetta
  • 4 bay leaves
Heat the oven to 230C/fan 210C/Gas 8.
Take the skin off the salmon and wrap each piece in 3 slices of pancetta, tuck the ends underneath.
Lay the fish in an ovenproof dish and tuck a bay leaf between the fish and pancetta.
Lightly brush with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pancetta is golden.
Serve with minty peas and new potatoes.
Simple and the salmon stays wonderfully moist and picks up the smoky flavour.
(Original recipe from Nigel Slater, printed in Sainsbury’s magazine).

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