Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (v)

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Wednesday night is band practice night for Fuz so I have the joy of working all day and then going home and having to sort tea for Lex and I on my own. What you need on days like this is speed, but also taste.

My mum makes the most wonderful tomato based pasta sauce. I love it. She told me once the secret is a pinch of ground cinnamon. Here is my attempt to capture the flavour of her sauce. It’s never quite as good as hers, but it’s pretty close. You can use whatever veggies you want in it. We had a glut of red peppers that needed to be eaten so  I used those. From starting to chop the onion to sitting down and eating it all took less than 20 mins, result.

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can plum tomatoes, blitzed
  • 1/2 a can of cold water
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp season all (or just use salt)
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp veggie stock powder
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 red pepper, roughly diced
  • freshly cooked pasta to serve.
  1. Begin by sauteeing the onions in the oil for 5-10 mins. Keep the heat gentle to allow the onions to soften without colouring.
  2. Add the peppers and the garlic, cook for another 1-2 mins.
  3. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
  4. Serve liberally over cooked pasta and enjoy 🙂

Macaroni Cheese

I made this at the request of Fuz’s mum. Apparently it was delicious. No idea why it was so good, fingers crossed I can repeat it with this recipe and the next time I make it!

For 4-6 portions you need

  • 250g macaroni, cooked to al dente
  • 600ml semi skimmed milk
  • 40g plain flour
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 250g strong cheddar (I used McLelland’s Seriously Strong Vintage Cheddar in case that makes a difference Helen!)
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs (about 2 slices)
  • 2 handfuls fresh parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Cook the pasta, draining well once cooked.
  2. Place the milk, butter and flour in a pan and slowly bring to the boil, using a whisk stir to ensure no lumps.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the mustard powder and 2/3 of the cheese. Mix well and season to taste.
  4. Mix the pasta into the sauce and tip into an oven proof dish. Mix the remaining cheddar into the breadcrumbs and scatter over the top. Finish by sprinkling over the parmesan.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 mins until golden brown and bubbling. Delicious comfort food!

 

Antonio Carluccio’s Pasta with Courgette Sauce

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We have an abundance of courgettes in the greenhouse at the moment (look, LOOK!). And the novIMG_6877elty of growing and eating our own food hasn’t yet worn off. Rather than hiding our carefully nurtured and hand reared courgettes in something like cake or a bake like I might do in a few weeks when, frankly, I’ve had enough of them, I served them centre stage in this oh-so-quick but oh-so-good dish from Antonio Carluccio. I skipped on the spinach balls, too much faff for a lazy hot summer Sunday…

For three portions you need

  • 300g pasta
  • 3 courgettes, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 45g parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Begin by cooking the pasta. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the garlic and chilli. You do not want it to colour at all. After 2 or so mins add the courgette and gently heat through. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water.

Add the water to the sauce along with the cheese. Mix thoroughly then drench the pasta with the sauce. Eat and marvel at how easy it was to prepare and how delicious it tastes.

Pasta a la Norma, sans Norma… (V)

  

With no plans for dinner tonight, we attempted pasta with aubergines. But the shop didn’t have any so we ended up having dinner without Norma. The end result was yummy and more crucially eaten by the boy. Had aubergine been included I predict a big pile would have been relegated to the side of his plate. 

For six portions you need

  • 1 bottle passata
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp veg stock powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Large handful fresh oregano, finely chopped 
  • Large bunch basil, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • Cooked pasta of your choice to serve

Gently fry off the garlic in the oil with the oregano and basil stalks. 

Add the passata along with the seasonings, sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins until slightly thickened. Just before serving stir through the chopped basil leaves. 

Serve mixed into the cooked pasta. 

Bottom of the fridge veggie lasagne

So called because I needed to use up the veg box… I’ve been craving a nice veggie lasagne for a while now and this was a total success. My new lasagne dish triumphs again (I never used to be able to make a decent lasagne!).

For 4-6 servings you need
Tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 can chopped tomatoes
150ml red wine
2 tsp veggie stock powder
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp veggie worcester sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup

9-12 sheets lasagne pasta
1/2 tub mini mozzarella balls
4 slices jarlsberg cheese
1/2 head broccoli cut into florets
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, diced

You can use whatever veggies you want in this, but I like carrots and broccoli in mine.

Begin by making the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic and heat through. Add the tomatoes and all the seasoning ingredients along with the red wine. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until slightly thickened. You want a tasty sauce but which is wet enough to cook the pasta whilst in the oven so adjust with some water if you need to.

Layer up the lasagne by placing sheets in the bottom of a dish, covering with 1/3 of the sauce and then topping with some chopped mozzarella. Continue with the next two layers, finishing with sauce over the top. Cover with the sliced cheese and the remaining mozzarella.

Bake in a hot oven for 40-50mins until the pasta is cooked and the cheese is melted and yummy. Serve with a green salad. Yummo.

Butternut Squash Raviloi with Crispy Sage and Brown Garlic Butter

I went back to work in September, and coincidentally I haven’t blogged since. Time to restart I think, and what better than a delicious recipe I’ve never made before eh?! I adore this ravioli and will always order it if it’s on a menu somewhere. We gave Fuz’s sister and her boyfriend a pasta machine for Christmas and it inspired us to dust ours off and use it for the first time in yeeeeeears. The pasta itself is a cinch to make. The rolling takes a little time (Fuz makes an awesome commis chef :)) but if you fancy a lazy afternoon in the kitchen, this is a lovely recipe to make. Don’t be put off by the different stages, none of it is hard. Stick some tunes on and get stuck in 🙂

For enough ravioli for 2-3 people you need
Ravioli Dough
3 eggs
300g pasta (type 00) flour
1 tsp salt

Butternut Squash Filling
1 butternut squash cut into 1cm cubes
2 red onions sliced
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Sauce
7-8 sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbsp butter

Parmesan cheese to serve.

Begin by making the pasta dough. Blitz the ingredients in a food processor till a dough forms. Knead on a floured surface for 10 mins until it goes all smooth and elastic. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 30 mins.

Meanwhile roast the squash. Toss the suqash cubes in the oil and seasoning and roast in a 180 degree oven for 25 mins. Add the sliced onion and roast for a further 10 mins until the onions are soft and the squash is nicely coloured and soft. Puree to a rough consistency and leave to one side to cool.

Once the pasta dough has rested, cut it into three sections and roll through a pasta machine until it’s on the thinnest setting. Leave to rest for a few mins once rolled and then assemble the ravioli. Place a scant tsp on a piece of dough, wet the edges and then place more pasta on top and stamp out a shape (there are numerous ways to do this, we had a ravioli stamp we used but cookie cutters will work equally well). The trick is to ensure no filling oozes out and the sides are completely sealed to keep the filling in once it’s cooked.

Leave the ravioli to rest on a floured surface for a few mins.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a pan of boiling water and cook the ravioli in batches for 3-4 mins until the pasta is al dente. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a pan with the garlic. When the butter foams, add the sage leaves and cook for 3-4 mins over a low heat until the butter browns and the garlic and sage crisp.

Drain the pasta and serve with the sauce spooned over and some cheese grated on top. Utterly delicious and you did it all yourself!

Pasta with Cabbage and Chickpeas (v)

A really tasty and satisfying yet very quick supper dish, and one where the pasta doesn’t get cold even tho there’s no ‘wet’ sauce covering it. Everyone loved this, even the boy who porports to “hate cabbage”. I think the garlicky oil, flecked with spicy chilli heat, is what made him over come his cabbage consternation… This is another from River Cottage Veg Everyday.

For three portions you need
225g pasta, we used rigatoni 
1 can chickpeas, don’t bother to drain them
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 onion, finely sliced
5 tbsp olove oil
4-5 cavolo nero cabbage leaves, tough stems removed and finely shredded.
Cook the pasta. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until lightly golden. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for a few mins longer.
3 mins before the pasta is done, lob in the chickpeas (juice an’ all) and the cabbage. Heat for 3 mins then drain. Toss into the onion pan and mix thoroughly. Serve in warmed bowls and add some cheese if you’re not vegan. Delicious. 

Pasta with Tomato Sauce

OK OK this doesn’t sound like the most exciting recipe anyone has ever made, but according to one blog it’s the most talked about tomato pasta sauce recipe on the internetz… Hmmm I thought and then I made it and I could see why. It tastes of perfect pasta sauce like you get in a good Italian. Rich but light, tasty and moreish.

For two people you need:
150-200g pasta
1 medium onion, cut in half
1 can chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
3 tbsp butter

Place the butter, tomatoes and onion in a pan and heat to a gentle simmer. Leave bubbling away for 30 mins, making sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom.

Cook the pasta and when it’s nearly done, blitz the sauce until smooth. Check the seasoning and serve. Totally yummy and so easy to make!

Pasta with Onion, Leek and Tomato Cinnamon Sauce and Fresh Basil (v)

My mum makes a mean pasta sauce which uses cinnamon in it to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. It’s utterly delicious. This is a version of it for a quick, tasty and healthy dinner following an exhausting hike over Ilkley Moor this afternoon!

For 4 portions you need
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 small onions, chopped
1 leek, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp veggie stock powder
freshly ground black pepper
150ml water
2 tbsp olive oil
Handful fresh basil, roughly shredded

Begin by sauteeing the leek and onion in the olive oil for 5-10 mins until soft. Add everything else and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 10 mins. Blend to a puree and check the seasoning. Serve on pasta topped with fresh basil. Nom.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Pesto (v)

I finally got round to watching some of the many, many episodes of Three Good Things I’ve had stacked up on my tivo box for the last few weeks, and in one of the episodes The Huge Furry Whipping Tool (as he is known in our house, Hugh FWS to everyone else…) made pasta with tomatoes and blue cheese. My boyfriend does *not* like blue cheese so I ditched that aspect and instead made some yummy pesto as my third thing. It perfectly used up some rapidly-going-past-their-best baby plum tomatoes that had been hanging round the kitchen for tooooooo long, and also allowed me to try out the Gourmet Garden, Fresh Made Easy basil and garlic combo in a fresh pesto. The verdict was deeeeeeeeeeelicious. Excellent.
For two people you need
2 tsp Gourmet Garden crushed garlic
1 whole tube Gourmet Garden chopped basil
2 tbsp pine nuts
salt and pepper
1/2 pack ripe baby plum tomatoes (or whatever tomatoes you have to hand)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
175g cooked pasta (I used shells to capture the sauce)
1 large handful fresh basil
Begin by marinating the tomatoes. Quarter them and chop into eighths if large, and place in  a bowl. Add 1 tsp Gourmet Garden crushed garlic, the balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper and 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix gently and leave to one side.
Meanwhile heat a pan and gently toast the pine nuts till golden brown. Place 2/3 into a mini food processor bowl along with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp Gourmet Garden crushed garlic and the fresh basil leaves. Pulse for a few seconds till roughly combined. Add the tube of Gourmet Garden chopped basil and the remaining pine nuts and season to taste.
Cook the pasta and drain. Add the tomatoes and pesto and scoff down. Yum yum yum.