Tag Archives: Italian

Sausage and Leek Meatball Tagliatelle

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Happy January. If, like me, you got paid early in December, and are now eagerly anticipating being paid and trying to wring value out of every last penny, then I hope this recipe helps.

It’s a Niger Slater one that does his talent for making superbly comforting food from easily available ingredients, and I’ve got two dinners out of it for about four quid.

Ingredients

A pack of sausages
Two leeks
A 250ml tub of cream
150g tagliatelle
Chilli flakes
Dill
Fresh parsley
Tarragon

Method

Slice open the sausages and put the insides in a bowl, discarding the skins. Add a couple of teaspoons of dill and chilli and squodge it all together with your hands.

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Fashion this into about 8 largish meatballs. In a large saucepan, heat a generous amount of olive oil. Brown the meatballs win this, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes, shaking occasionally to evenly cook the balls.

Transfer the balls to a bowl. Put a pan of salty water on boil and cook the pasta. Chop the leeks, and put them on a low heat in the pan you cooked the meatballs in, to cook in the juices.

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When they are soft and lovely, throw in the cream, some tarragon and chopped parsley, and season. Add the meatballs and drained tagliatelle and let it cook for a few more minutes.

Serve, eat, meditate on the fact your poverty is manageable for 10 minutes.

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

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Wholemeal Gnocchi

I love gnocchi. After a previous, shamefully poor effort at making pasta, I decided to start from a walk instead of a sprint, and I’d heard that gnocchi is an easier first move.

It’s a cross between pasta and mashed potato, with the taste benefits of both, and tastes a little like clouds.

As you’ll see from the photos, mine were ugly as sin, but were light, fluffy and better than supermarket gnocchi to taste.

Ingredients

Serves two, but easily adjustable!

300g potato, peeled and diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g strong wholemeal flour, plus more for dusting

Method

Boil the potatoes until they are falling apart, then mash until smooth- use a ricer if you have one, they are God’s gift to the lazy masher.

Leave to cool for two minutes, then quickly stir in the beaten egg. You have to wait till it’s a little cooler, as otherwise you’ll just end up with scrambled egg mixed with potatoes.

Nest, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, then your hands until it forms a slightly sticky dough. Transfer this to a dusted surface.

Knead this for one minute. It feels short, but any longer will make the gnocchi chewy.

Roll it out into long sausages about 2cm thick, and cut these into 3cm long pieces. Push indents into these pieces with the back of a fork- this increases the surface area, and helps it catch more sauce.

In a large pot of boiling water, add the gnocchi, around 8-10 at a time. When they’re cooked, they float to the top, so remove with a slotted spoon, and replace with an uncooked one.

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I had no good photos of this...

When they’re all done, stir into a warmed ragu or sauce, and enjoy.

I went for a sauce of chorizo, thyme, cream and grana padano, which was okay, but I think perhaps tomato would work best with the delicious gnocchi.

Squash and fennel lasagne

Another lasagne recipe! And another from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Veg. This is, in short, the creamiest lasagne ever, and the unctuous nature hides the lack of meat spectacularly.

I made some tweaks to make it friendly to a fodmap diet, but no concessions on flavour. If you do have issues with IBS, it might be helpful to know you can eat low sugar, aged white cheeses like Stilton or mozzarella, but not the higher sugar, young cheeses, like supermarket goat and feta cheese.

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Ingredients

  • 1kg butternut squash
  • 3 bulbs fennel
  • 150g GF lasagne sheets
  • 150g Stilton or other crumbly blue cheese
  • 50g parmesan
  • 750ml whole milk
  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 1 tsp dijon or wholegrain mustard
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Bay leaf
  • Garlic oil

Method

First, cut the squash into roughly 1 inch cubes, and roast them, dressed in the thyme (and any other woody herbs that survive cooking) and a few spoons of garlic oil, in an oven at around 180c for around half an hour.

Then in a saucepan, heat the milk, with the bay leaf added to a simmer and allow it to remain there for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, and let it sit there infusing.

While this cooks, sauté the chopped up fennel in a frying pan over a low heat for about 15 minutes, until they look collapsed and lazy, adding a little turmeric about halfway.

Now, make the Bechamel sauce. Melt the butter and add the flour, bit by bit, to make a roux. A roux is essentially a floury, buttery, soft but even lump. Go slow- it’s inexact and you may not need all the flour.

Once this is made, add the milk in 5 or so goes, stirring in the milk till it’s evenly coloured. Bring to the boil then simmer, stirring pretty much constantly till it has a creamy consistency. Stir in the mustard.

In an ovenproof dish, put in a layer of lasagne sheets, add the roasted squash, crumble over a third of the Stilton, grate over a hire of the parmesan and pour over a third of the Bechamel sauce.

Add another layer of pasta. Add the fennel and repeat with another third of the toppings. Add another layer of sheets and add the remaining cheese and sauce.

Put in the oven at 180c for 30-40 minutes until golden, remove from the oven then allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and eating.

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Chicken, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagne

I haven’t cooked anything new for a few days, so I’m reposting an old favourite today. I still haven’t homemade decent pasta yet, and I may have to bite the bullet and invest in a machine soon!

Antipathti

So, lesson one, don’t try to make pasta for the first time on a Monday night while hungry and tired! Apart from the stretchy, odd, undercooked taste of “almost pasta” though, the flavours in this were delicious.

Lesson two? Take your wedding ring off before working with any type of dough you idiot.

Pesto is possibly my favourite thing about Italian cooking. Basil, cheese and nuts. I can’t think of three more enjoyable things, without using the word beer.

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Ingredients

Serves 2-4, greed dependent

  • Lasagne sheets
  • 350g diced or minced chicken
  • 350g chestnut mushrooms
  • About 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 60g basil
  • 50g grana padano or other hard cheese, plus more for optional sprinklage
  • 50g pine nuts
  • A tub of ricotta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Put your lasagne sheets in a bowl of warm water with a little salt, to soak a little until they’re needed.

Gently…

View original post 172 more words

Tender Roast Beef 2- Italian Beef with a Courgette and Wild Mushroom Risotto

I wanted to call it Roast Beef 2- Electric Boogaloo, but I am unsure as to the crossover between amateur cooking and early hip hop cinema. I hope it’s a huge cross section, but suspect it may just be me…

I do enjoy a roast joint. This is a more Mediterranean inspired mix than my last, but as ever with roasts, I’ve tried to keep it hearty, as that’s 90% of the point of a nice roast, to my mind.

I can’t remember the provenance of the beef marinade. It’s pretty clever and not my idea, but the soy and balsamic breaks down the sinews of the meat and makes it very tender.

The risotto is an adaptation of a Gordon Ramsay recipe, but I like to use dried wild mushrooms, as they are actually obtainable from most supermarkets (not all of us are blessed with nearby Organic Superstores), and the liquid from rehydrating these adds an extra kick to the flavour.

Ingredients

Serves 2 or 3

Beef

500g beef joint
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp soy sauce
A few sprigs of thyme
Black pepper

Risotto

2 courgettes
100g arborio risotto rice
30g dried wild mushrooms
300 ml chicken stock
Fresh basil
75ml nice white wine
1tbsp lemon juice

Method

Mix the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, thyme and pepper in a small bowl. Place the beef joint in the roasting tin, on top of a large freezer bag turned inside out. Slather the balsamic mix all over. If you don’t have much time to let it marinate, go a bit Norman Bates and stab the joint a few times. Turn the bag inside out, seal it up and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Ideally overnight.

Continue reading Tender Roast Beef 2- Italian Beef with a Courgette and Wild Mushroom Risotto

Chicken, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagne

So, lesson one, don’t try to make pasta for the first time on a Monday night while hungry and tired! Apart from the stretchy, odd, undercooked taste of “almost pasta” though, the flavours in this were delicious.

Lesson two? Take your wedding ring off before working with any type of dough you idiot.

Pesto is possibly my favourite thing about Italian cooking. Basil, cheese and nuts. I can’t think of three more enjoyable things, without using the word beer.

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Ingredients

Serves 2-4, greed dependent

  • Lasagne sheets
  • 350g diced or minced chicken
  • 350g chestnut mushrooms
  • About 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 60g basil
  • 50g grana padano or other hard cheese, plus more for optional sprinklage
  • 50g pine nuts
  • A tub of ricotta
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Put your lasagne sheets in a bowl of warm water with a little salt, to soak a little until they’re needed.

Gently fry the chicken and mushrooms in a very little oil. While this is cooking, rinse the basil under cold water and pat dry.

Continue reading Chicken, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagne

Spaghetti and meatballs

I looked at a couple of Jamie Oliver recipes, from The Naked Chef, his first book, (he looks so cute on the cover! Baby Oliver!) and Jamie’s Italy which is a great book- it’s very clear that he prefers Italian cuisine over any other, the passion is very real. I then got confused between the two recipes and came out with this.

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Bless. He's like, 10 in this picture!

It was tasty, and filling, and really surprisingly good as it was borne of a mistake! I used dried herbs. It would taste even better with fresh.

Ingredients

Serves 2

Spaghetti
Tin of chopped tomatoes
200g good beef mince
Breadcrumbs
1 egg
Basil
Rosemary
Oregano
Cumin
Crushed dried chilli or chilli powder
Pecorino or parmesan cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Recipe

Continue reading Spaghetti and meatballs

Creamy Gnocchi- a 5 minute midnight snack

Made from the crap that was lingering in my fridge from a couple of failed and unblogged recipes this week*.

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Ingredients

Gnocchi
Creme fraiche
Hard cheese (pecorino for me, any cheese would work)
Lemon

Recipe

You can work this one out really. Boil the gnocchi for 2 minutes, drain it, reduce the heat, add the creme fraiche, season with salt and pepper, grate in some cheese, stir until melted. Squodge a bit of lemon on and eat. Tart and creamy filling snack in no time.

EDIT- The next day. I made this again with milk instead of crème fraiche, and no lemon. It was a lovely bowl of creamy peppery goop, and absolves you of needing pretentious ingredients round the house!

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* Mexican corn on the cob, which was tasty, but I couldn’t get it all to hold together, and a spinach and cannellini bean puree which ended up as a horrible soup.

Aubergine Parmagiana

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittinstall’s wonderful River Cottage Veg book. I am an unreformed carnivore, so as you can imagine, a book comprised entirely of vegetarian dishes wouldn’t normally be my go to text for a nice dinner on an autumn evening. It’s testament to how great the book is that my wife and I keep coming back to it for delicious dinners. This is almost a lasagne, but with no meat or pasta. And it’s almost better for it.

Ingredients

Evgerything is pretty much to taste, rather than a fixed weight. Use your own judgement and palate!

  • Aubergines x 2
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes x 2
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Bay Leaf (optional)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan

Recipe (serves 2)

Slice the aubergine lengthways, then rinse and salt in a colander and leave for around 30 minutes.

While you wait, sweat the onion and garlic until soft, then add the tomatoes, bay leaf, basil and oregano, and simmer, adding salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar to taste, until the bitter tang has left the tomatoes.

Pat dry the aubergine slices, and rub down with a little olive oil. Throw slices into a hot griddle pan for 2-3 minutes a side, until they are soft and have nice burnt lines on them.

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Put a layer of aubergine in an oven dish, and pour over a third of the tomato sauce. Dot this with torn up mozarella,  then grate some parmesan on top of this. Repeat this two more times to make layers of both, much like a lasagne, except ending with the tomato sauce on top.

Put in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180c, or until the cheese on top is golden and browned.

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Serve on its own or with a side salad.