Kale pesto

This makes a generous amount for 2, or smaller portions for 3 people when served with pasta:

  • 20 walnut halvesKale_Pesto
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 100g shredded kale (tough stalks removed)
  • 30g parmesan (grated)
  • Black pepper to taste

Grind the walnuts in a food processor. Add the garlic, olive oil, kale and parmesan. Process until fully combined to a paste. Season with black pepper.

Add to hot cooked pasta, and stir over a gentle heat, until hot. Serve.

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Tomato pasta bake

Pasta_bake_new

I had some left-over Roasted Mediterranean vegetables so I made yet another variation on pasta bake – enough for 3:

  • 4 handfuls of penne pasta (or amori, rigatoni or macaroni)
  • 200 ml passata
  • Roasted Mediterranean vegetables (about 1/3rd of Roasted Mediterranean vegetables the  recipe)
  • 100g grated cheddar

Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Drain. Heat the passata and the vegetables in the saucepan. Add the pasta and the 3/4 of the cheese. Mix well and turn into a shallow dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for about 25 minutes, or when the top starts to brown.

 

Valentines Day treat?

Chocolate_Fiorelli

According to Waitrose they are selling “Special Edition Devilish Chocolate Fiorelli Dessert … available until 4 March. For each pack sold, 10p will go to the charity Have A Heart“.

Waitrose has introduced a Special Devilish Chocolate Fiorelli, just in time for the most romantic day of the year. Dark pasta shells, made with 100% pure unsweetened cocoa and a creamy chocolate filling, go perfectly with strawberries for an impressively unique pud.

Personally, I wouldn’t feel very romantic if presented with this at the end of a meal. But what do you think? Can you think of better ways to serve them?

Minestrone

Minestrone-tile

This is a good way of using up spare vegetables (enough for 3):

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (roughly chopped)
  • 1 stick of celery (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped/crushed)
  • Another root vegetable (cut into smallish cubes – I used a slice of butternut squash about 8 cm wide, but swede, sweet potato etc would be fine)
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 800ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp vegi-stock powder
  • 2 handfuls of pasta (I used fusilli, you could use any ‘chunky’ pasta pieces  or broken spaghetti)
  • 200g of cooked cannelini (or similar) beans (drained) –
  • 100g shredded cabbage (or greens)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • Black pepper
  • 60g grated parmesan (or any strong hard cheese)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot and celery and gently cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cubed root vegetable and the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the boiling water and the stock powder. Stir, bring to the boil, and simmer gently until all the vegetables are nearly cooked (about 30 minutes). The add the cabbage and the beans and simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the peas and simmer for another 3 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the instructions, so that it is ready to add to the finished soup (you could add the uncooked pasta to the soup at an earlier stage, but it doesn’t cook so well).

Add black pepper to taste, and serve sprinkled with grated cheese.

Spaghetti carbonara

 

carbonara_tile

For 2 people:

  • Oil
  • 1 small pack of bacon lardons (these amounted to 8og (I cut mine up into even smaller pieces), or you could slice and dice 4 rashers of streaky bacon)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
  • 200g spaghetti (or you could use 4 handfuls of fusilli (it’s got a large surface area to take the thick sauce))
  • 3 large eggs
  • 120ml double cream
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a little oil in a large saucepan. add the bacon and gently cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the garlic and allow to cook for a further three minutes.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the cream and mix thoroughly. Then mix in the grated cheese and the black pepper.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and tip into the saucepan with the bacon and garlic. Mix well and gently heat. Add the egg mixture and stir constantly until the sauce has thickened, but not reached the ‘scrambled egg’ stage.

Add more black pepper if required and serve.

Pasta bake

Pasta_Bake-Tile

Made this the other night – enough for 2 (3 with a salad):

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (medium sized – roughly sliced)
  • 2 medium peppers (medium sized – cored and roughly sliced) – different colours will improve the look of the dish)
  • 1 chilli (deseeded and chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch of oregano
  • Black pepper
  • 3 handfuls of ‘chunky’ pasta
  • 100g mature cheddar (grated)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, peppers, chilli and garlic. Cook fairly gently for about 5 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Add the tomatoes, oregano and black pepper. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. When cooked drain and add to the tomato mixture. Stir in most of the grated cheese.

Turn into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for about 25 minutes. Alternatively, if you are using a microwavable dish, you could reheat it in the microwave and grill for about 2 minutes.

Penne with spinach and gorgonzola

Penne1-tile

A quick supper for two:
3 handfuls of dried penne (or other ‘chunky’ pasta)
2 tbsp pine nuts
100g gorgonzola (or dolcelatte, stilton or other blue cheese)
150ml double cream
200g fresh spinach
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook the penne in accordance with the instructions on the packet.
Toast the pine nuts (until they are golden) on a backing sheet under a grill (do not allow to burn – they will brown quite fast). Cut the gorgonzola into small pieces.
Wash the spinach and drain (if you have a ‘salad spinner’ use that to remove any excess water).
Once the penne is cooked, drain it.
Into the same saucepan (over a lower heat) put the cream and the gorgonzola. Stir to break up the gorgonzola (a balloon whisk is useful here).
When the cream mixture has boiled, add the penne and the pine nuts and stir to coat with the cream mixture.
Turn up the heat and add the spinach, stirring constantly (the spinach will cook in a few minutes – it is useful to use a very large saucepan as it is easier to stir in all the spinach at once).
Add black pepper to taste and serve immediately.