Pasta

Week 87: Bloody Mary Linguine

Just when you thought I had stirred everything possible into a pan of linguine I bought a new book and found that Gordon Ramsey has mixed dinner with breakfast in a most delightful way.  When I saw it I immediately thought of my friend in the country who drinks in the morning.

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Week 58: Aglio Dorato – Garlic & Tomato Sauce

So here’s a turn up for the books – this week I had my 5000th viewer – which is pretty darn impressive for a year of slightly burned food and bad smells. So thank you for visiting, and coming back for more, it’s great – and to celebrate I will tell you all about the really horrible  meal I cooked at the weekend…

I was pretty intrigued by the concept of a ‘jazzed-up tomato sauce’, I’ve almost made this recipe before, but it takes a bit too long to make after work so it’s waited until now.  I liked the idea of being able to keep the sauce for a few weeks in the fridge, which would be ideal for later work nights.

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To feed two people you will need: 200g spaghetti, 250ml olive oil (yes really) 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes (squash them in a colander until you’ve just got pulp – like in the tomatoey pasta), 10 cloves of garlic (peeled but left whole), and salt and pepper to season.

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Gently heat the oil in a small pan for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic when the oil is warm.  The book says to keep the heat low so that the oil doesn’t spoil. I’m not entirely sure that this isn’t where I went wrong; my hob is a bit of a flamethrower!  After 20 minutes check the garlic cloves are really tender (give them another 10 minutes if they’re not) and then carefully add the squashed up tomatoes. Turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

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Take the pan off the heat and cool for about 10 minutes.  Transfer the mix to your trusty  food processor and blend into a smooth emulsion.  It’s a little tricky because I found that almost immediately the sauce separated into oil and not-oil which turned out to be a nuisance when it came to the next bit.  Cook the pasta like how it says on the packet, and then drain it really briefly so it’s still a little dampened return it to the cooking pan and add 4-5 table spoons of the sauce and give it a toss.

Serve with Parmesan, and pour the rest of the sauce into a thingie and put it in the fridge.

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I wasn’t entirely sure what to think about this, I thought the garlic seemed very subtle, maybe too subtle for my bawdy palette – and then my lover put his fork down and said “it’s just a load of tasteless oil”

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That was me told. It wasn’t very nice, and even the next day when I poured off a bit of the oil and it was more tomatoey it just tasted a bit ‘crisp-n-dry-ish’. Also, I was slightly worried about Botulism from the garlicky oil, but it’s been a few days and nothing’s developed.

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There could have been loads of things I did wrong, like not using good enough oil or not garlicky enough garlic, or it might have been too hot, but it wasn’t very tasty so I don’t think I’ll make it again.  Oh well!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love

Week 35: Spaghetti and Tinned Plum Tomatoes

I know, it sounds like something from the menu at a motorway service station in 1987, but bear with me as it is possibly the tastiest meal I have cooked this year.

It’s the first recipe in the Cupboard Love book, and I’ve always swished straight past it to find something harder and more exotic; but this week I needed to cook something from what was in the cupboard (approximately nothing except for cornflour and a load of spices) after getting home late from work.

I was intrigued to try it after seeing a couple of programs on Food Network singing the praises of tinned tomatoes, so I thought this recipe would be the best one to see what the fuss was about.

To make this for two you will need: 200g spaghetti/linguine, a 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes (posh ones if you like), 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons butter, 1 quarter teaspoon salt, 1 half teaspoon sugar, 2 garlic cloves, and some basil or sage leaves (but I didn’t have any)

First start the water boiling for the pasta, and while you wait get a colander / strainer (but not a sieve) and empty the tin of tomatoes into it.  Squash the tomatoes with your hands and mush them around until the juice has gone down the sink and you’re left with a tomato-ey pulp.

If you’re as clumsy as I am, you’ll also be left with a tomato splattered kitchen.  If you squeeze the tomatoes too hard they’ll squirt juice and pips everywhere, and your kitchen will look like the aftermath of the Red Wedding.  I’m still finding pips.

By the time you have wiped the worst of it off the kitchen window, the water should have come to a rolling boil, put the pasta in, and gently heat a heavy bottomed frying pan.  Add the oil and one teaspoon of butter, peel and break the garlic with the side of a knife/rolling pin.  When the butter has melted put the garlic in the frying pan and heat for 2 minutes, but not so the garlic goes brown.

Add the tomatoes, give it a good stir, then add the salt and sugar, and stir again.

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Leave the sauce on the gentle heat, fizzing but not bubbling (it’s hard to describe but pretty accurate) while the pasta finishes cooking.  When it’s done drain the pasta then return it to the pan and stir it round with a teaspoon of butter. Then tip the tomato sauce in, stir round, season and serve.  I had a bit of parmesan in the the fridge, so I grated it over the top and it was bloody lovely.

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If there was one meal I could eat day after day it would be this.  I’ll just paint my kitchen red.  Try it tonight!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

cupboard love

Week 30: Pasta alla Genovese

I know its a bit of a cop out, but my brain dribbled out of my ear as I chewed on the ears of my seventeenth Lindt bunny, so I chose this recipe purely because it was green.

Green just like the spring haha.  I have never cooked with Pesto before, or said the words “Ooo its got pesto in, I’ll have that”, so I thought it would be good to try something new.  And it meant I got to use the machine again…

Vroom!

As I read the ingredients list, I thought about getting garlic bread so I could pack all the carbs into one dish, but decided that the pasta and potatoes would be enough on their own.

To make this for 4 you will need: 500g floury potatoes (like King Edwards, cut up into half inch chunks), 500g linguine, 200g fine beans, 100g basil leaves, 100g grated Parmesan, 1 garlic clove, 100ml olive oil, and 100ml extra virgin olive oil.

You will need a large pan, filled with enough salted water to boil the potatoes and the pasta.  Put the potato chunks in and bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes.

Add the pasta and boil for the length of time recommended on the packet and four minutes before the end, then throw in the beans.  Note: if you are using fresh pasta, boil the potatoes for 28-30 minutes and then put the beans in, put the pasta in so it will be cooked when everything else is done… use dried pasta.

Nigella says that for this dish you need to make the pesto yourself, in a blender!  Vroom!  While the pan is on with the potato and pasta put the basil leaves, Parmesan, garlic and oil into the mixer and blitz it until it looks like pesto… which is really hard to photograph.

Take half a cup full of the cooking water from the pan and then drain the potatoes, pasta and beans.  Off the heat return them to the pan and stir in the pesto and the cooking water and serve immediately.

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I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong; it just didn’t really taste of anything.  My friend suggested that I’d not salted the water enough (I had) and I thought maybe my Parmesan wasn’t flavour-full enough.  While it smelled amazing and looked devine it was pretty bland so I don’t know if I’ll make it again.

And I still don’t totally see what all the fuss is about with pesto!

 

Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus 2010, ISBN 9780701184605)

Nigella Kitchen

Week 27: Sapori Forti

So I slightly burned this the first time round, so I had another crack at it!

It’s been a couple of months since I tried something new from my trusty Cupboard Love book, and as my lover pointed out: a while since I’ve stirred something different into some pasta.  Sapori Forti translates as Strong Flavours, and I’d been glancing at the recipe in a quizzical fashion ever since Week 9 (http://wp.me/p42Dr4-T) and when this week’s New Recipe Night crept up on me I realised I had everything in the cupboard!

To make Sapori Forti for two you will need: 200g pasta (linguine or spiralli), 1 onion (thinly sliced), 2 garlic cloves, 4 or 5 anchovy fillets, 50g black olives, 1 tbs capers, 50g raisins, 1 tbs pine nuts, 1 tbs chopped mint/oregano and some extra virgin olive oil.

First up, pop the raisins in a bowl in some warm water; while these are plumping up finely chop the onion, chop the garlic, roughly chop the capers and the olives and measure out the tablespoon of pine nuts (because you’ll only forget them later, like I did)

Heat 2tbs of normal olive oil in a fairly wide pan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 or 10 minutes until really softened (keep stirring, but a bit of browning is OK).   Set your pasta water boiling in a different pan.

When the onion is really soft turn the heat down and add the anchovies, cook until they disintegrate and melt into the onions.  While this is melting, put your pasta into the water and cook as recommended on the packet (if you’re the sort to make your own pasta or buy that posh fresh pasta that cooks really quickly, don’t do this for a few more minutes)

After the anchovies are cooked add the olives, capers, raisins, pine nuts and herbs and remove the pan from the heat.  Give it all a good stir and add the extra virgin olive oil, it sort of loosens up and the oil picks up the combined flavours.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pan – fold the sauce around the pasta and serve.

So the first time I tried it I somehow blackened it to a crisp – without actually burning it – but it tasted so good I had a second bash at it, with new less charred pictures.  I’m glad I did it’s one of the tastiest things I’ve made!  Open your copy of Cupboard Love to page 28 and have it tonight!

 

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

Week 18: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Spaghetti like a whore would make; and I’m just the Putta to give it a whirl.

This recipe comes from the book to accompany my guilty pleasure cooking program on Food Network.  Nadia G’s Bitchin Kitchen.  Imagine my surprise when Santa bought me the book to go with series one this Christmas!

Bitchin Kitchen

I’ll admit, the first time I saw it I thought I was hallucinating and once I’d remembered I was sober I realised it was brilliant. However I found that none of my other friends had seen it, or weren’t fans.  The philistines.  I was overjoyed to see that the first recipe I ever saw was in the book (I can’t think why it wouldn’t be) and I chose to christen this new book with it.

The recipe uses Spaghetti (I use linguine) cherry tomatoes, anchovy fillets, capers, kalamata olives, garlic, olive oil, chilli flakes, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  I love how exact the recipe is, requiring 26 tomatoes.  All the ingredients are ones that are long lasting (except the tomatoes which last about nine minutes if you buy them from Sainsbury’s) and this is an ideal recipe for the end of the week before shopping day.

I would love to find kalamata olives sold ready pitted in jars, so I can sashay over to my cupboard and make it without having to remember to go to the deli counter – I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled, or maybe try it with black olives…?

Everything went in ok,  the tomatoes stewed into a nice light sauce.  I’d never bought/seen/cooked with capers before, and I was surprised how small they are, and how fiddly they were to chop.  I’ve worked out how to do it now though without loosing any fingers.  They get chucked in with the olives and before the pasta for the last 5 minutes.

The first time I made it it was a little too al dente; mostly because the timings are for spaghetti rather than linguine, but I made a note for next time.

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It was lovely.  I thought it probably would be because I really like the Linguine with Sardines and Anchovies I made back in week 9 (https://newrecipenight.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/week-9-linguin…es-and-parsley – and still make most weeks) it was spicier and saltier than I thought, but that doesn’t make it bad.  It was also a great recipe to christen my tongs (which I bought after burning myself on the lamb lollipops) and it has spurred me to buy a mini sieve (because it just seems silly straining capers in a full sized one)

I will definitely try more recipes from this book, once I’ve finished gazing at the pictures of Hans.  Shkoff!!

Nadia G’s Bitchin Kitchen Cookbook, by Nadia Giosia (Skirt! 2009. ISBN 978-1-59921-441-2)

Week 9: Linguine with Sardines, Anchovies and Parsley

Don’t laugh:  My Lover is scared of fish.  No, really.

As a result, I have never cooked a piece of fish that wasn’t either: covered in batter or breadcrumbs, and shaped like a finger.

He’ll eat fish, but it can’t look like fish – i.e. it shouldn’t really have bones, can’t have skin and mustn’t have a head… which sort of narrows it down.

I found this recipe in the Cupboard Love book, I think the bit that attracted me was that the fish gets cut up really small, and then mashed… No way that bad boy’s going to look like a fish.

To feed two people you will need: 200g Linguine or Spaghetti, 1 garlic clove, 3 anchovy fillets, half a teaspoon of crushed chilli (I use chilli flakes – it might be the same), the juice of half a lemon, 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1 tin of sardines in olive oil, salt and pepper, parsley to finish (I did this once, then never again – its messy)

Step one, finely chop the garlic clove and the anchovy fillets – you don’t have to de-bone the fillets because they’ll dissolve in the lemon juice, but I get the ones that poke out.  Once chopped put them in a bowl with the chilli, lemon juice and olive oil, and leave it for about half an hour.

After about twenty minutes boil your pasta water and drain the sardines.  Cook the pasta as directed on the packet, as soon as the pasta is in the pan put the sardines in the bowl and mush it up with a fork.  It should now look slightly like cat food:

Yum.  Drain the pasta, then stir the ‘sauce’ in with the pasta in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and serve with.

sardines linguine

It was really easy to make, and it’s very, very tasty.  I’d never had sardines or anchovy before, so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect – but I’m really glad I took the dive and gave it a go.

It takes about five minutes to cut everything up – and then about half an hour to infuse, with the pasta cooking  in 10 minutes . A perfect  dinner for after work.  I’ve made it two more times and not made any alterations to the recipe.

Try it tonight!

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

Week 5: Penne with Gorgonzola and Walnuts

Week 5!

After the success of Burger Night I thought I’d try another pasta dish, so out came the Cupboard Love book again.  I love a bit of stinky French Cheese, so I was hoping for beautiful things from this dish.

Maybe I didn’t get the right Gorgonzola, but it just didn’t taste how I thought it would – it was very rich but just lacked any real flavour (other than the sage) but I think it would be good with a big chunk of meat…

pasta gorgonzola

The recipe says that I can “up the ante tastewise… by adding a sprig of thyme or a scant grating of nutmeg”.  If I try making it again I might try that, and less/no sage – but I don’t know if I’ll make it again.

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)

Week 1. Pasta with Eggs and Bacon (Carbonara)

For my first New Recipe Night I decided to make something quick.

One of the key reasons I introduced New Recipe Night was to find tasty new meals to make during the week, rather than spending all night on dinner.

cupboard love

I first bought Cupboard Love for my mother, mostly because I thought she’d like the idea of making simple but tasty meals from things in your larder.  She wasn’t keen and I don’t think she’s ever actually used it.  I got my copy about six months’ later from a charity shop, and it’s one of the few books I own that I’d actually cooked from… but only two recipes!

The first recipe chapter is Pasta, and that’s where I decided to start.  At the bottom of page 25 is a recipe called Pasta with Egg and Bacon (Carbonara) The recipe says “The speed and ease with which this meal comes together is something I’ve never managed to get blase about.  Make it tonight.” so I did.

I won’t lie to you, I was surprised at how quickly it was ready.  One moment the pasta was boiling and I was stirring egg yolks and frying bacon, the next I was stirring everything into the drained pasta and it was off to the table.  Wham!

pasta eggs and bacon

It was very very tasty.  It was a little richer than I’m used to; which is unsurprising considering the amount of egg yolks and butter and cheese that go into it… but I would definitely make it again.

The only downside to the recipe is it requires three egg yolks for two servings – and I didn’t like to waste the whites so I ended up hand-whisking meringues at 9pm… but on spare-yolks-day I would not hesitate to make this for a quick lunch/dinner.

Cupboard Love by Tom Norrington-Davies (Hodder & Stoughton 2005 ISBN 0 340 83525 5)