Tag Archives: Pasta

Easy-Peasy Twirly-Wurly Chicken Pasta

This is an easy-peasy delicious evening meal. I’ve made it with unusual ‘twirly wurly’  coloured pasta which children love! There are no hard and fast ingredients as far as vegetable choice goes. I used five of my favourite – chopped and sliced – onion, leek, celery, garlic and Italian red pepper. Put 3 tablespoons of a good olive oil into a pan and add the vegetables apart from the garlic. Cook on a medium heat to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Add a ‘glug’ of white Vermouth and allow the flavours to combine – 5 minutes. At this point, I added the garlic and  some smoked lardons and the sliced chicken breasts (1 per person). Cook through thoroughly.  Boil the pasta. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the chicken/vegetable sauce. Take the pan off the heat and mix through a 100ml of cream. Serve with freshly chopped basil and flakes of Parmesan cheese. A great addition would be mushrooms! Alas, on this occasion I was cooking for children with an aversion to this delicious funghi! For the adults, I dizzled a little sweetened Balsamic vinegar. Simple and yummilicious!

 

 

 

Tiger Prawn Tagliatelle

I love prawns! Prawns, grilled, sauté, barbecued, sweet and sour prawns, prawn curry, prawn just about anything! The only thing I don’t like about prawns, is peeling them! It’s time consuming and yucky, mucky! But ……. every cloud has a silver lining and these prawns were certainly worth the effort. Creating a meal with with fresh raw prawns is so much better than buying cooked peeled prawns which are often tasteless and watery.

 

Prawn Tagliatelle

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of shell on raw prawns of a good size (serves 4 people)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 sweet Italian pepper, deseeded and cut into thin rounds
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sea salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup of Portuguese Moscatel wine or a semi sweet white wine
  • 200ml of cream
  • Fresh tagliatelle
  • Parsley to garnish

Directions:

  1. Peel and remove the vein that runs along the upper length of the prawn. Set aside.
  2. In a frying pan, add the olive oil and pan-fry the garlic, leek, celery and red pepper to soften. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Add the Moscatel or semi-sweet wine and continue to cook until the liquid reduces slightly.
  4. In the meantime, boil a pan of water and cook the tagliatelle.
  5. Add the cream to the mixture in the frying pan and combine thoroughly.
  6. Add the cooked prawns to the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  7. Drain the tagliatelle and serve into bowls. Top with the prawn sauce.
  8. Grind the sea salt and black pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Lasagne – loaded with lusciousness!!

This is my ‘queen’ of lasagnes! It is loaded with luscious fresh ingredients and it’s gluttonously good. It is rich, filling and wholesome and a great dish for those colder evenings; for ravenous teenagers returning home after school or something satisfying to look forward to after a long day at work, as it can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge.  I like to serve it with either a green salad or garden peas. Either way, it is always a welcome meal in our house. Alas, you won’t lose weight eating it, but sometimes – so what! It freezes really well, so I usually make up a large tray, cut it into portion sizes and freeze it for lazy days or when I don’t have time to prepare a meal from scratch. It is also much more healthy than buying pre-made lasagnes which are often loaded with chemicals and  preservatives. I can guarantee it will definitely be more tasty!

This is my quick ‘how to make’ in photos, followed by the recipe!

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Slice the aubergines and salt to drain the bitter juices.

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Pan fry the aubergines.

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Chop and pan-fry the ‘rainbow’ vegetables.

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Add the tomatoes and liquid ingredients.

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Cover with béchamel sauce and grated cheese. Bake!

This lasagne can also be made leaving out the meat. It contains so many vegetables and more can be added, such as spinach and courgettes. The variations are endless! With fresh sheets of pasta so easily available to buy in the supermarkets and given it can be made for the freezer, why buy a factory made version? Give it a go – it’s always fun to cook!

 

 

 

Lasagne!

Prep Time: 1 Hour Cooking Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 1 Hour 35 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil + additional for frying the aubergine slices.
  • 2 large aubergine, sliced
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 or 4 leeks, cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes chopped, or a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • A squeeze of tomato paste
  • 1kg of minced meat ( I use half beef and half pork)
  • a tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 4 sheets of fresh lasagne
  • 150g grated cheese
  • FOR THE BECHAMEL SAUCE: 60/70g of butter,1/3 cup plain flour, 4 1/2 cups of milk, 75g of parmesan cheese, finely grated, pinch of salt, pinch of nutmeg.

Directions:

  1. Salt the sliced aubergines and leave to sweat in a colander. This gets rid of the sour juices.
  2. Wash and dry off the aubergines.
  3. In a saucepan with olive oil, pan fry the aubergines, then set aside on kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil.
  4. In a large pan, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, leeks, peppers, tomatoes, celery.
  5. Add salt and pepper and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add the wine. Then, add the tomato paste and oregano. Simmer.
  6. Add the meat, and mix to combine all the ingredients – making sure the meats cook through.
  7. If the mixture has too much liquid, make up a paste of cornflour and water (as directed on the cornflour packet) to thicken.
  8. Set aside.
  9. Make the béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour. Keep stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until bubbling. Remove from the heat. Slowly add the milk, stirring until mixture is smooth  and then then return to the heat . Cook on for about 10 minutes, keeping the sauce lump free. Take off the heat and add the parmesan, salt and nutmeg.
  10. In a large oven dish, spoon in a layer of the meat mixture and dot over some of the aubergine slices. Add a layer of pasta, another layer of the meat mixture, a few aubergines, another layer of pasta, a layer of meat and then the last aubergines. Pour over the béchamel sauce. 
  11. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano.
  12. Bake in the oven at 180/190 degrees centigrade for 35 minutes.

Fish Pasta – Paulo’s recipe!

Last night we feasted heartily on two plump sea bass (see my previous post), but the quantity of meat yielded, meant that there was enough over for a recipe that I had wanted to try following a ‘foodie’ conversation with a young Portuguese waiter that works in the restaurant at our local golf club in Espiche. He is enormously enthusiastic about food and flavours and, for his young years (to me, anyone under 40 is young), he really knows his stuff! He recounted to me how he gained this knowledge and appreciation of food and flavour combinations while working alongside his mother and grandmother. It is unusual to find a young person these days with such a joyous passion for food and, therefore, I wanted to share his recipe!

Like many Portuguese recipes, it’s quite simple to prepare and therefore, simply healthy and delicious. Using fresh ingredients, the flavours marry together very well. I served a bowl to my son (photographed below) at lunchtime – he is always hungry – and he loved it! What a fabulous way to use up the leftovers! Thank you Paulo for the inspiration!

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“Hey Mum, I’m eating! Promise you won’t publish that photo!” – “Of course not, Jonathan!”

 

 

Paulo’s Portuguese Fish Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 500g (approx), white fish (cod) or salmon – baked and flaked
  • 500g Penne pasta (fresh is best) 
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • A good squeeze of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of Portuguese Moscatel Wine (or Vermouth)
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions:

  1. For this recipe, I used some sea bass that I had cooked the previous night. Any white fish or salmon fillet can be used. Just wrap in foil with butter and salt and bake for 15/20 mins at 180 degrees centigrade. Flake, removing any bones and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring salted water to the boil in preparation for the pasta.
  3. In a large frying pan add the olive oil, onion, pepper, garlic and tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, tomato paste and the Moscatel wine.
  4. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and the liquid reduces a little.
  5. While this is simmering, put the pasta into the boiling water and cook until soft.
  6. Gently mix the cooked fish into the sauce.
  7. Drain the cooked pasta and top with the fish sauce.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander and a squeeze of lemon. 
  9. Optional – a good twist of sea salt and ground pepper.