Category Archives: Pasta

Authentic Italian Carbonara

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 250-300g giuanciale or smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 150-180g spaghetti
  • 1 egg
  • 20g parmesan + some for serving

Method

  • Add the bacon to a large cold frying pan and then put it on a medium-high heat to render out the fat
  • Boil your water and add the spaghetti, cook al dente (don’t remove it from the water, you’ll use it straight away!)
  • Bash the garlic clove to break it open and add to the hot pan with the bacon, stirring occasionally
  • Add the black pepper
  • In the mean time, whisk the egg in a bowl with 20g of parmesan
  • The bacon should be dark and crispy when the pasta is done.
  • Scoop the spaghetti straight from the water into the pan and transfer splashes of water to stop the frying process.
  • When it’s gone quiet, remove from the heat and toss in the egg mixture – be quick so it doesn’t scramble on the bottom of the pan
  • Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan on top

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Serves 4

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 500g beef or pork mince (or a mix)
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 75g breadcrumbs

Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or put through a press
  • Bunch of fresh basil – pick all the big leaves and leave a few small ones for garnish
  • Half a red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

  • Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a blender or scrunch by hand
  • Make golf ball sized meatballs and set aside
  • Add a large wide frying pan to the hob on a medium heat
  • Cook the onion for 5-7mins until golden and soft
  • Add the garlic and chill, and as soon as they pick up a bit of colour, add the big basil leaves
  • Add the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon
  • Add the balsamic vinegar
  • Season to taste
  • Bring to the boil and let simmer until needed
  • In a new pan, fry off the meatballs until browned on all sides, and then add them to simmer in the sauce until cooked through (min 15mins).
  • Cook your preferred pasta and serve with mini basil on top

Best Ever Macaroni Cheese

Serves 4. Great with garlic bread on the side.

Ingredients

  • 350g macaroni pasta
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1tsp English mustard
  • 3tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 250g mature cheddar
  • 50g parmesan

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Boil the pasta for 2mins less than the cooking time, and drain
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan (slightly bigger than the pan to fit the pasta)
  • Add the garlic and mustard, and cook for 1 minute
  • Stir in the plain flour
  • Cook for 1 more minute, then slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking the whole time until the sauce thickens
  • Take it off the heat and stir in most of the cheddar, and half of the parmesan
  • Taste and season the sauce
  • Stir in the pasta and tip into an ovenproof dish
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake for 20mins or until golden on top

Sausage, fennel and red wine risotto

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Olive oil
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • 1 litre of chicken or veg stock
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 a bulb of fennel, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme (15g)
  • 250g quality sausages
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 250ml red wine
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 50g fontina or manchego or emmentaal, chopped into small pieces

Method

  • Simmer the stock
  • Put a large high sided pan on a medium heat with 1tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter
  • Once hot, add the onion and fennel, then strip the thyme leaves in as well.
  • Cook for a few minutes as it starts to soften.
  • Squeeze the sausages out of their skins and add to the pan. As they start to cook, break them up into small pieces.
  • Cook for 10mins, stirring occasionally
  • Add the rice and stir for 2mins
  • Add the wine and stir until absorbed
  • I tend to turn the heat down a little at this point
  • Now add the stock a ladleful at a time, letting each one cook away and absorb before adding more.
  • Make sure you are constantly stirring or it will stick
  • Do this for around 16-18mins, until the rice is cooked but retains its shape (you might not use all of the stock)
  • Add a final splash of stock to make it oozy, then add most of the grated Parmesan (save some for serving) and stir in with a knob of butter
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking
  • Remove from the heat and add the second cheese, cover the pot for a few mins and let the cheese melt
  • Mix it all up and serve with some thyme tips and Parmesan garnish

Filling for Butternut Squash Ravioli

Makes enough to fill about 30-35 small ravioli

Ingredients

  • 350g peeled and chopped butternut squash (2cm cubes)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 15-20g pecorino/grana padano cheese
  • Ground nutmeg/ground cinnamon

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6
  • Place the butternut squash in a large bowl with about 2stp olive oil, season with salt and pepper, mix it up.
  • Tip the pieces onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 18-20mins.
  • Meanwhile, add the onion slices to the bowl used to season the squash. Drizzle another teaspoon of olive oil and season to taste.
  • Once the butternut squash has had 20mins, sprinkle the onion slices over it and cook for another 10mins.
  • Leave it to cool for 5mins and then tip it into a high sided bowl. Blend it into a puree with a hand blender.
  • One completely cool, stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I also like to add a dash of ground cinnamon.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves 4-6 people.
Chef’s tip: Make this at least 3 hours before you plan on eating it. The flavours will develop the longer you leave it.

Ingredients

  • 500g beef mince (a bit less/more works just fine if you can’t get the exact weight)
  • 100ml(ish) red wine
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1/2 a celery stick, diced super small
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped (use 1 tsp dried if you haven’t got fresh)
  • 2 tins of plum tomatoes (chopped tomatoes are also fine)
  • 100g tomato puree
  • 1/2 beef stock cube (optional but delicious)
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dry basil
  • Dry oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the mince and use a whisk to break it up and remove any chunks. Season the mince with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the mince until all of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is starting to brown/stick to the pan (don’t worry, it will come off). This will take your bolognese to another level of flavour.
  • Add the red wine and cook for about a minute to release the alcohol, then add the onion, garlic, celery and rosemary.
  • Cook for another 5-10mins or so to soften the onions
  • Add the tomatoes. Break them up with a spoon/masher/knife if you want smaller chunks.
  • Take one of the tins and fill it 2/3 with water, and add that to your sauce.
  • Add the half stock cube, the puree (you might need to add a bit more later), a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and a good sprinkle of basil and oregano – I’d say around a tablespoon of each.
  • Add a good pinch of sugar.
  • Re-season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Turn down to simmer with a lid on for at least an hour, longer if possible and occasionally stirring it. Ideally you want time to be able to turn it off, let it cool and start it up again when you make your pasta.
  • Taste it every time you stir and see if you need to add any more seasoning/puree.
  • When you put your water on to boil for the pasta (in salted water), add a pinch of sugar to the bolognese sauce to really bring it all together.
  • Serve with your choice of pasta and maybe some garlic bread 😉

Slow-Cooked Duck Ragu

Serves 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2x duck legs (use 4 legs for 4 people or a whole duck cut into pieces)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 125ml red wine
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • A spring of fresh thyme (optional)
  • 1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 250ml hot vegetable stock
  • Parmesan to serve

Method

  • Place a large high sided frying pan over a high heat. Add the duck pieces, season with salt and seal on all sides.
  • Finely chop the onion, celery and carrot.
  • Pour the wine into the pan and quickly put a lid on it as it will spit fiercely.
  • Leave it to bubble for a minute, then add the chopped vegetables and herbs.
  • Reduce to a medium heat and fry for 10mins, or until softened.
  • Add the cinnamon, tomatoes and stock, and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Top up with more stock if needed.
  • Remove the duck to a plate and discard the herbs from the sauce. Keep it warm on a low heat.
  • Shred the duck meat and stir it back into the ragu.
  • Cook your pasta (pappardelle works really well with this) and then add to the ragu.
  • Serve with grated parmesan

Sage and Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 100g salted butter
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 70ml vegetable stock
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Add the butter and sage to a pan over a medium heat
  • Allow the butter to melt and just start to bubble
  • Add the stock and let it bubble for a couple of minutes
  • Add your pre-cooked pasta to the sauce and stir in the parmesan until it’s nice and creamy

Authentic Bologna Bolognese

Gennaro Contaldo’s recipe, goes perfectly with my fresh pasta

Ingredients

  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2tbsp puree
  • 900ml-1ltr beef stock

Method

  • Heat 2-3tbsp olive oil in a high sided frying pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the mince, season with salt and pepper, and use a whisk to break it all up. It will stick to the pan at first but it will come off as it cooks.
  • Cook for 5mins, then add the rosemary sprig
  • Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the meat is brown and golden
  • Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute
  • Add the vegetables and stir, then add the puree. Let this cook for 2-3mins.
  • Add the beef stock and stir.
  • Turn down to a low simmer and cook for around 90mins or until it’s thickened up.
  • Serve with your choice of pasta 🙂

Fresh Pasta Dough

The rule for this recipe is 1 egg per 100g of flour. Around 300g makes enough for 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 300g ‘Tipo 00’ flour (some supermarkets call it pasta flour)
  • 3 large eggs

Method – mixer

  • Assemble the mixing attachment, add all of the ingredients and mix on a low speed (2-3) until it forms a ball of dough.
  • If it’s struggling, add a tiny dash of water.
  • Swap the mixer for the dough hook attachment and use a low speed to knead the dough for 5-10mins.
  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and rest it for at least 30mins.
  • When ready, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out the dough super thin and cut it as required.

Method – hand

  • Add the flour to a large bowl and make a well in the middle
  • Break the eggs into the well
  • With a fork or your hands, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs until well mixed
  • Knead (stretch and roll) until it’s a soft smooth dough
  • Wrap in clingfilm and rest it for at least 30mins.
  • When ready, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll out the dough super thin.