Category Archives: Pasta

Spaghetti Bolognese

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

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince (a bit less/more works just fine if you can’t get the exact weight)
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 2 tins of plum tomatoes 
  • 1x 200g tube of tomato puree
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dry basil
  • Dry oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  • Add the mince and use a whisk to break it up and remove any chunks. 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.
  • Season the mince with salt and pepper and add the red wine. About 100ml is fine.
  • Cook for about a minute to release the alcohol and then add the onions and garlic.
  • Cook for another 5mins or so to soften the onions then add the tomatoes. Break them up with a spoon/masher/knife if you want smaller chunks.
  • Add about half of the puree (you might need to add a bit more later), a dash Worcestershire sauce, a good sprinkle of basil and oregano – I’d say around a tablespoon of each.
  • Re-season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Turn down to simmer with a lid on for as long as you possibly can leave it. Minimum should be an hour but if you can leave it for hours, occasionally stirring it then even better.
  • 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, add a pinch of sugar to the sauce.
  • 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

Serves 2-4 people

Ingredients

  • 150g ‘Tipo 00’ flour (some supermarkets call it pasta flour)
  • 50g fine semolina
  • 2 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.

Method – hand

  • Mix the flour and semolina in a large bowl, then 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.

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

Chef’s tip: If you want to add a bit of spice to this, you can throw in a few slices of fresh chilli when you add the spinach.

Ingredients (serves 2 people)

  • 3-4 rashers of smoked bacon
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped
  • 50g fresh spinach
  • 500ml milk
  • 150-200g spaghetti/linguine
  • 60-70g green pesto

Method

  • In a large frying pan/wok/low sided large saucepan cook the bacon with some olive oil until crispy
  • Add the chicken to the pan and season well with salt, pepper and the garlic powder
  • Cook until all the pink in the chicken is gone and then remove the chicken, placing it in a bowl to the side (keep the bacon in the pan).
  • Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions are soft and brown
  • Add the spinach and once it’s wilted, add the milk
  • Bring it to the boil and then add the dry pasta.
  • Stir continuously for around 7-8 minutes, until the pasta is cooked (you may need to add more milk and cook for longer if using thicker pasta or wholewheat)
  • Mix the chicken back in and add the pesto
  • Serve and sprinkle generously with parmesan

Swedish Meatball Pasta

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 450g mince (beef or pork)
  • Half an onion, diced
  • Breadcrumbs (amount is subjective but around 30-40g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper

For the sauce:

  • 500ml beef stock (I use knorr which makes 490ml)
  • 500ml milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Approx 400g spaghetti/linguine/tagliatelle (or however much you’d make for 4 people).
  • Grated parmesan
  • 1/2 bunch chopped parsley

Method

  • In a large bowl, combine the mince, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Add the breadcrumbs gradually until the mixture is smooth and doesn’t fall apart if you try to make a meatball.
  • Roll the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and cook with a little oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan or wide large saucepan.
  • Add the beef stock, milk, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, and stir.
  • Bring the sauce to the boil then add the pasta.
  • Stir constantly for around 7-8mins (a bit longer if you use wholewheat pasta) until the pasta is cooked and coated with the sauce. You may find that you want to add a bit more milk if it thickens before the pasta is fully cooked.
  • Add a sprinkling of parmesan and the parsley and stir through.

Lasagne

Ingredients

Method

  • Make your bolognese
  • Make your white sauce
  • Add a layer of meat to your dish, followed by lasagne, then a layer of white sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan
  • Repeat meat, pasta, white sauce, parmesan until you get to the top which should be parmesan.
  • Cover with a double layer of foil and cook for the required time of the lasagne sheets (usually dry for around 30mins and fresh for 20mins).
  • Take the dish out of the oven, cover the top with mozzarella and cook until cheese is melted and browning on top.

Creamy Chicken Pasta

This is sort of my twist on a carbonara. It’s creamy and delicious 🙂

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken breast (or 2 small)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Half a red chilli (or half a teaspoon of chilli powder) – this is optional to add a bit of spice but you can leave it out
  • 2 slices of smoked bacon
  • 100ml white wine – drink the rest of the bottle with the food 😉
  • 200ml cream (single or double, whichever your prefer)
  • 200g spaghetti
  • Parmesan to serve

Optional Extras

  • Try adding some red or green pesto after the cream.
  • Try adding a squidge of tomato puree before the cream.
  • Try adding a handful of spinach just before the cream.

Method

  • Get a large frying pan on a medium heat with some olive oil.
  • Get everything prepped so that you’re ready to get cooking. Chop your onion, mince or chop your garlic, chop the chilli into tiny pieces, slice the bacon into small strips and dice your chicken.
  • Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft and starting to brown.
  • Add the garlic and chilli to cook for 1 minute. Don’t let the garlic brown.
  • Add the bacon and stir until it’s cooked.
  • Now add your chicken with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and stir it around.
  • At this point, put a pan of water on to boil for spaghetti if you’re using dried. Cook as you normally would while doing the rest.
  • Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the wine and turn the heat down a bit so it can simmer for 5-10mins. This will allow the alcohol to cook away and leave you with the flavour.
  • If you are using fresh pasta, get it going now.
  • Now turn the pan down to a low heat and add your cream. Make sure you don’t add the cream until the pan has cooled down a bit or it will go lumpy.
  • Drain your pasta and add it to the pan. You can turn the heat off at this point as it will stay hot enough.
  • Serve and sprinkle with parmesan 🙂