Bacon aspargus and tomato penne

Bacon aspargus and tomato penne

Fantastic pasta sauce

Fantastic pasta sauce

Rummaging around in the fridge last night and trying to decide what to make I settled on a pasta sauce that turned out to be incredibly good. We had it with penne but it would be good for any pasta. Double it or triple it, it’s very easy and leaves next to no mess in the kitchen.(for 2 people)

What you need

200g dry penne
125g mushrooms chopped small (1/2 a punnet)
100g bacon chopped
100g asparagus tips (heaped palm of 2 to 3cm pieces)
250g tomato, basil, garlic and oregano mix (In a tin, this was a MIAMI product)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
Olive oil

The process

Put your pasta on to boil in a large pot of salted water.

In a pan with a little oil, fry your bacon for about 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook until they are beginning to brown on the edges, toss in your asparagus tips and cook for about another 3 minutes or so tossing from time to time.

Now add your tomato mix and chicken stock, mix it up, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. The liuid should reduce by about 1/3.

Add the butter and a good grind of black pepper, stir and allow the butter to melt and thicken the sauce a little.

By this stage your pasta should be ready, drain it and add it to the sauce.

Toss it to coat all of the pasta in the sauce and serve with grated parmesan, crisp bread and some sliced tomato with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes.

Simple and really tasty pasta recipe.

Caesar pasta salad

Caesar pasta salad

Caesar Pasta salad

Caesar Pasta salad

It has been so hot the last few days that I thought it time for something really delicious and perfect for the heat. Use this Ceasar Pasta salad as it is or add a little chicken and always use plenty of parmesan shavings. You can also add your other favorite salad items like baby corn.. you get the idea, make it to your taste. The dressing is the most important part of this recipe and you must not leave anything out or it just aint right. You need a hand blender or blender of some sort. (4 people)

What you need

200g shell pasta cooked (get the largest shells you can find)
1/2 pack, 125g bacon chopped and cooked
1 Cos lettuce
2 hard boiled eggs quartered
2 small avocados chopped
Parmesan shaved with a potato peeler

Dressing

1 egg
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon mustard (granular)
3/4 cup olive oil
8 small anchovy fillets

The process

Make the Caesar dressing by adding all of the ingredients except the oil to your belnder and whizzing until smooth. Then start adding the oil in a constant stream while blending until it thickens up.

Make up your salad ripping the lettuce into bite size pieces, add the bacon, pasta shells and avocado then toss. Now add the eggs, drizzle over the dressing and shave a whole heap of parmesan over the top.

If you are using chicken toss it in with the avocado.

It’s a beautiful thing…

For a really fantastic change add 2 cooked chicken breasts that have been chopped up for a fabulous, chicken caesar pasta salad.

Quatro Fomaggi pasta sauce

Quatro Fomaggi pasta sauce

Quatro Formaggi sauce

Quatro Formaggi sauce

This is a classic 4 cheese sauce that goes best with Gnocchi in my opinion but is great with Tagliattelle or Fettuccine as well, it makes each little gnocchi glisten and say eat me! It’s very rich and is one of the all time classic Italian pasta sauces that takes about 15 minutes from start to table.  There is a Gnocchi recipe here or you can buy the pre made gnocchi from Woolies or a good Italian deli. Checkers has a really good selection of cheeses so for Fontina, which is sometimes hard to find try Checkers.(Good for 4 hungry people)

What you need

1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (its about 45 grams)
75g Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup grated Fontina cheese (can be substituted with another white cheese)
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup milk
625g Gnocchi

The process

Put your Gnocchi on to cook according to the instructions on the pack or prepare your Gnocchis first according to this gnocchi recipe.

In a pot on a medium high heat, add the wine and allow to boil for about 3 minutes to reduce by about 1/3.

Reduce heat to medium, add the mascarpone and stir to a smooth shiny texture. Now add the rest of the cheeses and the milk and stir until all of the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.

Add your sauce to the cooked gnocchi and toss to coat each piece with the sauce.

Grind a little pepper over the top and you are in heaven I tell you.

Take a look at these pasta recipes.

Brie and Walnut pasta

Brie and Walnut pasta

Brie and walnut penne

Brie and walnut penne

I have been on a pasta mission lately but got tired of tomato flavours and while I love simple pasta flavours like the penne arrabiata or penne with butternut this pasta recipe breaks the mould. It has brie, walnuts and mushrooms in it and gave me just what I was looking for, a rich complex taste that sent everyone back for more. It only takes about 20 minutes to make, what more could you ask for. (4 or 5 people)

What you need

1 teaspoon crushed garlic
200g mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon seed mustard
500ml cream
200g brie cheese chopped up
1 cup broken toasted walnuts
Chives or parsley chopped

2/3 bag dry penne or about 350g
Olive oil

The process

To toast walnuts, place the broken walnuts in a hot dry non stick pan and toss around until you smell the nutty aroma, simple.

While you are preparing the sauce, place your pasta in a large pot of salted water and cook to al dente, drain.

In a pan on a medium to high heat add a little oil and cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes or so until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned on the edges.

Now add the wine and cook until about 1/3 of the wine has evaporated.

Now add the cream and mustard and stir constantly until the sauce thickens a little. As the sauce cools it will thicken up more.

Thats it, combine the cooked pasta and the sauce together with the Brie and toasted walnuts in the pasta pot, toss around to coat the pasta and then transfer to a serving bowl.

Gnocchi supreme recipe

Gnocchi supreme recipe

Gnocchi

Gnocchi

I just love Gnocchi and this recipe has a creamy vegetarian sauce that I often add small chicken pieces or chicken mince to if I want some extra substance. The sauce is quite extraordinary with the pine nuts flavor really adding some depth to it. It’s a very simple recipe to put together if you are using store bought gnocchi but if you really want to go the whole hog, tru this gnocchi recipe and make the whole dish from scratch, there is something quite therapeutic about making gnocchi and the sense of achievement is wonderful, let alone the awe your friends and family will regard you with when you tell them you made the gnocchi as well. (4 people)

What you need

750g cooked gnocchi
3/4 cup cream
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes (425g)
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes chopped (use the ones in oil and drain them)
1/2 cup black olives drained and chopped
500g chopped spinach (always wash even if it says washed)
1/2 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper

The process

First you want to toast the pine nuts by placing a pan on a medium to high heat, adding the pine nuts and letting them toast. Toss them around until they begin to brown and there is a beautiful aroma in the kitchen. remove them and set aside.

In a large pot add the cream, the whole tin of tomatoes with all of its juice and the garlic and bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 4 or 5 minutes allowing some of the fluid to evaporate. It will begin to thicken and you know that this is the time to add the sund dried tomatoes and olives. Let it simmer for another 2 or 3 mintes to heat everything through.

Taste it at this stage and season with salt and pepper.

Now add the cooked gnocchi, the spinach and the pine nuts to the sauce and allow to simmer until the spinach has wilted and heated through.

That is that, a fantastic Italian meal.

if you are using chicken in your dish, add cooked chicken that has been lightly salted with the sun dried tomatoes.

Roast tomato and chicken liver penne

Roast tomato and chicken liver penne

Penne ala fantastica

Penne ala fantastica

I have been on a bit of a chicken livers recipe mission lately since I had these incredible chicken livers and Prego steak roll at Espresso in Parkhurst last week. Their sauce is incredible, creamy and so morish you need every last chip piece of bread on the plate to scrape it up and then when you are done you feel so good yet so deprived. Anyway, this is something a little different that makes for a really tasty meal. (for 4/5 people)

What you need

500g penne
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1kg tomatoes, try to get the tomatoes that are egg shaped
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons sugar
750g chicken livers
½ pack bacon (125g) chopped
1 medium onion finely chopped
About 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

The process

Heat you oven to 220 Celius, cut the tomatoes in half and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Mix the oil and garlic together and drizzle over the tomatoes, pop in the oven, pour yourself a glass of wine and let them bake for about 45 minutes or so.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven, place them n a large bowl and mash them with a wooden spoon to form a rustic looking paste. Add the chicken stock and sugar and them give them a final mashing. You do want it to remain rustic looking so don’t get too carried away.

Now put your pasta on to cook in the largest pot you have with well salted water. The more water the better when cooking pasta.

While that’s boiling, rinse the chicken livers under running water and remove any fatty or sinewy bits. It’s easiest to use a pair of scissors, then cut then in half and set aside.

Cok the bacon in a pan until it is beginning to crisp up, add the onions and cook for about 1 minute, then add the livers and the rosemary cook, stirring every now and then until the livers are beginning to brown. Add the rustic tomatoes, stir it up and let it simmer for about 2 minutes or so or until the mixture is heated through.

By this time your pasta is done, drain, return to the pot and add the sauce. Toss it around to distribute your sauce and then into a serving dish.

Top off with fresh chopped parsley, a sprig of rosemary, a grind of black pepper and a few parmesan shavings.

Roast vegetable pasta

Roast vegetable pasta

Roast vegetable pasta

Roast vegetable pasta

Great pasta recipes are so good to have around, so print this one and keep it somewhere for anytime healthy pasta that is really so simple it could hardly be called cooking. When you roast vegetables it enhances the natural flavours which when combined with a few little extras is quite incredible. It’s a rustic vegetable pasta that even the most hardened meat eater will love.

What you need

3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 red peppers seeded and quartered
2 yellow peppers seeded and quartered
400g butternut roughly chopped
250g button mushrooms
500g dry spaghetti
handfull of coriander leaves ripped up
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
Parmesan cheese

The process

Put on your grill and get it really hot.

Place peppers on a baking tray skin side facing the grill and grill until the skin has blackened and blistered. remove from oven and place in a bowl, cover with cling film and let them sweat while you continue.

Reduce the heat to 200 Celsius and place the butternut on the tray, sprinkle with some of the olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Now open the oven and toss the mushrooms onto the tray, bake for another 10 minutes or so until mushrooms are soft.

Now put your pasta into the largest pot you have of vigorously boiling salted water to cook.

Take the peppers out of the bowl and slide off the blackened skins, it’s a bit messy but so therapeutic.

Chop them up roughly. Chop the butternut a bit smaller and combine all of the vegetables together, add the garlic, lemon juice, lemon rind and Olive oil and mix to combine the flavours.

When your spaghetti is ready drain and return to the pot, add the vegetable mixture along with the coriander leaves and toss it gently.

place in a serving bowl and grate or shave over a generous amount of Parmesan cheese.

This is seriously good. Here are the rest of the pasta recipes

Tuna pasta bake

Tuna pasta bake

Tuna pasta bake

Tuna pasta bake

This tuna pasta bake recipe is really fantastic. Don’t be put off by the milk flavoring process, it takes a few minutes but makes a huge difference to the flavor. This is another one of those recipes that should be printed and kept, it will feature regularly, is inexpensive to make and a really great tasting dish. You can use tinned tuna or tinned salmon. ( for 4 hungry people)

What you need

200g dry shell pasta (shells, twirly ones or even penne)
4/5 sprigs of parsley
1 small onion roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
8 black pepper corns
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons white wine or chicken stock
1 tablespoon granular mustard
450g tinned tuna or salmon
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs

The process

Cook your pasta in a large pot until al dente, drain and set aside.

In a pot on a medium to high heat, add the milk, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves and parsley and bring it to the boil. Remove from the stove and set aside with a lid on for about 5 minutes or so. Strain the milk into a bowl and toss out the onion and spices.

Now add the butter and flour to a large pot on a medium heat and whisk to make a roux, whick like crazy and don’t allow it to brown. Add the milk and onion mix you have just made gradually, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until the flour is completely dissolved and the mixture begins to boil and thicken.

Now mix in the wine or chicken stock and the mustard and combine well. Remove from heat, add the tuna and the pasta and mix well.

Place the mixture into an oven dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese that have already been mixed together and bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is browned.

Herbed Pasta-Tuna Bake on FoodistaIt’s a really delicious meal this one, serve with a salad. if you like this type of recipe, your will also love the Chicken and broccoli bake recipe.

Haloumi and asparagus pasta salad

Haloumi and asparagus pasta salad

Summer pasta salad

Summer pasta salad

As the weather warms up pasta salad are really quick and tasty meals that are perfect for summer days. I love grilled haloumi and this combination of haloumi, asparagus and avocado is just fantastic. Use whatever shell or shaped pasta you have in your cupboard but using bow ties or twirly shaped pasta just makes it look so much better and feasting with your eyes before it goes into your mouth is half the pleasure… (4 people)

What you need

250g pasta shells
600-700g asparagus steamed until just tender
400g Haloumi cheese sliced thinly
1 avocado sliced into bte size pieces
Rind of 1 lemon finely grated
Juice of 1 large lemon about 50ml
Olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Palm of other fresh herb like chives or basil ripped.

The process

Put your pasta on the boil according to the instructions on the pack and cook until done. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool down. leave it in a colander until you are ready.

Heat a pan to a medium heat with a little olive oil and cook the haloumi until browned on each side. Remove and set aside.

Now get a large bowl, add the pasta, haloumi, asparagus and avocado and toss with your hands.

In a separate bowl add 80ml of olive oil, the sugar, lemon rind, ripped chives and lemon juice and give it a whisk.

Pour over the pasta mixture and toss again to coat the mixture with the dressing.

Thats that, it’s really delicious and fresh, perfect for a summer lunch.

This smoked salmon pasta salad is a real winner as well.

Quick chicken pasta salad

Quick chicken pasta salad

Chicken pasta salad

Chicken pasta salad

This chicken pasta salad recipe is really great, the dressing has a really fresh and creamy flavour that makes it seriously morish. It’s a really simple recipe that you can make big batches of and add bits and pieces to it for a new adventure. I have added apples chopped into small pieces which was fantastic, a sprinkling of capers was good too, so be a little adventurous with it, walnuts for example, whatever grabs you. (4 people)

What you need

150g dry penne
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
4 spring onions sliced
2/3 celery sticks chopped

Dressing

1/3 cup cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, crushed with the back of a knife.
Juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of sugar

Pinch paprika

The process

Cook the pasta, rinse under cold water and set aside to cool.

Poach or steam the chicken, chop or slice into bite size pieces and set aside to cool.

Add all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to a creamy consistency. You can replace the peppercorns with capers but the peppercorns are a really great flavour.

Combine the chicken and pasta in a bowl(if you are adding anything else, add it now), pour over the dressing and toss to coat the chicken and pasta with the dressing. Add a pinch of paprika to each serving.

I’ve added this to cooking for one becuase it lasts well and you can have a whole lot of different flavored meals from this one dish.