Smoked salmon pasta sauce

Smoked salmon pasta sauce

smoked salmon pasta sauce

smoked salmon pasta sauce

Every now and then I really NEED a good creamy pasta and this creamy smoked salmon pasta recipe hits all of the right spots. It’s decadent and is really simple to prepare. You can fancy this one up for guests very easily by putting a teaspoon of caviar or capers on top with a nice piece of fresh dill. The sauce doubles perfectly, so although this is for 2, just double for 4.

What you need

200g tagliatelle or spaghetti, about 1/2 a packet
5 slices smoked salmon, chopped, about 150g
100ml Fresh cream
1 small onion finely chopped
4 stalks chives finely sliced
2 teaspoons capers chopped
Juice of 1 lemons
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Black pepper

The process

In a large pot of salted water boiling furiously, cook the pasta until al dente and drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, take a pan on a medium heat with a little olive oil and cook the p[nions until soft and translucent. You want them soft but not browned.

Pour in the cream and stir, allow it to simmer and reduce by about 1/3. Stir it from time to time and ensure it does not boil, reduce the heat if necessary.

Remove from the heat, add the smoked salmon, chives and lemon juice, stir and then add your pasta to the sauce and mix to coat. Taste the sauce now and if it needs salt add some, you shouldn’t need any but depending on your salmon you may. If you are going to add capers add them now and do not add any salt.

Transfer to you plate, give it a good grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan.

That’s it, a fantastic meal in 20 minutes.

If you are a fan of creamy pasta sauces, try this chicken liver pasta, it’s fabulous.

BLT pasta salad

BLT pasta salad

blt-pasta-saladThis is a great pasta salad to have at a braai and the combination of bacon, spinach or lettuce and the salad dressing are just amazing. I had it at a braai recently and it featured on everyones mmmmmm scale. It makes a lot and was enough for 12 people as a salad dish which is perfect for a summer braai with mates.

What you need

500g shell pasta, uncooked
500g chopped bacon
1 1/2 cups creamy salad dressing
4 or 5 spring onions chopped
2 large tomatoes cubed
Large handful baby spinach leaves roughly chopped or shredded iceberg lettuce

The process

Cook the pasta in a very large pot of salted water until al dente. use shells, twirly ones or these are called rotelle. You want something that will hold the dressing and look good at the same time. Once done, drain well, add a knob of butter or a little lashing of olive oil, toss around and allow to cool in a salad bowl.

Place your bacon under the grill and cook on both sides until well done. Remove from the oven and cool on absorbent paper.

Break the bacon into smallish pieces and add to the cool pasta with all the rest of the ingredients and mix to coat the pasta with the creamy salad dressing. eave for about 1/2 an hour before serving so that the flavours blend.

Calzone

Calzone

calzone-recipeThis is a real classic pizza dough recipe that you should print and keep somewhere for future use. It requires a bit of effort and patience but if you follow it exactly, your pizza and calzone will turn out perfectly every time. I have tried a number of recipes and there is just no quick version that tastes anything like a real pizza.

What you need

Pizza dough

1 envelope dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water from the tap
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Fillings
Here you can go to town using all of your favorites from the fridge with mozzarella, cheddar and a few spoons of chopped peeled tomatoes.
Chicken, mushrooms and onions(cook them first to a light golden colour in a little olive oil). I have added cooked butternut and all sorts of things before, so send it.

The process

Dissolve the honey and the yeast in about 50ml of the warm water(not boiling)

Then in a large bowl, add the flour, salt, oil, the rest of the water and the honey mixture and mix with an electric mixture fitted with the dough hooks, for the unitiated those are the hooks that are twisted. Mix until the dough comes away from the inside of the bowl easily and seems to get stuck in the twists of the hooks. This is the sign you are looking for.

Now spread a little flour onto a clean surface, remove the dough from the bowl and knead for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it forms a smooth mound that is quite elastic.

Place a tiny bit of oil in a bowl and coat the inside of the bowl, place the dough into the bowl, cover with a slightly dampened cloth and allow to rise for about 1/2 an hour.

Lightly flour a surface again and divide the dough into equal portions. Knead each ball by stretching it and then tucking the edges into the bottom and patting the edges to form a ball again. You need to do this about 6 times for each ball.

Now place the kneaded and smooth balls on a tray and cover with a damp cloth again to rest for another 20 minutes or so.

Hey, hey, it’s finally pizza time.

Heat your oven to very hot, about 250 Celsius.

Roll out each piece into a round that is no thicker than 2 or 3mm, fill the one half with your favorite filling, making sure you have left an edge of about 1cm, fold over the filling and give it a little stretch then press the edges together firmly, stretch and fold to create a seal. Twist the ends to ensure they are closed tightly.

Place on a baking tray, lightly brush with a little olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes in the center of the oven or until golden brown.

Remember that you can keep[ the dough for 2 days or so once left to rise the second time. Simply wrap in cling film and into the fridge.

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If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make pizza type food, just get a packet of puff pastry, place in an oiled baking tray, fold over a 1cm edge, prick the base with a fork and add your ingredients, then place in a 200 Celsius oven till the crust is golden. It’s not the same but a good alternative when time is an issue.

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Chicken broccoli bake

Chicken broccoli bake

chicken-broccoli-casserole

Chicken Broccoli bake

This is a really great meal that is truly effortless. You can quite easily add all sorts of things to it like extra mushrooms or bacon pieces. It is serious comfort food and being a fan of broccoli, this one is a keeper for me. (serve 4 hungry people)

What you need

300g shell pasta
3 or 4 Boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tin cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon mustard
2 cups broccoli florets (break them up quite small)
Black pepper
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs

The process

Poach the chicken breasts in slightly salted water for about 10 minutes until cooked through and then either shred using 2 forks to pull apart or cut into smallish cubes.

Boil your pasta in salted water until al dente and drain

Boil or steam the broccoli until cooked, you don’t want them soft, there should still be some crunch in them and drain.

In a bowl add the shredded chicken, broccoli florets, cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise and mustard and combine. Season with black pepper.

In a casserole dish, add the cooked pasta and cover with the chicken and broccoli mixture. Use 2 spoons to mix gently, much like tossing a salad.

Cover with the grated cheese and breadcrumbs and place in a 200 Celsius oven for about 20 minutes or so until the cheese toping is golden brown.

It’s easy to make for many people and served with an easy dessert like sticky toffee pudding using a bought cake couldn’t be simpler to please a whole load of people.

Mushroom and ricotta canneloni

Mushroom and ricotta canneloni

canneloni

Canneloni

This was so tasty and really quite simple. Not having used canneloni shells before, it was a bit of an experiment that turned out really well. I just love Italian food, pasta dishes, vegetable dishes and one of my favorites is spaghetti meatballs, but this Canneloni dish hit the spot I tell you. (6 people)

What you need

1 cup white sauce

1 to 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

Dry canneloni shells
1 small onion finely chopped
250g mushrooms (use 2 types different types)
125g ricotta cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 cup strong cheddar cheese grated
1/3 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
More grated parmesan to top

The process

In a pan on a medium heat with a little splash of olive oil, cook the onions until soft, then add the mushrooms and cook until soft and the pan seems quite dry.

Remove from the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Don’t add salt while the mushrooms are cooking, it draws out the moisture too quickly.

Now add all of the cheeses and 1/2 the beaten egg, mix to combine well.

Now here is the challenge. If you have a piping bag, use the largest nozzle you have, fill and squeeze the mixture into the shells. I place the on end and fill from the top. If not, wash your hand and and fill or use a teaspoon. Don’t get the filling onto the outside of the pasta shells.

Place enough white sauce on the base of a baking dish then place the filled shells on top close together, cover with the tomato sauce and then again with the rest of the white sauce and sprinkle over a generous amount of parmesan.

Place in a 180 Celsius oven for 30 minutes or so.

You will know that they are ready if you prick the canneloni shells with a toothpick and it pierces easily. The top should be brown and the sauce bubbling gently.

Serve with a nice simple salad and some warm crusty bread.

Macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese

macaroni-and-cheeseMacaroni and cheese is a staple in my kitchen and this is a really fantastic recipe that can be made with or without the bacon. It is really easy to vary a macaroni and cheese recipe by adding you favorite tasty extras like bacon, Vienna’s or even left over chicken. Macaroni and cheese makes for a really hearty meal.

What you need

500g macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon mustard powder
3 cups milk
1/2 cup onion finely copped
pinch paprika
250g bacon (sliced Vienna’s are great as well)
1 egg lightly beaten
350g cheddar grated
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

The process

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius, put a large pot of water on to boil, add salt and when the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt and your pasta. Follow the cooking times on your pasta package cooking until the pasta is al dente.

Cook the bacon and onion together is a separate pan until onion is translucent, remove from the heat.

In a pot on a medium heat melt the butter and when foaming add the flour, mix well with a spoon or whisk, add the mustard powder and mix constantly for 3 minutes or so to cook the flour. Add the milk and whisk furiously until the mixture is smooth, add the paprika and cooked bacon and onion mix, reduce heat and simmer slowly while you add the egg, 200g of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the mixture from the heat, drain the pasta and add to the cheese mix, fold it all together distributing the pasta evenly.

Pour the entire contents into a casserole dish and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese.

Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the topping is brown and crisp.

Serve immediately.

You can get a little creative and add peppadews to the topping as well as a few more bits of bacon. Have a look through some of the other pasta recipes. or this 3 cheese bolognese pasta recipe

Three cheese bolognese pasta

Three cheese bolognese pasta

bolognese1This is one of those amazing winter recipes that will have the whole family wiping the sides of the bowl. It’s rich, it’s cheesy and you just cannot go wrong with it. The hardest part is cooking the mince but if you have some of the bolognese sauce frozen even better, you are ready to eat in just a few minutes. The strong cheesy flavour doesn’t really require an authentic bolognese sauce so here is a simple one.

What you need

500g mince meat
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon chutney
Pinch of black pepper
300g of your favorite pasta
250ml white sauce (it’s very quick to make)
50g feta cheese broken up
50g cheddar cheese grated
50g gorgonzola or other strong cheese grated

The process

Put your pasta on to cook in a lot of boiling water with salt.

In a pan on a medium heat with a splash of oil, add the onions and cook until transparent, add the mince and cook until almost cooked through.

Add the tomatoes and chutney, mix well and allow to simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes.

While that is simmering make the white sauce. Once the white sauce is ready add the cheeses and stir until you have a fairly thick and cheesy sauce. You may want to add a little pepper.

In a large serving bowl add the cooked pasta, pour over the meat sauce and mix into the pasta, add the cheese sauce and mix again, Pop under the grill for a minute or 2 to lightly brown the top.

Serve immediately with some fresh bread to mop up the sauce left over and a salad.

If you like this type of pasta recipe, you will want to try the creamy baked chicken pasta.

Italian food is meant to be quick and easy and this Italian style recipe is a real winner amongst all of the Italian dishes. using fresh Italian pasta available at most Italian deli’s these days turns it into a little something Extra.

Creamy chicken liver pasta

Creamy chicken liver pasta

creamy-chicken-livers

Chicken liver pasta

Chicken livers and cream make this a really rich pasta sauce that is famous in a Sydney restaurant called Pulcinella. It is really simple to make and very tasty. Don’t even attempt this if you are dieting but if you love a nice rich creamy pasta sauce and have a thing about chicken liver like I do, you are going to be very happy you tried it. (for 2)

What you need

250g chicken livers trimmed and chopped
2 small onions sliced
175ml cream
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
Oil for frying

The process

Add about 3 tablespoons oil to a pan on a medium heat and fry the onions until they begin to brown. Add the chicken livers and cook, stirring until the begin to change colour.

Add the cream and mix to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beaten eggs, stir quickly and remove from heat.

Season with and pepper and add to your favorite cooked pasta and top with finely grated parmesan cheese.

It is very rich so serve with a simple green salad.

Penne arrabiata

Penne arrabiata

penne-arrabiata

Penne Arrabiata

Arrabiata is very similar to a marinara sauce, the difference being that it has chili in it. I often add bacon to the arrabiata sauce which is my kind of pasta, so here is a very simple arrabiata sauce which you can make as hot as you like, or add some bacon, pancetta or even chicken pieces to make it your own. It’s a cheats version that makes enough for 4 people.

What you need

Olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tin tomatoes and onion mix
1/2 teaspoon italian herb mix
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste
125g bacon(1/2 packet) – optional
300g of dry penne

The process

In a pan on a medium heat, heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and gently fry the garlic. (if you are adding bacon, cook the bacon first and then add the garlic and follow below)

While the garlic is cooking, pour the contents of the tomato and onion tin into a blender and blend until quite smooth.

When the garlic has turned white, add the chili flakes and cook for about 1-2 minutes, add the tomatoes, brown sugar and herbs and simmer for 5 minutes or so on a low heat.

Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

Cook the penne according to the pack instructions, drain and return to the pot. Add the sauce to the penne and toss around in the pot to coat the pasta.

Serve with a side salad and a generous sprinkle of parmesan or parmesan shavings, made with a potatoe peeler.

Enjoy it.

Creamy chicken alfredo

Creamy chicken alfredo

chicken-alfredo

Chicken Alfredo

Chicken with a creamy alfredo sauce over pasta is seriously quick and delicious. Its and easy dish to change to your own tastes by adding sage, mushrooms or bacon, some left over gammon or even a little chili. (good for 4 servings)

What you need

1 kg chicken breast or thighs
100g butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan
200ml cream
salt and pepper
1 packet of your favorite pasta (penne or fettuccine are great)
Oil for frying

The process

Slice the chicken breast across the grain into thin strips and then halve them and season with salt and pepper.

Put the pasta on the boil while you make the sauce.

Quick fry the chicken pieces in a little oil in a hot pan, tossing constantly and set aside. You dont want them too stew so make the pan hot and move the chicken around constantly.

In a pot over a medium heat melt the butter, add the cream and parmesan and stir quickly until the cheese has melted. Remove from the heat before it boils and add the chicken pices. Stir to combine.

Drain the pasta, put it back into the pot, add the sauce and mix.

Serve immediately.