Tag Archives: pasta

Saturday Night Pasta with Olives, Tomato and Chili

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Staying in this Saturday night? Lucky you: it is the perfect time to cook yourself some delicious, easy pasta, open a nice bottle of wine, and catch up on Ray Donovan or whatever else you are into at the moment. Don’t worry about the washing up, either: you only need 2 pans!

Have a lovely weekend!

You will need (for 2):

4 tbsp olive oil
2 anchovies in olive oil, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chili, finely chopped
2 tbsp capers in brine, drained
About 10-12 mixed green and black olives, halved
250 g cherry tomatoes
250 g wholewheat fusilli

salt, pepper

Method:

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil over a medium heat, and add the anchovies and chili. Cook for 2 min, stirring, then add the garlic and cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 8 min, then add the olives and capers and leave to cook until the pasta is ready. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan, tip the sauce into the pan and combine. Serve with grated Parmesan, if you like.

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Cold Weather: 0, Greedy Frog: 1! Slow-cooked Beef and Dumplings

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I came back from visiting my family in France with, among other goodies, a new, huge, heavy cast-iron pan. I had been coveting one such pan for a very long time, but the price tag meant that I couldn’t afford one; not unless I defaulted on my mortgage payments, that is. My amazing parents, however, decided to buy one for me as an early Christmas present (have I mentioned they are amazing?), and it is fair to say that I have rarely been as excited as I was when I opened the box.

I know some of you might think that I am pretty pathetic, getting all excited over a pan like this, but I don’t care what you think, because I’VE GOT A NEW PAN!!!!

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Well, that’s the gloating neatly out of the way now, so let’s talk a bit about the recipe…

This dish is delicious, a mixture of meltingly tender beef, tasty veg and gravy, and light, fluffy dumplings… It is the ultimate antidote to cold, dark evenings. I like to make a big batch of this on a Sunday, and keep some back for the Monday night; I find it incredibly comforting when it starts getting dark on a Monday afternoon, and with the whole working week still ahead of me, to know that there is a lovely warming meal waiting for me at home that just needs re-heating…

This stew will freeze beautifully (without the dumplings), and any leftover sauce works really well with pasta, especially if you cook the pasta in it. Oh, and it is also very cheap to make!

The dumplings recipe is Jane Grigson’s, from “English Food” (one of the first cookbooks I bought after moving to England, I was very intrigued by the notion of a whole book about English food…).

You will need:

For the stew:

1 kg beef shin, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
20g butter
2 onions
3 carrots
2 celery sticks
1 leek
4 cloves garlic
250g chestnut mushrooms
10g dried wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles)
1 handful plain flour
salt
pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
25cl red wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
500 ml beef stock
200 ml hot water

For the dumplings:

125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
60g shredded suet (vegetable suet is fine)
Water
1 tbsp chopped herbs of your choice (I used thyme)

Method:

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in a bowl of hot, freshly boiled water.

Chop the onions, carrots, celery and leek. Quarter the mushrooms. Crush and peel the garlic.
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Season the flour generously with salt, pepper and the oregano. Toss the meat in the flour until evenly covered.

Heat up the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-based lidded pan. Shake any excess flour off the meat, and add to the pan; turn regularly until brown all over.

Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and leek, and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the tomato puree and cook it out, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure all the tasty bits are incorporated in the gravy. Bring to the boil, then add the stock, the rehydrated mushrooms with their water, and top up with hot water if needed (the liquid needs to cover the meat almost completely.

Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to the minimum setting, put the lid on, and leave to simmer gently for about 4 hrs, stirring every so often.

30 min before you are ready to serve, make the dumplings. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and suet in a bowl. Mix with enough water to form a slightly sticky dough. Flour your hands and form into dumplings; I usually make 6 large ones but you could make up to 12 smaller ones.

Check the seasoning of the beef gravy, and add your dumplings to the pan, making sure there is plently of liquid there as they need to be poached. Put the lid back on and cook for another 10 to 20 min, depending on the size of the dumplings. Serve with hot, buttery mash.

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Filed under Mains, Meat dishes

Quick Sausage Pasta for Two

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Last night, Mr GreedyFrog was away, so I was cooking dinner just for me and my Little Greedy Tadpole.

Like a lot of toddlers, she adores pasta, so this sort of dish is always a winner with her. And it is also pretty popular with adults: it is full of flavour, healthy, and will be on the table in about 20 min.

You will need:

300 g wholewheat pasta (I used penne)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 good quality sausages
1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
Salt, pepper

Method:

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, heat up the oil in a medium size pan. Gently fry the onion for about 2 min.

With a sharp knife, cut open the sausage casings, and squeeze out the sausages. Break up the sausagemeat into small balls, and add to the onion along with the garlic. Cook until brown on all sides.
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Add the lemon zest and the tomatoes, stir and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, season and simmer for about 10 min. Add the chopped parsley, and serve with the drained pasta.

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Pasta Bake With Goat’s Cheese and Turkey Meatballs

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I do not run for anyone. Not only do most of my shoes not allow it, but if I am totally honest I also find it rather tedious, and let’s face it, exhausting.

I am always happy however, to support friends running for charity in any way I can. Which is why this weekend I was delighted to welcome at Greedy Frog Towers two dear friends brave (and fit) enough to tackle the Great North Run.

The night before the race, I prepared this dish for them, with pasta for energy, plenty of vegetable goodness and lean protein in the form of turkey meatballs. It went down a treat!

They both finished the race and did amazingly well, raising a lot of money for Cancer Research in the process, and I am very proud of them.

You will need (for 6):

For the meatballs:
400 g turkey mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp dried sage
salt, pepper

For the sauce:
olive oil
2 large peppers
a handful mushrooms, chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic

To finish:
500g pack pasta
1 small log goat’s cheese
1 tsp dried sage

Method:

Preheat your grill to medium-high. Grill the peppers on all sides until black and blistered, then place inside a plastic bag. Wrap this plastic bag into another one, then reserve until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl, and form into golf-ball size meatballs.
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Heat up the olive oil in a large, deep pan. Gently fry the meatballs until golden on all sides. While the meatballs are cooking, peel, de-seed and dice the peppers. When the meatballs are well coloured, add the peppers and mushrooms to the pan, stir gently (taking care not to break the meatballs), and cook for 2 min more.

Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 30 min.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ Gas 6. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain. Butter a large ceramic or glass baking dish.

Spread a layer of sauce at the bottom of the dish, and top with a layer of pasta. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients. Slice the goat’s cheese, and distribute evenly on the dish. Sprinkle the sage, then bake for 15 to 20 min, or until the cheese slices start to take colour.image

Serve with some fresh crusty bread.

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Lunchbox chili pasta

I call it lunchbox pasta because it is an easy way to use up any leftover pasta you might have after an evening meal. I usually make this with leftover cooked lasagne sheets (see Open Lasagne),cut into ribbons, but any pasta shape will work.

Rinse the pasta in some cold water to avoid it sticking together, then refrigerate in a microwaveable container.

In the morning, add a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of chili flakes, and some pitted, roughly chopped black olives. Grate a bit of parmesan on top.image

At lunchtime, microwave on full power for 2 to 3 min depending on wattage. Tuck in, and don’t forget to put your best smug face on in front of your colleagues with their shop-bought lunches!

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Open lasagne with creamy mushroom and spinach filling

You can use any type of lasagne sheet for this recipe: you can buy them fresh or dry from most shops, or you can make your own (watch this space for a recipe and step by step guide, coming up sometime soon).

You will need (for 2 portions):

2 large lasagne sheets (or 3 small ones)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 spring onions
250g chestnut mushrooms
Pinch of thyme
150g spinach (about 2 large handfuls)
3 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
Parmesan (from a block)
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method:

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the lasagne sheets according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the spring onions and mushrooms. Wash the spinach and drain thoroughly.

Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan, or sauté pan with a lid. Add the spring onions and mushrooms, salt, pepper, thyme, stir then cover for 2 to 3 min until the mushrooms are cooked.

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Add the spinach and leave to wilt for a few seconds, then add the crème fraîche. Warm through, check the seasoning and take off the heat.

Drain the pasta and cut the lasagne sheets in half so you end up with square-ish pieces.

Lay one piece in each serving bowl, top with some of the filling and some grated parmesan. Repeat until you have used up the pasta and filling, then finish with some parmesan shavings and chopped parsley.

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