I’ve been experimenting again! Again using my gorgeous new casserole. I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from beyond the thought process of: these are the things I have in the fridge; I haven’t had pasta for a few days; let’s try that. It worked out really well, and I made just enough to have leftovers for a yummy pasta salad for my lunch later in the week. Win!
I’ve not gone crazy with the photos tonight. Lucky you!
Fusilli con Pollo
1 chicken leg per person
2 cloves garlic
Small amount of Chicken stock (I used a few home-made concentrated stock cubes which I had frozen in an ice cube tray)
Half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Teaspoon of sugar
- Procure some chicken legs. Ours came from the whole chicken A Man attacked with his cleaver the other day.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Brown the chicken legs and remove from the pan. Turn the heat down to low.
- Dice the onion and finely chop the garlic. Fry for a few minutes. Slice the mushrooms, pepper and cavolo nero stalks and add to the pan. Chop the cavolo nero leaves and set aside. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with the cavolo nero leaves. Add the stock and lemon juice and stir well. Make wells for the chicken legs and replace in the pan. Cover the pan and cook for at least half an hour or until the chicken is cooked.
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, stir through some fennel seeds, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of sugar. Add the pasta and stir well. Replace the chicken in the pan and cover until required.
I actually made this recipe last week and completely forgot to write it up. I’d spent the day shopping for clothes and wandering around IKEA, and by the time I got home I just could not be bothered to cook anything elaborate. Luckily we had some excellent quality bacon, courtesy of one of A Man’s dad’s pigs in our freezer. This bacon has around an inch of fat on it and had an incredibly rich flavour – it was perfect for this recipe. I also happened to have just bought some pasta bowls which I was eager to use, so this seemed as good an excuse as any.
Carbonara should be silky, glossy and rich. The key is to only cook the egg with the residual heat from the pasta, or you’ll end up scrambling it. You can add onion, chillis, herbs etc if you fancy but I didn’t bother.
75-100g spaghetti per person (fresh or dried is fine)
Good quality back bacon with a decent layer of fat
3 or 4 smoked garlic cloves
One medium sized egg per person
A good chunk of parmesan
- Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions. Separate the fat from the meat of the bacon, and chop both into chunks. Fry the fat in a pan on a medium-low heat to render it down.
- Smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife and add to the bacon fat with the chopped bacon. Fry for several minutes until cooked and slightly crispy (but take care not to burn it).
- Beat the eggs together. Grate the parmesan and add most to the beaten eggs with a little black pepper.
- Drain the pasta and put it back in the pan. Add the egg mixture and stir well. Add the bacon, garlic and a little of the bacon fat and stir until all the ingredients are well combined. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining parmesan, more black pepper and a side salad. I saved the bacon fat and used on the Bunny Ballotines I made the other day.
Yesterday I planned a quick dinner because I figured it would be more relaxing than spending hours in the kitchen. As it happened, I spent hours in the kitchen anyway as water was streaming through the ceiling and flooding the place. Not impressed. It’s just as well dinner was quick because I definitely didn’t have the energy to do something time consuming after so much mopping! Had I not already thawed the fish you can absolutely bet we’d have had takeaway.
As I’ve already mentioned, this meal is quick (it only takes as long as the pasta takes to cook) and tasty. You can add different veg to it, take the fish out if you don’t fancy, use salmon or ham instead, grate some cheese on top etc. Play around with the ingredients depending on what you’ve got in.
Creamy Trout Fusilli
Fusilli (or any pasta will do)
Courgette (we used a huge one from A Man’s mum’s allotment 🙂 )
Juice of half a lemon
Trout fillet, skinned and boned
I realise this photo is super uninspiring, but I’m not going to apologise for that 🙂
- Put the pasta on to cook as per the instructions
- Chop the spring onions and fry in a little olive oil. Chop the courgette (and, if it’s anything like as big as ours was, peel it too!) and add to the spring onions. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add some cream to the veg and stir well. Add a couple of heaped teaspoons of pesto and the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low. Continue to stir to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain most of the water from it, keeping a couple of tablespoons. Add to the sauce and stir well.
- Just before serving, chop the trout into bitesized chunks and stir through the pasta. The heat from the pasta and sauce will cook the fish, so serve immediately to prevent it from overcooking. Serve with lots of fresh black pepper.
In case you haven’t noticed, we appear to have summer this week! Because of this I’ve been trying to avoid being in the kitchen for too long; for one thing it gets too warm and for another I’d much rather be outside. Meals have tended towards the quick and simple and haven’t exactly been blog-worthy.
Last night I had karate and A Man went to kickboxing and I swear I very nearly passed out from the heat. I really didn’t feel like making tea when I got home, but realised I probably ought to have something before bed or I’d wake up starving in the middle of the night. I had planned our go-to easy meal of sausage pasta but realised we had very little in the way of salad to go with it, hence the development of this little dish.
It’s not difficult to make, and is pretty light for a pasta dish making it great for the summer. It’s definitely one I’ll keep on the books.
Spicy Sausage Bolognese
Good quality, highly seasoned sausages or chipolatas
Rocket and grated parmesan or grana padano to serve
- Remove the sausagemeat from the skins and shape into balls. Set aside.
- Heat some olive oil on a medium-high hob. Chop the onion into small dice and chop the chilli and garlic finely. Fry in the olive oil for a few minutes, until starting to soften.
- Chop the pepper into thin strips and the apple into fairly chunky pieces (you can leave the skin on). Add to the onion and fry for a couple of more minutes. Add a fairly large glug of balsamic vinegar to the pan.
- Add the sausage balls to the pan and shake around to cook the outside of each meatball. Add the basil to the pan, followed by the tinned tomatoes. Turn the heat down slightly.
- Cook the spaghetti according to the packet’s instructions. Season the tomato sauce to taste with a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper, dried herbs and chilli flakes.
- Serve as soon as the pasta is cooked. Top the bolognese with a handful of fresh rocket and lots of grated cheese.
A Man is still away, and I’ve spent most of the day sitting in my freezing cold study blasting through my work for the week. I also went into work earlier today, and luckily remembered to buy myself something for my tea. As requested by my brother, I bought pouting; a white fish from the cod family, but much more sustainable and much much cheaper.
Pouting has a very mild flavour and should be palatable to all but the most staunch of fish haters. Here, I teamed it with an incredibly simple cream sauce and some spaghetti as I wanted something quick and easy.
I used fresh peas tonight. This is most unlike me because I’m a big fan of frozen peas, but for 19p a big bag of pods seemed like a good plan. Until I had to shell them… Oh well.
Creamy Pouting with Spaghetti
I am SO BAD at cooking for one! There was just way too much of this for me – about 2 thirds of it ended up in the bin 😦 It was tasty though.
Spring onions, chopped
Lemon zest and juice
Pouting fillet, skin removed and cut into bitesize pieces
Herbs and salt and pepper to taste
- Place the spaghetti in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Cook as per the instructions on the packet.
- Fry the spring onions in a little olive oil. Add the lemon zest and fry for a couple of minutes. Stir through some cream, milk and lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper and herbs to taste.
- Stir the fish into the sauce and cook until the flesh flakes. Do not cook for much longer than that or the fish will be overcooked and dry.
- Add the peas to the pasta and cook for a couple of minutes until warm.
- Drain the pasta and stir through the sauce. Serve immediately.
If you’re a regular reader, you may remember that a couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for steak in creamy mushroom sauce without any pictures. Yesterday, I made something very very similar to be heated up tonight, but with a few key differences. I won’t bother posting a detailed recipe, but here are the highlights:
- I used a combination of oyster, shiitake and portobello mushrooms in the sauce
- Rather than use a cream base, I made a simple white sauce to which I added some white wine, lots of black pepper and the fried mushrooms
- My meat wasn’t steak, but rather leftover roast beef. I roasted a rib of beef yesterday for dinner and the beautifully rare meat was lovely and tender in this sauce – I just stirred it through the sauce to warm through
- Rather than new potatoes and cabbage, I served it this time with ribbon pasta and a carrot and fennel salad which cut through the sauce a treat. The salad was very simply a couple of grated carrots and half a grated bulb of fennel, dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice
Excuse the crappy photography. Yet again, I used my phone and yet again it served to disappoint in its photo-capturing capacity.
Having been at work today, I wanted to cook something really quick for tea. I also wanted something veggie after the frankly obscene amount of meat we ate on Sunday, so decided to just throw some things at a pan and hope. It turns out I hoped pretty well :o)
The veg I used just happened to be what was in the fridge looking a bit sad and elderly, but I’d happily buy it all specially to make this again. I think what really cut this dish was the red pepper mill – like a salt or pepper grinder, but with red chilli pepper flakes instead of salt or peppercorns; it really pinged through the creamy richness of the sauce. And it all cooked in the time it took to cook the pasta!
No photo I’m afraid – we were starving!
Chilli Lemon Pasta
Pasta (it doesn’t really matter which type – I used penne, but I think linguine would work best)
1 red onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 courgette, chopped into large chunks
1/2 head of chicory, thinly sliced
1/2 head of fennel, thinly sliced
Large handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stems roughly chopped
1 red chilli, sliced
Lemon juice (fresh for preference, but I used bottled)
Ground chilli flakes
- Put the pasta on to cook according to the instructions.
- Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan on a medium-high hob. Add the onion and pepper and stir well. Fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the courgette. Keep stirring well throughout to prevent the veg from burning.
- Add the chicory, fennel and coriander. Cook for a couple of minutes (you want the fennel and chicory to stay fairly crunchy if possible). Stir through the fresh chilli.
- Add some lemon juice. I’m not sure how much I used, but taste the sauce to see if it’s lemony enough for you. Season well with salt and ground chilli. Taste constantly until it’s how you like it, adding more butter if you like.
- Drain the pasta and stir through the veg. Adjust the sauce if necessary (it may seem a little flat now it has to compete with the pasta). Serve immediately, with a salad if you like (although I didn’t bother).