Orecchiette Pasta

I think it was the time I had some delicious pasta at Paesan in London that inspired me to buy some orecchiette pasta when I saw some on sale in Aldi. Though I did have a dish of this pasta back in 2014 at Bottelino’s.

Orecchiette are a pasta typical of Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. Their name comes from their shape, which resembles a small ear.

The pasta took 18 minutes to cook, which from experience of cooking a range of pasta types is quite long.

While the pasta was cooking, in another pan I cooked off some pancetta, onions, pepper and mushrooms.

To this, once it was cooked I added some creme frache.

Once the pasta was cooked I drained and then added to the pan with the mushrooms in. I added some grated parmesan, mixed together, finished off with some pine nuts, and then served.

Time for a Caesar Salad

I did quite fancy a Caesar salad for lunch, but I don’t buy the kits, partly as I prefer making my own, partly, as I like more than croutons and parmesan, and mainly as I need to have gluten free croutons.

For my Caesar salad I took some Romaine Lettuce and cut in half and set them across the plate. To this I added some white anchovies, quartered small tomatoes and peelings of parmesan.

For the croutons, I took the crusts of a Schär white loaf and sliced it into cubes. In a hot pan I added some olive oil and some butter, to which I added the cubes of bread and some dried Italian herbs. Once the croutons are browned I took them out of the pan and drained them on some kitchen paper.

These were then added to the salad, followed with some freshly ground black pepper.

I have variations, sometimes I prefer sun-dried tomatoes, but then I do like fresh, it’s a preference. 

I do sometimes add Caesar salad dressing, but usually have it on the side.

Risotto a la Milanesa

I recently picked up a box of Gallo’s Risotto a la Milanesa, which is risotto with parmesan & saffron.

This is prepared risotto rice to which you only need add water, though you can add butter and parmesan at the end of cooking to add a little bit of luxury and more cheese flavour to the dish.

I usually cook risotto from scratch and I hadn’t really read the box when I picked it up, so thought I was buying plain risotto rice with some saffron included.

What you actually get is a bag of saffron coloured rice which you cook in water for 12 minutes before adding butter and extra cheese.

It’s a really bright yellow, which might put people off, but it was rather tasty. If I can find it again I think I will get another pack. A quick and easy rice dish.

Mushroom Tortellini

Mushroom Tortellini

This is a warming pasta dish that has a somewhat autumnal feel to it, but you can eat it at anytime.

I generally make this sauce (and variations of it) for a range of different pasta, but as I quite like tortellini, this time I had the sauce with filled pasta.

I use fresh tortellini, one day I might get round to making some by hand, I have made fresh pasta before, but then my pasta machine broke, and I haven’t replaced it. This was a spicy sausage tortellini from a supermarket which takes a few minutes to cook.

To make the sauce, in a large frying pan add a splash of olive oil. I also sometimes use truffle oil, which has a real flavour boost to the sauce. Then add some diced pancetta. My personal favourite of the moment is the pancetta from Aldi, however I also quite like buying it (when I can) from an Italian Deli and dice it myself. One the pancetta has started to cook, add chopped red onion and red pepper. Once the onion and pepper have softened, add some (well a fair bit) of sliced mushrooms. I usually add some butter as well at this point to help with the mushrooms cooking. I prefer using chestnut mushrooms, but also throw in some of the Woodland mushrooms from Morrisons as well. 

Stir.

When the mushrooms are nearly cooked, add a small bag of baby spinach. This will wilt down and should be stirred in.

I then add some creme frache mix into the mushrooms.

At this point I cook the pasta, which only takes a few minutes, drain, and add to the sauce. I then generously grate some parmesan into the sauce and pasta along with some freshly ground black pepper. 

Serve and add more parmesan to taste.

Well that was nice

templequaymarket

Popping over to the Temple Quay market for lunch it was a nice walk in the sun and there is something nice about buying street food in the summer weather. I managed to get there quite early, so was really spoilt for choice. Even getting their early there were already long queues for the Thai food and the slow cooked pulled pork.

I did think about getting Peruvian from the Uchu Perú stall, but though the food looked fantastic, I have tried to try new things, rather than buy things again. For those same reasons I also didn’t go for the tacos from the Little Taqueria as I have had them before (still need to write that blog post).

In the end after much thought, I went with Wild and Rustic who usually sell venison burgers, but this week had sous-vide chicken thighs cooked with lemon and thyme. These were then chargrilled before being served in a rustic sourdough bun with wild rocket confit garlic mayo, parmesan gremolata sweet potato crisps.

This was really delicious and I am glad I went back to the office to eat it, as I can imagine that trying to eat it straight from the box would be a somewhat messy affair.

The chicken was really nice, cooking sous-vide and then finishing off on the grill results in moist tasty chicken. The accompaniments really helped to finish off the chicken.

I really liked it, I did think it was slightly on the pricey side at £6.50 but then again getting the dish prepared in front of you and it tasting delicious, meant that I think it was a price worth paying.

Linguine

Linguine

I like pasta dishes and this was a quick and easy recipe. I took some linguine pasta and cooked it for ten minutes in boiling water. I never add salt or oil and never have a problem with cooking time, flavour or pasta sticking together.

When the pasta was cooked, I drained and then immediately added a beaten egg, creme frache and grated parmesan cheese. This was then served with a little freshly ground black pepper.

Linguine with pesto

Needed a quick supper tonight, so cooked some really nice linguine pasta. Once it was cooked I tossed it in olive oil and added a couple of teaspoons of pesto. Tossed again and served with some freshly grated parmesan.

Simple, quick, yet delicious.

Cheese straws

Considering how easy these are to make and taste so much better fresh I am surprised that people don’t make them more often.

Take some puff pastry.

Now here’s a question? Am I hypocritical for being surprised that people buy cheese straws but then go ahead and buy ready made puff pastry to make my own? Is that not just the kettle and the pot calling each other names?

Well yes I did use ready made puff pastry. I usually make straws after using the puff pastry for something else and there is some left over.

So I rolled it out, grated some parmesan onto it, folded it over, repeated twice more.

I then cut the cheesy pastry into strips about six inches long and half an inch wide.

These I then twist, hold each end and twist your hands in opposite directions to get a twisty cheese straw.

Brush with egg and scatter some more grated parmesan onto the top.

Bake in the oven for around eight to ten minutes.

Delicious.

Risotto

Risotto

In a large frying pan, place some olive oil and butter. Then add some finely chopped onion, red pepper, courgette and pancetta.

Soften the onions.

Bring up the heat.

Add the risotto rice and ensure that the rice is coated in the oil and butter.

Add a splash of white wine.

Now add some chicken stock.

Keep topping up with stock to ensure that the rice doesn’t dry out.

Once the rice is virtually cooked, add a large handful of grated parmesan, some chopped parsley and some freshly ground black pepper.

Serve, garnish with a few slices of lemon.

Lemon and Rocket Risotto

I am going through a risotto phase at the moment.

This is my original lemon risotto recipe.

Lemon and Rocket Risotto

In a large frying pan, place some olive oil and butter. Then add some finely chopped onion and the zest of two lemons.

Soften the onions.

Bring up the heat.

Add the risotto rice and ensure that the rice is coated in the oil and butter.

Add a splash of white wine.

Now add some chicken stock.

Keep topping up with stock to ensure that the rice doesn’t dry out.

Once the rice is virtually cooked, add the juice of the lemons, a large handful of grated parmesan, some roughly chopped rocket and some freshly ground black pepper.

Serve, garnish with a few slices of lemon.