Tag Archives: Pasta

Sausage and Pepper Pasta

Leftovers and store cupboard recipes seem to be the order of the day just now (trust me, my bank account is a fan!) so here’s another of my favourite quick midweek meals which largely uses ingredients from the kitchen cupboard and freezer. Unfortunately, the only way to make these types of recipe work in a relatively fresh and healthy way is to add in some fresh vegetables, but they tend to be relatively cheap and easy to pick up at lunch time or on the way home. 

  
You will need: 

1 red pepper

1 onion 

1 clove garlic

1 tin chopped or plum tomatoes or passata

Salt and pepper

Oregano, parsley and basil, 1/2 teaspoon of each 

Pinch sugar

1tsp lemon juice

1tsp Worcestershire sauce 

2 sausages per person

Portion of pasta per person 

  
1. Heat a little oil in a saucepan. Slice the onion and pepper into fine strips and add to the pan. Add the crushed garlic and cook at a low to medium heat until softened. 

2. Add in the tomatoes and stir through. Add the seasoning, sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Allow to simmer for as long as possible.

3. Put the sausages on a foiled tray in the oven and bake at 180C for around 25 minutes or until brown and cooked through.

4. In the mean time, put the pasta in a large saucepan, salt and cook until ready. Cooking time will depend on the shape of pasta you choose. 

5. When the sausages are ready, carefully cut into chunks and add to he sauce. Taste, and add further seasoning if required. Add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water from the pasta pot to loosen and emulsify the sauce. This really does make a difference! 

  
6. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce then mix through. I prefer to do it this way round to save getting two pots really messy, but make sure the pasta is well drained!

Buen Appetito! 

Tuna Pasta Bake (With Extra Veggies)

This is a fantastic recipe for when you have a hankering for pasta but want to keep the carbs relatively low in favour of protein, bulked up with vegetables. Comforting, warming, versatile and full of goodness. If you want to be especially good, use wholewheat pasta. 

  
For this version, you will need:

1 onion

1 pepper

1 clove garlic

Handful of green beans

1 tin sweetcorn 

2 tins tuna. If you don’t like fish, this would be great with leftover chicken or cooked sausages cut up into chunks.

2 tomatoes (or however many you have)

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Chilli, oregano, basil, salt and pepper

A handful of grated hard cheese

A couple of crackers to crumble on top, or breadcrumbs, but I used a few baked tortilla chips since I often have a relatively fresh batch lying around 

A short cut pasta of your choosing, enough to feed 2-3 people should do the trick, or around 150g. I used Conchigliette because I like the way the sauce gets trapped inside the little shells.

An oven-proof casserole dish 

  
1. Slice the onions and pepper and cook off in a medium to large saucepan in a little olive oil on a low to medium heat. These will give you great flavour if cooked low and long.

2. Chip or grate the garlic and add to the saucepan once the onions and peppers are on their way to softening. 

3. Chuck the pasta into a large saucepan with a good punch of salt and pour over some freshly boiled water – give it plenty to swish about in and cook until there is still a bit of bite to the pasta, stirring occasionally. Remember this will be going in the oven with the sauce so will be cooked a little more later on.

  
4. Meanwhile, top and tail the beans and cut in half so they are bite sized. This should be a nice easy eat!  Add these to the vegetable saucepan and stir.

5. Chop the tomatoes into smallish chunks and add to the other vegetables. Once everything has had a good chance to heat through, add the tinned tomatoes, then swirl a little water in the empty can to release the residue. Add the herbs and seasonings and leave to simmer.

  
6. When your pasta is ready, add s couple of tablespoons of the cooking water to the sauce (thanks Nigella and Mr Brooker), drain the pasta and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180C fan. 

7. Drain the tin of sweetcorn (bring careful not to cut yourself on the lid!) and add the contents to the sauce.

8. Repeat with the tuna chunks, making sure to use the lids to really squeeze out the extra oil, brine or water, depending on which type you have. I pretty much always mix my tuna with mayo or add it to a sauce like this so I’m not very fussy about which I buy, although I’m not too keen on the brined version (just a family habit!). I find it easiest to use a fork to release the tuna flakes. Add this to the sauce when you’re happy it’s almost ready, as you really just want this to heat up before putting it all together. 

  
9. When you’re happy with everything, mix the pasta into the sauce (I only do it this way to save getting two saucepans dirty but feel free to explain if you think the other way is better) and pour into the casserole dish.

  
10. Sprinkle the grated cheese and crumbled up crackers over the top, and bake for 15 minutes or so, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted to your satisfaction.  

 

I made this last for 2 suppers and 3 small lunches (reheated in the microwave) served with salad, and it was great every time. I kept the last bit in the fridge in a sealed container for about 5 days and it was still great. If you’re using cooked chicken or sausage, you might want to use it up within 3 days and be really sure you’ve reheated it properly. 

  

King Prawn Spaghetti

You might have guessed by now that I can’t live without carbs. This recipe is great though – you get a good spicy tomato sauce in minutes without any of that sharp metallic taste. The King prawns add a meaty sweetness without adding heaviness, and the peppers add some veggie goodness that keeps things nice and fresh.

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You will need:

around 8 king prawns per person

1 clove garlic

chilli flakes

1/2 tin cherry tomatoes (or chopped but I think these work better)

splash white wine

parsley

salt and pepper

a couple of drops of lemon juice

1/2 red pepper

a few green beans (optional)

spaghetti or linguine

olive oil

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1. Put the spaghetti on to cook in salted water. Grate the garlic and fry in a pan with a little oil in it. Add the chilli and chopped peepers and green beans. Fry a little until everything starts to soften.

2. Add the wine and cook out.

3. Add the tomatoes and squash the lumps down a little to help break them down.

4. Add the seasoning and simmer for 5 to 10 mins.

5. Add the prawns and cook for a few minutes on each side until pink and plump.

6. Drain the spaghetti and add to the pan. Mix everything together and serve.

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Friday Night Carbonara

This one comes with only half the guilt, you’ll be pleased to hear, which is perfect for a quick Friday night supper to be accompanied by a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, and it can pretty much be whipped up with whatever’s in your fridge. I included sautéed onions to make a change, but they were a bit too sweet with the wholewheat spaghetti, especially as it was unsmoked bacon I had to hand.

I have to give credit to my wise old boyfriend, Charles, (who, by the way, has a cracking B&B
and picture framing business in the Scottish Borders) for teaching me how to make this, though I’ve since changed some if the technique to make things easier for myself and to help to avoid scrambling.

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For 1 decent portion, you’ll want:

2 rashers of bacon, smoked is best

optional clove of grated garlic

2-3 tablespoons full fat creme fraiche (or half fat if you really must but I don’t get it!)

1 medium egg

a sprinkling of fresh or dried parsley

salt

cracked black pepper

a grating of nutmeg

your usual helping of dried spaghetti (they say 75g usually, but who weighs pasta?!), I used wholewheat

olive oil to fry the bacon in if it isn’t fatty enough

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1. Chop the bacon into squares or strips and fry until it’s as gilded as you’d like. If you decided to include the garlic, cook it along side the bacon, but try not to burn it.

2. Meanwhile, boil up a kettle of water and get your pasta on with a decent pinch of salt in the water. You don’t need any oil to stop it from sticking; just give it a few stirs in the first couple of minutes of cooking and it shouldn’t stick. The spaghetti is best when it isn’t too well cooked, but cook to taste; the sauce has to wait for it anyway. It should take between 10 and 15 minutes.

3. While the spaghetti is cooking, spoon the creme fraiche into a bowl, loosen off with your spoon a little, then crack in the egg. Give it a good mix until you have a sort of raw custard. Add parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix again.

4. When the spaghetti is ready, drain and put back on a low to medium heat to steam out any residual water. You don’t want the hob to be too hot at this stage as you are about to add your eggy custard, and you don’t want that to scramble!

5. Quickly pour in the egg and creme fresh mixture and rapidly stir the spaghetti around in it, then tip in the bacon. I find silicone tongs best for this as you can really control where the spaghetti is going. Keep swirling until the egg mixture has thickened and coated the pasta. Make it as well done as you like. I prefer mine silky and creamy but Charles likes his slightly scrambled.

If it isn’t saucy enough for you, you can add some extra creme fraiche at this stage before serving.

Enjoy!