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Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

My cell group decided to come over for a Saturday afternoon tea and also boardgames time. During my recent trip to Italy, I bought sun-dried tomatoes, some good olive oil and balsamic vinegar and I was excited to try it out on some recipes. To really get the taste of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I thought pasta salad might be a good choice. So here’s a super simple recipe from me :)

Ingredients
300g fusili pasta
200g mixed leaf salad
a handful of cherry tomatoes
6-8 sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
10 olives, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp capers
1 handful of basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
sea salt & pepper to taste

Method
1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drained and put aside.
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Add the pasta and toss well.
4. Chill for half and hour before serving.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Fusili with Eggplant and Tomatoes

It’s Wednesday and time to cook for my cell group again. I was searching for a pasta recipe which is a tomato based but not bolognaise. I couldn’t really explain what I wanted to cook. I read through some recipes and finally came up with something which I think has the taste I wanted.

Ingredients (estimation)

Serves 4-5

500g fusili
1 large purple eggplant (long without seed), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
400g cherry tomatoes, cut into half
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
100-200g of fresh mushrooms, sliced
a handful of fresh basil, chopped
2-3 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
1-2 teaspoons of chili flakes
sea salt and coarsely grounded black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of sugar
100ml water
2-3 lugs of olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese

Method
1. Boil a large pot of water. Add a little salt and olive oil. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and stir till light brown.
3. Add the eggplant and stir fry for 5mins on medium heat.
4. Add the mushrooms, chili flakes and basil. Stir fry for 3-5mins.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and water. Add the sugar, sea salt and pepper.
6. Let it boil then lower the heat and simmer for 5mins.
7. Serve hot with the cooked fusili and some grated Parmesan cheese.

* If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can add some tomato paste.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Ravioli with Tomato Sauce

I bought some mushroom & cheese ravioli from the supermarket and was looking for a sauce recipe to go with it. Was looking through my ‘Cook with Jamie’ book and found a simple sauce from the recipe ‘Pappardelle with a ragu of tiny meatballs sauce’. It’s a tomato based sauce and I think it goes well with any pasta. I made slight changes. This is a recipe which you can cook in advance and keep in the freezer for later use.

Ingredients

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
a bunch of fresh basil, chopped
1 fresh red chilli, pierced with the tip of a knife
1 x 500g tin chopped tomatoes
a little swig of red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

1. Get a pan on the heat and add a glug of olive oil to it.
2. Gently fry the garlic, basil stalks and the whole chili. About 1-2mins.
3. Add the tomatoes and red wine vinegar. Then, add sugar.
4. Season with salt and pepper then gently simmer for 10mins.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Lasagne

Lasagne is something that I wanted to cook for a long time but never did. So today I decided to try it out. Of course my preference was Jamie Oliver’s recipe. This recipe is adapted from his recipebook – Jamie’s Ministry of Food. I changed the recipe to half portion.  However I made a mistake, I didn’t have a right size baking tray. I used a pretty small one and it ended up spilling over but it didn’t stop the dish from tasting good. haha! It’s a really simple recipe but really time consuming too. I didn’t realize how long it will take till I started making it :P Anyway, was very satisfied with the result :) My husband loves it too.


Ingredients

Serves 2-3

For the Bolognese Sauce

2 rashers of streaky bacon, finely sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 carrots, chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoons dried oregano
150g minced pork
150g minced beef
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh basil
50g Parmesan cheese

For the lasagne

100g dried egg lasagne sheets (I used 4 sheets)
1 x 250ml tub of creme fraiche
100g Parmesan cheese
1 large ripe tomato (I left this out)

Method

To make your Bolognese sauce

1) Place a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat. Add 2 lugs of olive oil,  the sliced bacon and oregano and cook and stir until the bacon is lightly golden.
2) Add the chopped vege to the pan and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly coloured.
3) Stir in the minced meat and the tinned tomatoes. Fill one of the empty tins with 1/2 tin of water and add to the pan. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper.
4) Pick the basil leaves and place in the fridge for later. Finely chop the basil stalks and stir into the pan.
5) Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer with a lid on for 45 minutes, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.

To finish the sauce

1) Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F / GM5. Remove the Bolognese sauce from the heat. Finely grate the Parmesan and stir a quarter of this into the sauce.
2) Tear and stir in any larger basil leaves, keeping the smaller ones aside for later. Have a taste of the sauce, and season with a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
3) Boil some water in a kettle and pour it into a pan, then add all your lasagne sheets with a drizzle of olive oil and blanch (slightly soften) for 3 to 4 minutes. To avoid the lasagna sheets from sticking to each other, place sheet by sheet making sure they are soaked before putting the next one.
4) Drain the sheets in a colander and carefully pat them dry with some kitchen paper to absorn any excess water.

To make your lasagne

1) Spoon a third of your Bolognese sauce into the bottom of an earthenware ovenproof dish. Follow with a layer of lasagne sheets.
2) Dollop over a third of your creme fraiche and smooth it out to cover the lasagne sheets. Sprinkle with a good pinch of salt and pepper and another quarter of your grated Parmesan.
3) Add another layer of lasagne, and repeat the layers twice more, finishing with a layer of creme fraiche and the remaining Parmesan.
4) Top with some slices of tomato (I skipped this), scatter over the small basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil.
5) Cover with foil, place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
6) After that, remove the foil and cook for a further 35 minutes until the lasagne is bubbling and golden.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Bacon and Mushroom Pasta

Today, I tried something special. I have always noticed a very different type of pasta at the supermarket and I thought well, maybe I should try cooking it :) It’s called the fusili lunghi pasta. Such an interesting pasta. Looks like instant noodle :P And this is my own recipe!


Ingredients

Serves 3

300g fusili lunghi pasta (or fettucine)
200g streaky bacon (6 slices), roughly chopped
150g fresh Japanese hypsizygus mushroom, roughly chopped (or oyster mushroom)
60g parmesan cheese
3 tbsp crème fraiche
3-4 fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp of dried mixed Italian herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add a bit of olive oil and salt.
2. Add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.
3. Meanwhile, heat a pan with a splash of olive oil.
4. Fry the bacon until crispy and golden.
5. Add the mushroom and stir fry for 2-3mins.
6. Add the crème fraiche, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir fry for 1-2mins.
7. The pasta should be done around the same time. Drain and reserve a cup of the pasta water.
8. Add the pasta into the bacon and mushroom mix.
9. Add the basil and Italian herbs. Mix well.
10. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of the reserved water.
11. Serve hot.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Basil Pesto Pasta Salad

As my basil is growing faster than I can use, I decided to tap on the internet to find the best way to use it faster. And the websites inspired me to make Basil Pesto Pasta Salad. It’s a wonderful meal if you want something light :)

Serves 2

Basil Pesto

Ingredients
1 cup fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/6 cup pine nuts (optional)
2 garlic cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method
1. Place the basil and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse a few times.
2. Add the garlic and pulse a few times.
3. Add half of the olive oil and pulse a few times. Then, add the balance of the olive oil. Pulse a few times.
4. Add in the parmesan cheese, salt and ground pepper. Pulse a few times.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Ingredients
2 cups spiral pasta
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp of sun-dried tomatoes pesto (optional)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
3-4 fresh basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 lemon, juiced
1-2 lugs of olive oil
basil pesto (according to the recipe above)

Method
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add a bit of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt.
2. Add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions.
3. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to cool down.
4. Put the pasta in a large bowl.
5. Toss the pasta with the basil pesto, sun-dried tomato pesto, pine nuts, oilve oil and cherry tomatoes.
6. Add the lemon juice and garnish the pasta with the chopped basil.
7. Chill for 10mins then serve.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Linguine alle Vongole

It’s the time of the week again – cooking for my cell group. Initially, I wanted to cook curry but since I am down with sore throat, headache and slight flu, thought curry will not be a good idea. One of my favourite pasta recipes is Linguine alle Vongole. This is my 2nd time cooking this recipe and the last time was 2 years ago. I have forgotten which recipe I cooked from so I went browsing thru a few recipes and came up with one of my own :)


Ingredients

500g linguine
3-4 dried chillies
3 cloves of garlic
1 tomato, chopped
a handful of parsley, chopped
3-4 fresh basil, chopped
1kg fresh clams, washed
200g squid (optional)
170ml, white wine
1/2 lemon
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Boil a large pot of water. Add a little salt and olive oil. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to packet instruction but minus 1-2 minutes.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat until hot. Add the garlic, dried chillies, tomatoes and half of the parsley. Stir for 2-3mins.
3. Add in the clams and squid. Stir for 1-2 mins then pour in the white wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the lid and cook for 3-4 mins. Stir them occasionally. Then, discard any clams that haven’t opened up.
4. Add in the remaining parsley and basil. Drain the pasta and into the pan.
5. Squeeze in the lemon and serve while it’s hot.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Tuna Pasta Salad

Another recipe which I wanted to prepare a day earlier. I read a few tuna pasta salad online and came up with my own recipe. It’s really easy, quick and delicious.

Ingredients

250-300g macaroni or fusilli
1 can of tuna (150-185g)
2 tbsp of mayonnaise
2 tbsp of cream fraiche (optional)
1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
a few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped
a few fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Cook macaroni according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
3. Chill and serve.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Linguine Aglio Olio with Portobello Mushroom & Anchovies

This morning I was watching Jamie Oliver and I was inspired to go to the kitchen to cook immediately. In mind of what ingredients left in the fridge, this recipe came to my mind. Simple, easy and I love it! Yums!

Ingredients

Serves 1

1 ‘circle’ of linguine (Make a circle with your index finger and the thumb around the pasta)
1 clove of garlic, sliced
4-5 dried chillies, washed
2 portobello mushrooms (or other fresh mushrooms of your choice)
4 sprigs of fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried italian herbs)
salt & pepper to taste
1 lug olive oil

Method

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the linguine. Stir well and boil rapidly for 8 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan or wok.
3. Add the garlic and stir till light brown.
4. Add the dried chillies and mushrooms. Stir fry for 1-2mins.
5. Add the herbs, salt and pepper.
6. Drain the linguine and transfer them to the frying pan and stir fry for 1-2mins. Make sure it’s well mixed and serve hot.

Note: You can use the same amount of ingredients for 2 servings, just cook more linguine.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Baked Camembert Pasta

I bought a box of camembert cheese 1-2 weeks ago. Today I noticed it was2 days expiry. I checked the cheese and it still looked good. So I was wondering what was the fastest way to finish the whole cheese. To eat it with crackers will take me a few days. Then it came to mind that I saw something about camembert cheese in a box. I went thru Jamie Oliver’s recipe book – Ministry of Food and found the ‘Baked Camembert Pasta’ recipe. I found the recipe quite interesting as I’ve never tried baking a whole cheese block before. I loved it, but would have preferred a stronger cheese taste as I am a strong cheese-lover.

Ingredients
(serves 4-6)

1 x 250g box of Camembert Cheese
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, pick the leaves off the woody stalk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
100g grated parmesan cheese (grated)
400g dried rigatoni (I couldn’t find rigatoni so I used fusilli)
150g fresh spinach

Method

1. Preheat your over to 180C/350F/gas 4.
2. Open the box of cheese and unwrap it. Place it back to the wooden container. Score a circle into the top of the skin, then lift it off and discard.
3. Peel and finely slice the garlic.  Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle some pepper and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.
4. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in the oil.
5. Place the box of cheese on a baking tray and put it into the preheated oven 25 minutes, until golden and melted.
6. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. When the cheese has 10 minutes left to cook, add the pasta to the pan and cook according to packet instructions.
7. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach to the pan – it only needs cooking for 10 seconds or so.
8. Drain the pasta and spinach in a colander over a large bowl, reserving some of the cooking water. Return the pasta and spinach to the pan and let it wilt.
9. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of extra virgin olive oil and add the grated Parmesan. If the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of reserved cooking water to thin out a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir.
10. Remove the cheese from the oven. Divide the pasta between your serving bowls. Either drizzle the melted Camembert on top or pop cheese on the table and let everyone help themselves to a lovely, gooey spoonful.

Note from me: Remember to serve it while it’s hot or heat up for few seconds in the microwave before eating so that you have the melting cheese effect :)

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Mac & Cheese

I have always wanted to try Jamie Oliver’s recipe and never did till a good friend came to visit me and asked me to cook something for her. I know she likes to eat mac & cheese and so I gave this recipe a try. Turned out, she really liked it a lot :)

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “a killer mac ‘n’ cheese” recipe.

Ingredients

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
45g butter
3 heaped tablespoons plain flour
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
6 fresh bay leaves
1 litre semi-skimmed milk
600g dried macaroni
8 tomatoes
150g freshly grated Cheddar cheese
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
optional: a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce
optional: a grating of nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
3 big handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs
olive oil

Method

1. Get a large pan of salted water on to boil.
2. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour and turn the heat up to medium, stirring all the time, until you get a paste – this is your roux. Add all the sliced garlic – don’t worry about the amount, because each slice will caramelize like toffee in the roux. Keep cooking and stirring until golden and the garlic is nice and sticky.
3. Add the bay leaves and slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time to ensure you get a nice smooth sauce. Bring the mixture to the boil, then leave it on a low heat to simmer and tick away, stirring occasionally.
4. Preheat your oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7.
5. Add the pasta to the pan of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions.
6. Meanwhile, roughly chop the tomatoes on a board and season them well with salt and pepper.
7. Drain the pasta and add it immediately to the sauce. Give it a good stir and take the pan off the heat.
8. Stir in your grated cheeses, chopped tomatoes and thyme leaves. A little Worcestershire sauce added now is nice, and so is a little grating or two of nutmeg.
9. Now work on the flavour – taste it and season it until it’s hitting the right spot. You want it to be slightly too wet because it will thicken up again in the oven, so add a splash of water if needed.
10. If you’ve made your sauce in an ovenproof casserole-type pan, leave everything in there; if not, transfer it to a deep earthenware dish. Bake it for 30 minutes in the oven, until golden, bubbling, crispy and delicious.
11. While it’s cooking, put your breadcrumbs and thyme into a pan with a few drizzles of olive oil over a medium heat. Stir and toss the crumbs around until crunchy and golden all over. Remove from the heat and tip into a nice bowl.
12. Serve your macaroni cheese in the centre of the table, with your bowl of crispy breadcrumbs for sprinkling over, and a lovely green salad.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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