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Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups

16 Oct

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This has to be one of the most exciting yet simple dishes I have whipped up in a long time. It uses basic ingredients in a clever way that will just dazzle your taste buds to leave you wanting more. Now I will be the first to admit that butternut squash is not my favorite vegetable because most often it is too sweet and sickly for my liking but in this recipe it is the absolute star of the show.

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Its overly sweet flavor is balanced by a couple of things in this recipe, the spinach, the passata and the feta. The passata works particularly well as its acidic flavor counteracts the squash to perfection. This is a fantastic recipe for vegetarians who are looking for new and exciting recipes or just for anyone who likes getting their socks knocked off by amazing food!

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I use dried lasagna sheets that have to be pre-cooked in this dish but I’m sure fresh lasagna would also work perfectly. The thought of having to roll up lasagna sheets may seem daunting but don’t be put off. It is super easy after the first two or so, everyone is allowed a few disasters! So what are you waiting for, go make it!

Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups (Serves 2 generously)

1 medium butternut squash

5 lasagna sheets

2tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3-4 thyme sprigs, stalks removed

250g frozen spinach

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

350ml passata

salt and pepper

whole nutmeg

30g feta

15g grated parmesan

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350ºf and roast the whole butternut squash on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 1/2hrs.
  • When there is about 30mins left on the squash you can start getting everything else ready. Cook the lasagna sheets according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and thyme and fry over a medium heat for 2-3mins until soft add the frozen spinach and cook for a further 10-15mins over a medium/low heat with a lid until the spinach has broken down and excess liquid has evaporated.
  • Heat the remaining 1tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Fry for 2-3mins until lightly golden. Add the passata and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4mins.
  • Cut the squash in half and scoop out the soft flesh from one half. You don’t need the other half for this recipe but it makes an unbelievably delicious soup! Mash the flesh and season with salt, pepper and a generous grating of nutmeg.
  • Also season the spinach with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • To assemble,place the lasagna sheets vertically in front of you. Divide the mashed squash between the 5 cooked lasagna sheets spreading it out evenly. Then layer on the spinach and crumble the feta on top.
  • Roll the lasagna sheets away from you into fairly tight cylinders and slice in half or even thirds if you want. Place the lasagna roll ups, standing up, in the frying pan with the passata.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan and bake in the oven for 20mins until golden and beginning to crisp.
  • Serve with a fresh green salad and extra parmesan if desired.

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Hearty Minestrone

16 Sep

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The chill of autumn has swooped in out of nowhere and I have found myself rummaging around in my big hearty recipe books… or my bookmarked internet tabs for those meals that are basically the equivalent of a couch, a fire and a cuddly doggie! This dish is exactly that and is so handy because its also a one pot wonder which cuts the dishes to slave away over afterwards.

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This is a really basic minestrone but why fix something that’s not broken? It uses mostly store cupboard ingredients and has so much flavor, you will be blown away. It can also be made ahead of time which fits wonderfully into hectic life at the moment. It gives wholesome portions and supplied us with two days worth of dinners which was amazing and really freed up my evening.

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Hearty Minestrone

1/2tbsp olive oil

3-4 rindless bacon slices, cubed

3 carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 medium courgette, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

150g button mushrooms, quartered

1 red onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

1tsp dried oregano

2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock, more if needed

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

1/2-1 cup pasta shapes

parmesan, to serve

  • Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and cook the bacon cubes until lightly browned. Add the carrots, courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, onion, garlic, bay leaves and oregano and cook for 5-10mins over medium heat until softened and smelling delicious.
  • Pop in the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for roughly 30mins.
  • Add the pasta and cook for a further 10mins until al dente. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary and thin with some extra stock or water if it’s too thick.
  • Serve piping hot, but don’t burn your tongue, with lashings of parmesan and some basil leaves.

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Crispy Baked Ravioli

6 Aug

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As I scrolled through the countless Pinterest pictures once again I spotted baked ravioli and a positively stunning photo to go with it. I was hooked, so I pinned it instantly then clicked in and browsed through the recipe to actually see what was going on. As I skimmed through the method, the words  “deep fat fry” stood out like a very sore thumb and I nearly changed my mind about the marvelousness of this recipe.

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But I decided to change the recipe instead to make it healthy and not such a shock to my heart! So I swapped the deep fat frying for par boiling and tossing in a tiny bit of olive oil, much better. This is a fun way to change up your fresh pasta and gives it a gorgeous crunch that really add texture to the dish. These would be great served as finger food with a fresh tomato sauce or good quality pesto and some tooth picks to pick them up.

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Crispy Baked Ravioli (Serves 2)

250g fresh ravioli of any flavor (I used mozzarella, sundried tomato and basil)

1/2tbsp olive oil

1/2tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper

3/4 cup tomato sauce (I used this Tomato Sauce recipe)

salad etc, to serve

  • Preheat the oven to 200°c/395°f and grease and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the ravioli, cook for 2 1/2 mins.
  • Drain and return to the pot, drizzle with the olive oil and spread out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly with oregano.
  • Bake in the oven for 8-10mins or until the ravioli are just turning golden.
  • Heat up the tomato sauce if not already hot and serve alongside the crispy ravioli, enjoy.

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Honey Roast Tomato and Garlic Spaghetti

11 Jul

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It was so hot today! I think Ireland has actually moved location and is currently right on the equator, there is just no other possible explanation. But needless to say, I’m not complaining one little bit. I just love this weather and even more I love the way food tastes when you’re eating in this weather, eating outside with the sun warm on your skin and the dogs sprawled out at your feet… There is just something about it that is utter heaven to me.

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This is a really easy dish which is essential because we all know that the least amount of time in the kitchen when the weather is like this is a must. You could probably get this on the table in 15mins. It is bursting with flavors, try and get the best quality tomatoes you can as it will really make the meal. It is one of the simplest and most classic flavor combinations of tomato, garlic and spaghetti but will really make you wish you were in Italy! We all know Ireland is the net best thing at the moment though 🙂

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Honey Roast Tomato and Garlic Spaghetti (Serves 3)

30-35 ripe cherry tomatoes, on the vine preferably

1 large bulb garlic

4-5 thyme sprigs

2 rosemary sprigs

2-3tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2tbsp runny honey

salt and pepper

300g wholemeal spaghetti

parmesan and basil leaves, to serve

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f and place the cherry tomatoes in a oven proof dish, vines removed
  • Break the garlic into individual cloves, skin still on and add to the dish. Remove the herb leaves from the sprigs and also add to the dish.
  • Drizzle over the olive oil and honey and season with salt and pepper.
  • Use your hands to toss everything together and make sure all the tomatoes are coated.
  • Roast in the oven for 10-15mins until the tomatoes are starting to blister and the garlic is soft.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.
  • When the tomatoes are done, remove all the garlic from its skins. Gently mash the garlic and tomatoes with the back of a fork and add the spaghetti. Toss to coat everything and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Portion generously and top with parmesan and basil.

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Fusilli with Steamed Greens and Homemade Spinach Pesto

9 Jul

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After a long hot day at the beach, chasing the dogs around and tanning in the sun nobody ever wants to come home and slave over the stove for dinner. Today was such a day and when me and mom arrived in the door all we really wanted to do was have a siesta! This dinner was so perfect for today because it was on in a flash and uses only about 5 ingredients which is always a major bonus. You can use shop bought pesto but I would highly recommend making your own.

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This spinach pesto is so garlicky and punchy and it really just brings these simple ingredients together so amazingly that it would be a sin not to try it. I had my pesto pre-made and in a sterilized and sealed jar which was great but its not hard to put together anyway. This dish will definitely awaken your taste buds and is one of the best ways ever to end a great beach day. 🙂

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Fusilli with Steamed Greens and Homemade Spinach Pesto (Serves 2)

1/4 head broccoli, cut into little florets

a large handful of fresh green beans

200-250g fusilli

2tbsp Quick Homemade Spinach Pesto or similar

salt and pepper

parmesan shavings and salad, to serve

  • Put the pasta in a small pot and cover with boiling salted water until al dente.
  • Steam the broccoli and green beans in a steamer basket on the stove until tender.
  • Put all the greens and pasta in one pot and mix in the pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve scattered with parmesan.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

24 Mar

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I think it’s safe to say that spaghetti bolognese is a firm favorite in pretty much every household. It is such a comforting dish and  tastes like home, in my opinion. But the sad thing is that so many people make it with jarred sauce. It is nearly just as easy and quick to make it from scratch and the end product is a hundred times better, both in taste and health factor. It is also much cheaper then buying the convenience sauces and considerably lower in salt.Everything in this recipe is from the store cupboard except the veggies and meat, which means it is easy to throw together at the last minute. If you wanted to lower he fat content you could substitute turkey mince for the beef. Once you try this you’ll never go back to the jarred sauces!

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Spaghetti Bolognese (Serves 4)

1tbsp rapeseed oil

1 medium onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

350-450g lean minced beef

6-7 button mushrooms

1/2 green pepper, diced

3tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 heaped tsp tomato puree

1/2tsp dried oregano

1/2tsp dried basil

A pinch of chilli flakes

1/2tsp granulated sugar

Salt and pepper

200-300g spaghetti or other type of pasta

Crunchy mixed salad

  • Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
  • Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan and add the onion, garlic and minced beef. Fry until all the meat is completely cooked.
  • Pour in the Worcestershire sauce, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and mixed to combine.
  • Bring to the boil then transfer to a low/medium heat and simmer for about 5mins.
  • Meanwhile add in the oregano, basil, chilli and sugar and mix through. Season to taste.

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  • Serve hot over the spaghetti accompanied by the salad.

Turkey, Pasta and Lentil Hotpot

8 Mar

 

 

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For Sunday dinner we had a delicious turkey breast and even though it was absolutely yummy, we had lots of leftovers so I had to do something useful with it. So I kind of just started to chop the onions and then one thing led to another and I somehow finished with this. I have to say it was a wonderful success, even if it was totally unplanned. This dish has a lovely tomato sauce that has sweet and spicy notes which helps to warm you from the inside.

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Turkey and Lentil Hotpot (Serves 4)

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1tbsp rapeseed oil

4-5 button mushrooms, quartered

1/2 pepper, diced

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

200ml chicken stock

1/2tsp dried chilli flakes

1tsp sweet paprika

1tsp dried mixed herbs

3/4tsp granulated sugar

400g cooked turkey breasts, cut into strips

1 x 400g tin green lentils, drained

200g wholewheat pasta shapes

salt and pepper

parmesan shavings, to serve

  • Heat the oil in a large non-stick casserole dish and fry the onions and garlic for 3-4mins then add the mushrooms and green pepper and fry for a further 2mins.
  • Pour in the tinned tomatoes and chicken stock. Season with chilli flakes, paprika, mixed herbs and sugar. Mix to combine.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for about 5mins, add the turkey and lentils and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and add to the casserole dish.
  • Stir and serve hot with parmesan shavings, if you want.

 

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