Recipes, Savoury

Rigatoni Pie

rigatoni pie logo.jpgWe absolutely love pasta in our household. We try not to eat it often but sometimes we go all out, like with this marvellous creation. The pie holds together so well when it’s rested and cooled slightly, so it’s easy to portion out the same amount to each person. Or you could just sit there and eat the whole thing on your own…

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of Hidden Veg Bolognese
  • 500g  rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella

 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºc. While the oven is preheating, bring a pot of water to the boil and salt the water. Add the rigatoni and cook for about 5-6 minutes, so it’s pliable but not cooked through, then drain.
  2. While the pasta is hot, toss about 2 tablespoons of parmesan into the pasta so that it melts. This will act like a glue and also gives the pasta a great flavour.
  3. Once pasta is cool enough to touch, grab a cake pan (a 22cm spring form cake pan is ideal), place a little hidden veg bolognese sauce on the bottom and start assembling your pie. Start by standing the pasta up  around the outside of the cake pan and work your way in. You’ll need every bit of pasta, so squeeze them all in wherever you can.
  4. Start ladling on the hidden veg bolognese sauce, and tapping the pan on the bench so that the sauce goes down the holes. Keep pouring the sauce on bit by bit until you can no longer see any air bubbles popping up. Cover the pan with foil and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the foil and add on the mozzarella and the rest of the parmesan cheese and bake for a further 30-35 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Let the pie rest for about 15-20 minutes so that it has time to settle. Unclip the pan, slice and serve.
Recipes, Savoury

Homemade Pasta Dough

pasta dough logo        Makes approximately 600g of pasta.

Pasta is always a great, easy dinner. Sure you can buy some great “fresh” pasta from your supermarket. But why, when it’s so easy and cheap to make it yourself in a standard food mixer?

Fresh is always best!

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups 00 flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • Water

 

Method:

  1. Place the flour, egg and salt into a mixing bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment first. Place onto a low speed for about 60 seconds. Then in 1/2 tablespoon increments add water. You want the dough to come together but not to be wet.
  2. Change the flat beater to a dough hook and on a low speed let it knead for 2 minutes.  Then place it onto a lightly floured bench and knead by hand for 2 more  minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. Then divide dough into 4 portions and put through a pasta roller to make sheets of pasta perfect for lasagne, or you could then put the sheets through a spaghetti attachment to have with your bolognese sauce!
  3. After rolling your pasta out, be sure to use flour or semolina to keep them from sticking together. Have a big pot of boiling salted water handy and place the pasta into the pot and cook till tender, anywhere between 3-6 minutes. Drain and drizzle with olive oil to avoid pasta sticking.

 

Recipes, Savoury

Hidden Veg Bolognese

spag bol sauce logo.jpgServes 4

My fiancée is one of the fussiest eaters I know and really doesn’t enjoy eating a lot of veg. Occasionally I’ll find ways of adding veg into our meals (with him knowing of course) so we both still get some of our 5 a day. This recipe is one of the best bolognese sauces I have created to date.  If you’re a parent with fussy little ones, or even a fussy partner like me, this will please everyone!

 

Ingredients:

  • Oil
  • 500g good beef mince
  • 500g pork and veal mince
  • 1 large carrot, grated or 2 small carrots
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), grated
  • 3 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 400g tins of diced tomatoes
  • 1 700ml jar passata
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • salt and pepper

 

Method:

  1. Heat a large heavy based pot over a medium high heat and add about 1 tablespoon of oil and brown off all the mince, making sure you season with some salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the meat out into a bowl and then drain the fat and juices from the pot. Set meat aside.
  2. Turn heat down to a medium heat and add another tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and celery first and a little salt and cook till slightly softened. Then add the rest of the vegetables and garlic with the pinch of chilli flakes if you’re using them. Continue to cook the veg until sweated down and softened.
  3. Return the mince to the pot with the vegetables and then add the tinned tomatoes, passata, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, fresh basil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix thoroughly, turn down to low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes-1 hour (the longer the better).
  4. Taste the sauce and decide whether you need more salt, pepper or sugar. Add the milk and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and with a stick blender just give the sauce a quick blitz to the consistency you desire.
    Enjoy with spaghetti, or even use the sauce for a lasagne.
Recipes, Savoury

Pesto Chicken Pasta Bake

pesto chicken pasta bake logo.jpgServes about 4 people

This makes a great quick weeknight meal. So delish, cheap and quick, everyone will love it! This works best with a chunky home made pesto, otherwise a good quality shop bought one will be fine also.

Ingredients:

  • 500g Penne pasta, fresh or dried is fine
  • 1 Small jar of basil pesto, or you could even use a sun dried tomato pesto
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella

Method

  1. Grease a baking dish and preheat oven to 200ºc. Cook pasta till just under cooked (it will continue to cook in the oven) and  keep about 2/3 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, or in the same pot you boiled the pasta in mix together the pesto, chicken and pasta water and transfer to the greased baking dish and top with the mozzarella. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden.
  3. Let it cool for about 10-15 minutes and serve with garlic bread.
Recipes, Savoury

Gnocchi

gnocchi

Serves:4

I love making homemade gnocchi. I find it very therapeutic. These are like soft pillows of heaven and they pair beautifully with any kind of pasta sauce. I personally prefer to serve these with pesto and cream, or with burnt butter and sage sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Desiree potatoes
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 200g-300g 00 flour sifted

 

Method:

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and fill with water and cover. Bring to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a medium heat and continue to cook till soft which will take about 25-30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, peel them and pass through a potato ricer or food mill into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt, add the egg, 200g of the flour and gently mix through. Add additional flour only as needed until the dough is very soft but cohesive.
  4. Roll the dough lightly onto a floured surface and add a little more flour if it’s still sticky. Divide the dough into 4 portions and lightly roll the dough into sausages, but be careful not to overwork the dough.
  5. Cut into bite sized pieces and place onto floured tray. This part is optional, if you have a gnocchi board (or you could use the back of a fork) use your thumb to flick the gnocchi into little ridged shapes.
  6. Place the gnocchi in batches into the boiling water. Cook until the gnocchi floats to the top, this means they’re done (this only takes about 60 seconds).

Note: The 00 flour is a finer flour which makes for a lighter dough, and doesn’t allow for as much moisture to be absorbed.

Don’t knead your gnocchi too much as they’ll become tough. Try and gently move it into shape using your finger tips.