Gnocchetti Sardi Pasta with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

Gnocchetti Sardi Pasta with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

It has been a while since I’ve found an unusual pasta shape to cook with. I recently discovered the Gnocchetti Sardi pasta shape in Valentina Fine Foods, an Italian restaurant deli and have been itching to try it out in a new recipe.

After doing a little research online I discovered that this small tightly curved pasta with a ridged exterior is from Sardinia and was traditionally made by pressing the pasta dough onto the bottom of a wicker basket. Gnocchetti Sardi is also known as Malloreddus.

Gnocchetti Sardi with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

This incredibly easy pasta dish takes no time at all to prepare and makes a delicious lunchtime meal. I adore the vibrancy and punchy flavours from the rocket (arugula), basil, Parma ham and semi dried tomatoes, not forgetting the salty Parmesan cheese which seems to bring everything together. I ate my pasta whilst still warm but I think it would work equally well cold as a pasta salad ideal for a picnic.

Gnocchetti Sardi with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

Gnocchetti Sardi Pasta with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsGnocchetti with Parma Ham and Tomatoes

75g Gnocchetti Sardi pasta
1 tsp olive oil
2 slices Parma ham
50g semi dried tomatoes in olive oil
a handful of rocket (arugula)
a handful of basil
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese

Method

1. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente (11 minutes approximately).

2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Using a pair of scissors trim off the excess fat from the Parma ham and cut into bite size pieces, . Sauté the Parma ham in the oil until beginning to crisp.

3. Chop the basil and semi dried tomatoes into bite size pieces.

3. Drain the pasta and add to the Parma ham along with the semi dried tomatoes pieces. Warm through for about 30 seconds or so.

4. Off the heat stir in the rocket (arugula) and basil. Serve immediately with lots of grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Gnocchetti Sardi with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

If you are lucky enough to have an Italian deli nearby, I absolutely recommend you pay it a visit. Italian deli’s are fantastic places for tracking down a wide variety of pasta types, as well as cheeses, meats and breads.

Until next time.

Julie
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Rigatoni Beef Bolognese

Rigatoni Beef Bolognese

I’ve been making my own version of a beef bolognese sauce for a little while now. I’m not pretending it’s authentic but it tastes really good and I know that it’s much healthier than the jars of bolognese sauce you buy in the shops.

With three children and a husband to feed, sometimes I like to prepare the evening meal earlier in the day when the children are at school The bolognese sauce keeps and reheats well, so all I need to do is cook up a fresh batch of pasta. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s ideal for sneaking in a few more veggies. This time I’ve added finely diced courgette but sometimes I add sliced mushrooms instead. Hubby likes his bolognese with a bit of heat so I usually add a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes to our meal but keep the children’s meal chilli free. Sometimes, I add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to the sauce but that’s completely up to you.

Rigatoni Beef Bolognese

Rigatoni Beef Bolognese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 2hrs
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsRigatoni Beef Bolognese

1 onions
1 carrot
2 small sticks of celery or 1 large
1 courgette
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g mince beef (5% fat)
180ml red wine (I use a mini bottle of Merlot or Shiraz)
150ml passata
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt and black pepper
400g rigatoni pasta
Parmesan cheese to serve

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a large lidded casserole pan. Finely dice the onion, carrot, celery and courgette then sauté in the oil until beginning to soften this will take 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Add the mince beef to the pan and brown all over.

3. Add the wine and bring the bolognese to the boil, keep on a high heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently.

4. Then, add the chopped tomatoes, passata, balsamic vinegar (if using) and oregano. Season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid partially on for 1 hour or longer if possible. Stir every so often to check it’s not catching on the bottom of the pan.

5. Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente.

6. Drain the pasta and add to the casserole pan of bolognese sauce with a little of the pasta cooking water, stir on the heat to combine. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Rigatoni Beef Bolognese

Rigatoni Beef Bolognese

Hope you all are having a lovely Easter holiday with friends and family.

Until next time.

Julie
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Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti


Julie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

Wholegrain spelt spaghetti is a brilliant and tasty alternative to traditional wheat spaghetti. If you have never tried if before it tastes very similar to wholewheat spaghetti but has twice the fibre of standard pasta. I’ve teamed the spelt spaghetti with a light and creamy mushroom sauce made using one of my favourite magic ingredients, creme fraiche. My mushroom spelt spaghetti is an incredibly quick meal to rustle up, taking no longer than 10 minutes from start to finish.

I’ve used mini portabella mushrooms which I found in my local supermarket but if you can’t find them I’d suggest using chestnut mushrooms instead.

Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsJulie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

100g wholegrain spelt spaghetti
½ tablespoon olive oil
90g mini portabella mushrooms (peeled and sliced)
¼  teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoon half fat creme fraiche
salt and black pepper
Parmesan cheese to serve

Method

1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive in a frying pan and add the mushrooms. Add the dried oregano and season with salt and pepper.

3. When the mushrooms are cooked add the creme fraiche and stir well.

4. Add the cooked spaghetti and heat through. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a green mixed leaf salad on the side. Enjoy!

Julie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

Until next time.

Julie
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Green Veggie Spelt Spaghetti

Green Veggie Spelt Spaghetti

Last week I managed to find a real gem of a cookbook in a local charity shop, River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for only £1.50. Yes, you read it right, only £1.50! An absolute bargain and in pristine condition too. Feeling a little inspired by Hugh’s book, I made this quick and easy veggie pasta dish using a mix of frozen broad beans, edamame soya beans and peas for my lunch one day. It was really tasty and it felt good to go meat free for a change.

For this recipe I’ve used spelt spaghetti which tastes very similar to wholewheat spaghetti and has twice the fibre of standard pasta, so I really recommend you try it.

Green Veggie Spelt Spaghetti

Green Veggie Spelt Spaghetti

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 10mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsGreen Veggie Spelt Spaghetti

100g wholegrain spelt spaghetti
100g frozen mix of broad beans, edamame soya beans and peas
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 tablespoon half fat creme fraiche
Salt and black pepper
Parmesan cheese (grated)

Method.

1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook the spelt spaghetti and frozen mixed beans and peas.

2. Cook the spaghetti until it is al dente, then drain the spaghetti and vegetables and return to the pan.

3. Stir through the pesto, creme fraiche and a grinding of black pepper.

4. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Green Veggie Spelt Spaghetti

Until next time.

Julie
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I’ve entered this recipe into #CookBlogShare at Supergolden Bakes.

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Bolognese Pasta Bake

Bolognese Pasta Bake

Now the evenings are drawing in and there’s a little chill in the air at night, it’s lovely to come home to a bowl of comforting pasta. So when Sainsbury’s asked food bloggers to get creative using some of their SO Organic own label range for #OrganicSeptember, I thought it would be a good idea to make a Bolognese Pasta Bake. With over 250 SO Organic products available, there’s plenty to choose from. My Bolognese Pasta Bake has a rich and intense meaty bolognese sauce flavoured with Cabernet Sauvignon and oregano. It was a real success with all the family, so I’m pleased to be sharing it with you.

Bolognese Pasta Bake

Bolognese Pasta Bake

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 2hrs
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsBolognese Pasta Bake

2 small onions*
1 large carrot*
4 medium mushrooms*
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g mince beef (15% fat)*
150ml Cabernet Sauvignon* or other red wine
250ml passata*
400g chopped tinned tomatoes*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar*
Salt and black pepper
400g penne pasta*
50g mature cheddar cheese*
25g Parmesan cheese

*From the SO Organic range

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a large lidded casserole pan. Finely dice the onions and carrot, then sauté in the oil until beginning to soften.

2. Chop the mushrooms into quarter slices and then add to the pan. Add the mince beef and brown all over.

3. Add the wine and bring the bolognese to the boil, keep on a high heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently.

4. Then, add the chopped tomatoes, passata, balsamic vinegar and oregano. Season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid partially on for 1 hour. Stir every so often to check it’s not catching on the bottom of the pan.

5. Meanwhile, cook the penne pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for about 8 to 10 minutes (you want the pasta under done).

6. Pre heat the oven to Fan 180c. Drain the pasta and add to the casserole pan of bolognese sauce, stir to combine. Grate the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and then sprinkle on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the top begins to crisp. Enjoy with a green salad and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bolognese Pasta Bake

To make life a bit easier the pasta bake can be prepared earlier in the day and stored in the fridge until ready to bake. I’d suggest increasing the baking time to ensure it is heated through properly.

Bolognese Pasta Bake

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: Sainsbury’s sponsored me to write this blog post and provided me with a selection of SO Organic ingredients. All opinions are honest and my own. The recipe is my own.

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I’ve entered this recipe into #CookBlogShare at Supergolden Bakes.

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Pasta Masterclass with Giovanni Rana

Giovanni Rana Pasta Masterclass

I was totally thrilled when I received an email saying that I’d won a place for me and a guest at a Pasta Masterclass with Giovanni Rana in his London restaurant. The competition was organised in conjunction with Foodies 100 and required entrants to create a dish using Giovanni Rana’s Italian Indulgence fresh pasta. Take a peek at the my competition entry, Chicken with Rosemary Ravioli with Tomato, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce.

My mum and I headed into London to the Giovanni Rana restaurant located in the newly developed area of Regent’s Place. The restaurant is contemporary styled and perfect for a city lunch or family meal. I didn’t realise but I managed to snap Mr Rana sitting down when I took the photo of the outside of the restaurant.

Mr Rana lives in Verona, Italy and had come over especially for these masterclasses. He doesn’t speak any English but his very lovely daughter in law Antonella acted as translator and demonstrator for the class. We were shown how simple it was to combine two ingredients, flour and eggs and turn them into fresh pasta dough.

Giovanni Rana Restaurant

It was great fun participating in a small and friendly class environment, I really felt that I learnt a lot about making fresh pasta by hand. As I kneaded the dough, Mr Rana who was stood next to me said ‘Perfetto’, which I was delighted with.

As were going to make tortellini and ravioli, we made a tasty filling of fresh spinach and ricotta cheese. We then proceeded to roll out the dough into a large circle and cut out smaller circles for the tortellini to fill and shape. We later made ravioli using the same filling. For some reason I found the tortellini much easier to learn, so I’m planning on creating my own recipe soon.

As a wonderful treat we then dined in the restaurant enjoying an amazing three course meal and of course a glass or two of wine.

Our starter was a selection of Italian cured meats and cheeses served with a fruit chutney, which was sublime. I also got to try Porchetta for the first time.

For my main, I opted for the Pappardelle with Duck Ragu as I’d heard duck ragu was delicious. I wasn’t disappointed, it tasted divine and was not like any other ragu I had eaten before.

We were then brought a selection of sweet filled ravioli, one of which had an apple sauce filling that was simple gorgeous and a chocolate filled ravioli too. Then, followed a tasty apple cake and a chocolate lovers dream dessert, a jam jar filled with white chocolate panna cotta.

After an inspiring and truly enjoyable day, we didn’t leave empty handed we were given a fab goodie bag filled with lots of wonderful products. Thank you so much to Giovanni Rana, Antonella Rana, everyone at the Giovanni Rana restaurant, Wildcard and Foodies 100 for the most incredible experience.

I’m hoping that I can make some fresh pasta very soon, so watch this space.

Until next time.

Julie
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Chicken with Rosemary Ravioli served with Tomato, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce

Chicken and rosemary ravioli

I was travelling home from an amazing day trip to Borough Market, sat on a busy train reading my twitter timeline when I came across a tweet from Foodies 100 about the Giovanni Rana Recipe Challenge. As regular blog readers will know, pasta is a bit of a passion of mine and when I read that the prize was a one to one fresh pasta masterclass with Giovanni Rana, I just had to enter.

To enter the competition I was required to create an original recipe using a product from the Giovanni Rana Italian Indulgence pasta range. I opted to use the succulent chicken and rosemary ravioli, as I really liked the sound of the flavours. To accompany the ravioli I made a tasty tomato, mushroom and rosemary sauce.

Chicken and rosemary ravioli

Chicken and rosemary ravioli

The fresh ravioli filling was delicious and moist. My tomato sauce, with earthy mushrooms and fresh rosemary from my garden complemented the ravioli well. I was delighted with the overall finished dish and my family enjoyed it too.

Chicken with Rosemary Ravioli served with Tomato, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsChicken and rosemary ravioli

2 x 250g packs Giovanni Rana Italian Indulgence succulent chicken with rosemary large ravioli

Tomato, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce.

1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium mushrooms (peeled and sliced)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
Sea salt
Black pepper

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese (optional), garlic ciabatta and salad.

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a large lidded saucepan and then sauté the onion in the oil until beginning to soften.

2. Add the mushrooms and rosemary, sauté until the mushrooms begin to reduce.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then simmer with the lid partially on for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook the ravioli in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 4 minutes.

5. Carefully drain and arrange the ravioli in pasta bowls. Spoon over the sauce and finish off with grated Parmesan cheese if you like. Serve with garlic ciabatta and salad. Enjoy!

Chicken and rosemary ravioli

Wish me luck, until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I received vouchers for Giovanni Rana Pasta to create my own recipe, which I’m entering into a competition with Giovanni Rana and Foodies 100. The prize is a fresh pasta master class with Giovanni Rana.

Chorizo and Spinach Tagliatelle

Chorizo and spinach tagliatelle

This chorizo and spinach tagliatelle pasta dish has become one of my go to recipes when I need to cook something quick and tasty. Paprika infused chorizo, green goodness from the spinach and a little heat from the chilli flakes make this sauce a winner for me. Plus, it gets a big thumbs up from my husband too.

I always have packs of pre diced chorizo in the fridge and a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer, making this a great option if I’ve not had time to go shopping. I use the whole leaf frozen spinach which is usually frozen in cubes, typically one cube weighs about 25g so I use 4 cubes.

Chorizo and spinach tagliatelle

Here’s the recipe for Chorizo and Spinach Tagliatelle.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

200g tagliatelle
1 small onion (diced)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
75g diced cooking chorizo
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
100g frozen spinach whole leaf (usually 4 cubes)
black pepper

Method

1. Heat the oil olive in a large lidded casserole pan. Then sauté the onion until soft.

2. Add the diced chorizo. Cook the chorizo on a medium heat until it starts to crisp and release the paprika oils.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, chilli flakes, frozen spinach cubes and a good grinding of black pepper.

4. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on partially for 20 minutes. Stir every so often and break up the frozen spinach as it defrosts in the sauce.

5. Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve a small cup of the pasta cooking water.

6. Drain the tagliatelle and add to the sauce along with a splash of the pasta cooking water. Stir and heat through for 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Chorizo and spinach tagliatelle

This recipe evolved from my Gnocchi with Chorizo, Spinach and Tomato Sauce, so if you like this tagliatelle recipe I recommend you try the gnocchi too.

My blogging friend Mel at Le Coin De Mel has an equally delicious recipe for Chorizo Pasta also, do check out her beautiful blog and recipe.

Until next time.

Julie
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Salmon Orzo Salad

Salmon Orzo Salad

Since I discovered that lemon and chilli go brilliantly together I’ve been experimenting with the pairing in a few different recipes. When I posted a recipe recently for Spelt Spaghetti with Petit Pois and Prawns, I received a comment from Sarah suggesting substituting the prawns for salmon. What a fantastic idea I thought! Therefore this salmon recipe is somewhat evolved from that original recipe of mine.

I’ve oven roasted the salmon in a lemon and chilli marinade, which is so incredibly easy. It really gives the salmon a lovely lemon taste with a little heat from the chilli flakes. The roasted salmon is then flaked into cooked orzo pasta with a good handful of peppery rocket stirred in too. It couldn’t be simpler.

Salmon Orzo Salad

Ingredients (Serves 1 easily doubled)

175g salmon fillet (boneless)
1/2 lemon juice and zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon chilli flakes
A pinch of sea salt
75g orzo pasta
A good handful of rocket leaves
Black pepper

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to Fan 180c.

2. Place the salmon fillet on a large piece of foil.

3. Make the marinade by putting the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, chilli flakes and salt in a clean jam jar or lidded container. Seal with the lid on and shake well.

4. Pour the marinade over the salmon. Bring the foil edges together and seal well to form a parcel. Roast the salmon for 15 minutes until cooked through.

5. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain when cooked and return the orzo back to the saucepan.

6. Flake in the salmon and add the rocket. Add a tiny amount of the marinade (not too much otherwise it will be too oily) and a good grinding of black pepper then stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Salmon Orzo Salad

Salmon Orzo Salad

I recommend you try this salmon orzo salad with a glass of chilled white wine making it perfect for sultry summer evenings.

Until next time.

Julie
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Spelt Spaghetti with Petit Pois and Prawns

Spelt Spaghetti with Peas and Prawns

To satisfy my curiosity (or in other words my obsession with pasta) I had to try wholegrain spelt spaghetti when I saw it on the shelves of my local supermarket. Containing twice the fibre of regular pasta, I thought it was worth a try for the health benefits alone. I’ve teamed the spelt spaghetti with king prawns and sweet petit pois. The dish is flavoured with fiery chilli flakes, zingy fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil. It’s a really light summery dish that I’ll be eating lots more of in the warmer months to come.

Spelt spaghetti with peas and prawns

Ingredients (Serves 1 easily doubled)

100g wholegrain spelt spaghetti
75g frozen petit pois or garden peas
90g cooked king prawns
1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
1/8 teaspoon chilli flakes
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water cook the spelt spaghetti and petit pois until the spaghetti is al dente.

2. Reserve a small cup of the cooking water and then drain. Return the spaghetti and petit pois back to the pan.

3. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, chilli flakes, king prawns, extra virgin olive oil and a splash of the spaghetti cooking water. Season with salt and pepper, then stir again. Serve immediately.

Spelt Spaghetti with Peas and Prawns

Spelt spaghetti with peas and prawns

If you regularly buy wholewheat pasta, you’ll be familiar with the nutty taste it has, I would say the same of spelt spaghetti so for me it’s an easy substitution to make. I definitely recommend you try it for yourself. Do bear in mind it is not gluten free and if you are want other spelt pasta shapes the best place to find them are in health food shops.

Until next time.

Julie
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