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Spaghetti al limone

27 Apr

Simple enough to have on the table in fifteen minutes, fancy enough to serve to guests – spaghetti al limone is a great recipe to have up your sleeve.

Like most dishes with few ingredients, quality makes a difference here  – use the good olive oil, and a nice piece of Parmesan.

Having made spaghetti al limone regularly for twenty years now, my version has evolved somewhat from the original River Café recipe, and uses considerably less olive oil and cheese.

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Crab linguine

3 Nov

Crab linguine

This simple, delicious crab linguine takes me back to the week we spent camping in Cornwall, at the tip of the Lizard peninsula.

Once the seven-hour drive and rigamarole of pitching camp was behind us, we spent our days cliff walking, beach lazing, and body surfing, and our nights toasting marshmallows and sipping whisky round the campfire.

Before leaving London, I’d had the brainwave of freezing a few meals in large ziplock bags. These served as ice blocks for the cooler, keeping the milk and butter cool while they slowly thawed (a system that worked surprisingly well) until I heated them up on our little gas burner.

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Beef stroganoff

9 Oct

Beef stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is one of my life-long favourite meals – I can remember choosing it for my special birthday dinner.  I recently unearthed a class cookbook from first grade, and there in all its faded mimeographed glory was “Beef Stroganoff, by Andrea”.

Stroganoff was where my love affair with rosemary began. So I was genuinely stunned that in a survey of numerous beef stroganoff recipes online, not one of them included rosemary.

To my mind, rosemary is an integral part of the dish – it simply wouldn’t be stroganoff without it. (The poppy seeds on the noodles are non-negotiable as well.) Continue reading

Spaghetti puttanesca

30 Jul

Spaghetti puttanesca

Sugo alla puttanesca – or “whore’s sauce” – is a savoury, spicy, lip-smacking combination of tomatoes, chilli, capers, anchovies and olives. Usually served with spaghetti, I’d choose it over a bolognese sauce any day of the week.

The Neapolitan version of puttanesca doesn’t include anchovies, so I’ve listed them as optional. I love the depth of saltiness they bring to the dish (and once they’ve cooked down, the girls are blissfully unaware they’re in there) so I usually sneak some in.

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Penne amatriciana

8 Apr

Penne amatriciana

Pasta amatriciana is a classic Roman dish made with guanciale (cured pork cheek), tomatoes and chilli. Traditionally made with bucatini, I prefer it with penne and seldom use another pasta.

Guanciale being thin on the ground in these parts, I make mine with pancetta or even chopped bacon. Continue reading

Pasta alle zucchini

6 Jun

zucchini-egg-pasta

We were introduced to pasta alle zucchini by our lovely Roman friend Mariella. She was a bit dismissive when she served it for dinner one evening, describing it as simple family fare, but we found zucchini and egg to be a winning combination. Continue reading

Orecchiete with broccoli

16 May

Orecchiete with broccoli and anchovies

Orecchiete means “little ears” in Italian, which gave Lyra a bit of a scare. “Are they really made from ears?” she asked – knowing it’s just about possible I would serve her a bowl of ears in the interest of reproducing some authentic regional dish.

I could see her trying to work out which poor animal’s ears they could possibly be before I set her mind at ease. Continue reading