Tag Archives: basil

Summer in Winter

At least I think that’s what the recipe called it.  I kept the name but altered the recipe a fair bit.  The idea of it was basically summery flavours in the depths of winter but these days that’s not so odd I guess!  Who knows what you call it in the summer!  It made a delicious dinner anyway and only took about 30 minutes to make.  It even kept warm very well as dinner was delayed by another 30 minutes.  I had everything ready by 8pm then kept the pasta covered with a tea towel in a warm oven and reheated the sauce and put it together when everyone was there. 


Serves 4-6

4 chicken breasts either whole or in strips*
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
~200g baby plum tomatoes, halved
200g soft cheese
~400ml creme fraiche
1 tbsp grated hard cheese/parmesan
~6 fresh basil leaves, shredded
2 salad tomatoes, sliced
pasta to serve

– Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and cook the chicken until just browned. 
– Get your pasta going. 
– Push the chicken to one side and add the garlic, fry in the space for a minute then stir through the chicken. 
– Add the halved tomatoes and cook for one minute. 
– Add the soft cheese, creme fraiche, hard cheese and parmesan. 
– Stir until combined.  If it seems a little thick add a little water from the pasta. 
– Grill the tomato slices until just starting to blacken in places. 
– Serve on top of pasta garnishing with the sliced tomatoes.

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Pasta with Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

This dinner was very much invented as I went along.  I didn’t want to have to buy anything extra, which would have meant driving to town, so I had to work with what was in the cupboards.  I decided on a simple tomato sauce, having tasted some lovely ones in Italy, and pasta.  Then I decided that just the bacon in the focaccia wasn’t protein enough for me and went on the hunt for some meat.  I came up with half a forgotten bag of Ikea meatballs.  I love Ikea meatballs!  No matter what I do I can never seem to make Swedish Meatballs any where near as good as the Ikea ones.  I’ve run out now so an Ikea trip is in my future!

The recipe is for the tomato sauce alone, just serve over pasta and any meatballs of your choosing or just with pasta if you want something simpler.  The day I perfect my Swedish meatballs you can guarantee I’ll post it here!

Pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce

Tomato Sauce:

a knob of butter
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2x4oog tins of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp sugar*
12 grinds of pepper
a pinch of salt
a handful of basil leaves, shredded

– Melt the butter in a deep pan with a small splash of oil to stop it burning. 
– Add the garlic and stir until just starting to brown. 
– Add the tinned tomatoes, the tomato puree, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. 
– Bring to the boil and simmer gently for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer until the sauce is reduced and quite thick. 
– Add the shredded basil leaved 15 minutes before serving and stir through. 

*Use your own judgement when flavouring things, these tomatoes needed the extra sugar but yours may not, always taste first.  If something just isn’t quite right then I find what’s usually called for is a small pinch of salt as in this case. 

I have another tomato sauce recipe that is a lot chunkier and just differently flavoured here.  I like both equally but this one is perhaps closer to the bog standard Italian tomato sauce you get over there.

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