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.
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.
This was really the Pièce de résistance of the whole meal. It is actually quite a simple dish but looks so impressive. You could do this with any small squash that will stand up on its own (so Harlequin is out!) or you could do it with a larger kabocha as a main dish and serve it in bowls. I think that the individual squash are much more impressive though. When choosing your butternuts go for the smallest, best looking ones you can find and make sure they don’t fall over! I had to go to 3 supermarkets to find the right size so forward planning is vital. Luckily squash keep well so if you see them, snap them up! I have much-loved gratin dishes but if you’re careful you could bake them in a larger dish then transfer to bowls to serve.
Serves 3 (just increase the amount of cream to fill whatever you’re filling)
3 small butternut squash
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp thyme leaves
– Heat the oven to gas mark 2.
– Prepare the squash by slicing in half and scooping out the seeds.
– Place the squash in a baking dish.
– Heat the cream, milk, garlic and thyme in a pan and season well. Heat through until piping hot.
– Pour into the prepared squash.
– Put the lids back on and pour a splash of water into the bottom of the dish to stop it sticking.
– Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn up to Gas mark 6 for the last 15 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes before serving with fresh bread. (These are very, very hot straight from the oven!)
For those wondering you eat it by scooping the flesh of the squash out into the cream. You can then eat it with chunks or somehow mush it up to be orange soup as my mum did. How she did it with a just spoon I’m unclear but she was happy! Dipping warm bread rolls in it was sublime too!
An interesting variation would be to add some chopped chilli to the cream for a spicier alternative.
Filed under Easy, Starters
This recipe was actually for spinach gnocchi, however, despite following the recipe to the letter when the time cake to cook the gnocchi it was evident that in no way was this going to work! I tried a few anyway and I was right, these were never going to be gnocchi. So I grabbed a baking dish and deposited it all in there, grated some cheddar and parmesan on top and bunged it all in the oven for 25 minutes. Sorted! It turned out to be a surprisingly good bake so no harm. I will be trying another recipe for gnocchi in the future but not for a while I think! For a picture see the previous post.
Serves 6-8 (depends how much you like spinach!)
150g parmesan, grated
3 tbsp flour
50g grated cheddar
– Rinse the spinach and put it in a large pan with the lid on for a few minutes until it has wilted. You may have to do this in batches.
– Turn out into a collander and press out all of the water.
– Return to the pan and add the ricotta and butter. Heat through until the butter has melted and all is combined.
– Remove from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well.
– Spoon into a baking dish and chill for 30 minutes. (The chilling may or may not be necessary for a bake but I was trying to make gnocchi so see what happens!)
– Sprinkle the top with the cheeses and bake at gas mark 6 for 25 minutes until the cheese is golden.