Once again, I totally fail at writing up the posts for all the yummy things I’ve been cooking. I’m going to try to be more organised about this but we may have to wait for the new year and resolutions before I follow through with that plan!
For now let me introduce a variation on one of my favourite themes: pasta, cream, mushrooms and bacon! There is very little that can go wrong with these ingredients no matter what you do, but when you add delicious sausage meatballs and a warm blush of chilli to the mix it is the perfect meal for a cold autumn night.
4 of your favourite sausages
2-3 tbsp olive oil
4 rashers of bacon, chopped or pancetta
150g closed cup or baby mushrooms, quartered if large
1-2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
200ml double cream
salt and pepper to taste
pasta to serve
– First remove the skins from your sausages and slice each sausage into 4, making little meatballs.
– Heat a few tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add the meatballs and cook over a medium heat until browned all over.
– Add the bacon and the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are just browned and the bacon is cooked through.
– Add the chilli and the cream and season to taste.
– Reduce to a low heat until the cream is heated through and just simmering.
– Simmer for 5 minutes until the cream thickens a little.
– Serve over pasta.
I think I originally saw this idea in a Sunday supplement or a Good Food magazine but the concept was so simple I just looked at it and moved on so I couldn’t swear to either. However, wherever it came from I liked the idea, tweaked it a bit and made it even more delicious! I tend to just wing this recipe, it is flexible and forgiving in the extreme. It also microwaves well for lunch at work! It’s not the most attractive dish out there but it fills a gap and hits the spot wonderfully, excellent family grub!
Serves 4 generously
Cooked Pasta (Use your judgement here as to your family’s appetite and how big your serving dish is.)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g beef mince
1 beef stock cube
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp herbes de provence
1x400g tin chopped tomatoes
~100g soft cheese (half a tub)
1 ball mozerella
300ml creme fraiche
parmesan or other grated cheese
– Get your pasta on to cook and preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.
– Heat a splash of oil in a meduim sized pan.
– Saute the onion and garlic for 3~5 minutes until soft.
– Add the beef and cook until browned.
– Add the stock cube (crumbled), tomato puree and herbes. Give it a little stir.
– Add the tinned tomatoes and passata. Stir thoroughly.
– Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
– Drain your pasta and tip it into a large casserole dish.
– Pour the sauce over it and stir it about to coat the pasta in sauce.
– Tear up the mozerella ball and dot chunks about amongst the pasta.
– Take a teaspoon and drop little spoonfuls of soft cheese amongst the pasta.
– Spoon dollops of the creme fraiche over the top of the pasta then use the back of the spoon to smooth it evenly over the top.
– Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan or cheddar.
– Pop it in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Over the summer I discovered just how easy it was to make my own pasta. I kept meaning to write out a step by step but somehow just never got around to it. Well, today is the day for clearing up loose ends so I thought I’d better get on with it! Also, I got a pasta machine for Christmas so I doubt I’ll be making it this way again. No doubt I’ll be posting another recipe for the machine method next year!
Now one of the great things about this recipe is that you can scale it up as you wish. You can also make extras, dry it and save it for later.
1 large egg
100g ’00’ pasta flour
Start with your flour and your egg.
– On a clean worksurface make a well in the flour and crack the egg into the centre.
– Use your fingers to work the egg into the flour until you have a dough.
Mix until it comes together as dough.
– Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is soft, supple and elastic.
– Leave the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
– Roll the dough out to a thickness of less than 1mm. It will swell when you cook it so make sure it is good and thin.
– Cut the dough into strips, you can use your rolling pin to keep the lines straight.
Roll out the dough.
– Separate out the strands of pasta and lay on a tea towel.
Dry the pasta.
– If you want to dry it for later use then it’s easiest to coil bundles of the pasta in nests until dry then store in an airtight box.
– Cook in boiling salted water for 6 minutes. Drain and serve as you wish.
End result: yummy pasta with whatever you like on top!