Tag Archives: pasta please

Embarrassingly Belated Pasta Please Roundup Post

I am so, so sorry.  No sooner had Politics Madness come to an end than I found myself plunged into Singing Madness – because of course December is singing season for church musicians like myself.  My best friend visited last weekend and commented on the fact that I was out singing on all three nights – and I had to tell her that this was actually a fairly relaxing weekend compared to the last two, on which I had also been out singing completely different things during the day as well…

We had a small but delicious collection of posts this month, no doubt due to a combination of being intimidated by home-made pasta, and, let’s be frank, my negligence in promoting this challenge properly.  Jacqueline, you have my apologies and I will plan better next time, if you ever let me host again!

As it happens, all three recipes this month are gluten free, dairy free, nut-free, and vegetarian, and two of them are vegan.  An impressive effort!

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Pasta Please: Make Your Own

I’m excited to be hosting the Pasta Please food blogging challenge this month. This is a challenge created by Jacqueline of  Tinned Tomatoes, to celebrate the glory of pasta in all its myriad mutations!


(Sorry, I’ve been listening to science seminars for two days straight.  My language may have developed some variant strains as a result.)

Given my love affair with asparagus, I was tempted – oh so very tempted – to make Asparagus the theme of the month.  But since Jacqueline is in Britain, and many, many of you lovely readers and fellow pasta fiends are also in the Northern hemisphere, this seemed a little bit mean.  Sort of like bragging about the three kilos of asparagus I bought at a farmers’ market recently.  Three kilos!  Whee!

Oops.  I may have bragged a bit there.

So no, the theme will not be asparagus, though you can be sure my recipe will feature it heavily when I get to that point.  Instead, I thought it might be fun to get down to the real basics of a pasta challenge, and invite you to

Make Your Own Pasta

This does not have to mean a pasta machine.  Gnocchi can be made by hand, with a potato masher or even a fork – or, if you are like my Nonna, just with flour and water and your thumb on a wooden board.  Ravioli and tortellini, while fiddly, can be made by anyone with good pastry skills (i.e., not me) on a large table with a good rolling pin and a round cookie cutter, pastry wheel, or just a sharp knife.  For those who like to embrace the raw, vegetable or even fruit noodles can be made with a vegetable spiraliser, and tagliatelle with a vegetable peeler. Continue reading

Recipe: Gnocchi with Broccoli pesto and Tomatoes two ways

Ooh, tomatoes two ways.  So MasterChef, don’t you think?  But one of the points of this recipe really is that one gets to treat the tomatoes essentially as two separate ingredients with separate tastes – the slow-roasted tomatoes (and yes, I know I’m obsessed with these at present) are sweet and deep in flavour, and raw tomatoes are fresh and light and a bit more acidic.  Yum.  As a bonus, you get to use up some of the zucchini which are hopefully taking over your garden in tandem with the tomatoes.  Mine aren’t actually taking over yet, but I live in hope.  And I do seem to be nicely off for zucchinis at present.

And then you top the whole glorious thing off with a big glob (or quenelle, if you are feeling fancy) of broccoli pesto, which has the quadruple advantage of looking good, tasting excellent, adding a bit of protein to your life, and, best of all, not needing to be stirred through the pasta!  (Seriously, has anyone ever achieved a home-made pesto which was actually sufficiently non-solid in texture that it didn’t destroy the pasta or else just sit there in petulant little clumps, mocking you for attempting to stir it through?)

It’s good stuff.

This recipe turns out to serve three people, with rather a lot of pesto left over.  Such a shame – you’ll have to have the reset of it on your beetroot gnocchi tomorrow night…


Your shopping list

450 g cherry tomatoes, preferably from your garden and in assorted colours
5 big roma tomatoes
olive oil, salt, pepper
1 head of broccoli
50 g pine nuts
25 g pistachios
115 g basil puree from a tube
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50 g parmesan
500 g gnocchi
4 zucchini, any kind

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Pasta Please Pasta Al Forno Roundup!

During August, I was the host for the Pasta Please challenge. (And when I phrase it like that, it sounds like a parasite, but every time I try to re-phrase it, it sounds subtly awkward and ungrammatical…) This challenge is organised by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes, and I decided to go with everyone’s favourite lazy winter meal – the Pasta Bake (or, as I like to grandly call it, Pasta Al Forno).

Despite my being a somewhat absentee hostess this month, we ended up with six recipes, all vegetarian, and all completely different to each other.  I have to say, it was absolutely fascinating to see what other people come up with when they do pasta bakes.  I always think of myself as the lazy pasta bake girl, but I also think of myself as using a pretty wide variety of combinations.  Most of these, though, would never have occurred to me to try… but now, I can hardly wait!

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Recipe: Autumnal Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin, Mushrooms and Gorgonzola

closeYou’ve got to love Melbourne’s climate.  Here we are in the middle of winter, outside it looks like spring, and at the Farmers’ Market, it’s mushrooms and pumpkins, just as though we were in autumn.  Go, Melbourne!  You’ll confuse us all yet…

This particular pasta bake packs quite a strong punch – stronger than I intended, really, due to the exuberance of the portobello mushrooms which are currently stinking out the house to an alarming degree (I do like portobello mushrooms, but smell-wise, they are drowning out everything else).  But just in case the situation was insufficiently stinky, we have the gorgonzola to back it up.  After all that, you need the sweet pumpkin and onions and the bland pasta to cope.

Pongy cheese aside, it tastes great.  I love the softness of the pumpkin and the crunch of the breadcrumbs, and the flavours have a rich earthiness to them – this is very much the sort of meal that obviates any need for meat.

A green salad, on the other hand, or a glass of orange juice, would go down a treat.  Because when I said that this was rich, I meant it…

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Pasta Please: Pasta al Forno!


Baby, it’s cold outside, so let’s have some warming pasta bakes!

I’m excited to host this month’s Pasta Please challenge, founded and run by the delightful Jacqueline, who blogs over at Tinned Tomatoes.  I’m especially delighted by this because August is a cold, dark, tired sort of month, calling for both comfort food and the sort of food that I can make without thinking (I just typed ‘without sleeping’, which is quite the Freudian slip and probably also true).  In other words, pasta.

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Recipe: Lentil, Mushroom & Cashew Bolognese That Really Tastes Alarmingly Like the Meaty Kind

pasta3Honestly, I’m so ridiculously pleased with myself right now.  I’ve tried the odd lentil bolognese or lentil moussaka recipe before, and the results have been entirely edible and all, but this one actually tastes like the real thing.  Well, my version of the real thing – it’s been a standing joke in my circle of friends for a while that my standard bolognese recipe is practically vegetarian, because the meat gets so thoroughly outnumbered by all the tomatoes and red wine and onions and herbs…

Anyway, this is good, hearty, winter food (which is to say, I put what I thought was a standard-sized helping on a plate and it was *way* too much, though the wholemeal pasta probably added to that effect), just right for a rainy night, and pretty straightforward to make.  It’s also the sort of recipe I’d make if I were trying to feed vegetarian food to someone who really doesn’t like meals that don’t have meat in them – it somehow gains a meaty flavour from the cashews and mushrooms and red wine.

Did I mention that I’m really, really impressed with myself about this dish?  Because I am…

Your Shopping List

8 sun-dried tomatoes – the kind you buy dry, not in oil
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
dried herbs and spices of your choice, but probably rosemary, thyme, black pepper, oregano, chilli, marjoram – I used rosemary and thyme plus a pasta and pizza blend from Gewürzhaus, but I think that everyone has their own idea of what bolognese herbs and spices are supposed to be, so this is very much your call
125 g mushrooms (one or two large ones would work best)
1 cup of cashews
400 g tinned tomatoes (chopped or whole)
90 ml tomato paste
250 g red lentils
200 ml red wine
300 ml water

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