Tag Archives: pasta

Recipe: Easy pasta with chicken and optional kittens

This is a recipe I posted on my personal blog back in 2003, when Mystery and Mayhem were still kittens.  The idea was to have a pasta recipe that was done by the time the pasta was cooked.  This recipe can, of course, be made vegetarian with feta replacing the chicken, and these days I might also make it vegan with chickpeas and a little chilli for zing.

I’m re-posting this recipe today for several reasons.  First, Mystery has not come home, and at this point, we are inclined to think that we have lost her.  I have written a memorial post for her on Cate Speaks, but I remembered this post, and thought it made a fitting memorial to put on a food blog.

Second, I have tendonitis, so typing is painful, and this recipe comes pre-typed.

Thirdly, it turns out that cooking is even more painful than typing, so I’m probably not going to be writing much here in the next little while.  I wanted to explain my probable absence in advance for a change.

Your shopping list

1/2 barbecued chicken
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
2 roma tomatoes
1 green capsicum
1 bunch basil
200g sundried tomato pesto (the ‘stir a whole bottle through pasta’ kind, not the ‘use two teaspoons worth’ kind)
Dried oregano and black pepper to taste
300g vegeroni sprial pasta
Two black and white kittens (optional garnish) Continue reading

Recipe: Pasta with Chickpeas and Greens

This is a recipe I made way back in August after being given a big bunch of broad bean leaves  – I didn’t even know they were edible.  It’s a nice, simple, wholesome dinner recipe, good for Boxing Day, when you just want something plain and not too rich and reasonably healthy to eat.

You can use any greens you have in the garden – wild greens, tromboncino zucchini greens, Warrigal greens, silverbeet – whatever.  Or you can use supermarket greens.  120g is a standard packet size for a lot of things like rocket and baby spinach.  Just get a good mix – 2-3 big bunches worth – chop them roughly and off you go.


Your Shopping List

olive oil
4 garlic cloves (I mean it!)
1 tbsp chilli flakes (I mean that, too!)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp italian herbs (or just oregano)
salt, pepper
120 g baby kale
120 g baby spinach
1 bunch broad bean leaves
400 g chickpeas, tinned (drain and use the water for meringues!)
300 g pasta
80 g pine nuts
parmesan to serve

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Recipe: Accidental Arrabbiatta Pasta

This is the pasta I made for dinner while staying with R in Bergen.  It was actually really lovely, just a lot spicier than I intended so it seemed worth recording.  Alas, I have no photographs of this recipe, but I figure that anyone reading this blog is probably getting more than enough photos at present, what with farmers’ markets and endless Travel Diary posts, so I hope you can survive without.

What makes this sauce good, in my view, is the combination of cooked tomatoes and fresh, uncooked tomatoes.  I was aiming for an even brighter combination with some sun dried tomato paste as well, but the tomato paste turned out to be chillis in disguise (yes, I probably should have noticed this, but I was so excited to be in a kitchen.  And the bottle wasn’t labelled.  And I cook by smell, not taste…), so if you don’t like spicy sauces, give that a try instead.  It will taste fantastic either way.


Your Shopping List

olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano
7 big tomatoes, preferably all in different colours
300g assorted cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp preserved chopped chilli in oil (it’s not quite a paste, and not chunks in oil, either – but it’s very, very finely chopped chilli and there is definitely olive oil. You will know it when you see it)
1 tin chickpeas
350 g penne pasta
parmesan, to serve

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Recipe: Ravioli with Romesco Sauce and Lemony Broccoli

I don’t even dare look at my blog to see how many weeks have gone by since I’ve written.  I’m so sorry for the hiatus – first work got busy, then I got sick, then I was organising lengthy walks for my walking group and recovering from those, and then I realised that my best friend’s wedding and my overseas trip were no longer so much on the horizon as breathing down my neck, and I was nowhere near ready, and in between, I’ve been obsessively baking cakes from my new favourite cookbook, Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache (which I *will* review any day now), with the result that I haven’t been producing many new recipes and I’ve not had any time to write down the ones I have produced.

So I’m terribly sorry, as I said, and will try to make up for this by getting a few posts out before I go, and maybe even finally updating my recipe indices, which are also woefully out of date.  Aargh.

Anyway, this recipe owes a significant debt to Tom Hunt’s book, The Natural Cook, which I recently bought and am enjoying very much.  Essentially, I’ve taken two of his recipes, modified them to my liking, and then combined them in ways he probably never had in mind and mixed them through some roast vegetable ravioli that I bought at the Bundoora Farmers’ Market nearly a month ago (speaking of things I haven’t blogged about, double aargh).

It’s a lovely recipe, though – spicy and healthy and smoky and fresh – and it’s also one of those recipes I think of as ‘accidentally vegan’, which is to say, I wasn’t aiming for a vegan meal, but I essentially produced one.  The ravioli, come to think of it, probably have a bit of egg in them, but I believe one can get vegan ravioli, and one can certainly get vegan pasta, so altogether, this will be useful one to bear in mind next time I manage to entice The Original Cate over to Melbourne.

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Recipe: Orecchiette with Broccoli, Roast Garlic, and Sicilian Flavours

Last night’s dinner was sort of ad-hoc and random.  I was so very zonked.  But I had some lovely, fresh orecchiette from Take Me Home pasta in the fridge, and a couple of heads of broccoli and some roasted garlic, and a whole pantry full of those little flavour-popping ingredients that I couldn’t use all last week – and somehow I had this lovely, vaguely Sicilian, pasta dish on the table in about thirty minutes after I got home.


And then I went to bed.

It was a yummy pasta dish, though.

Your Shopping List

olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
80 g pine nuts
2 big spoonfuls of roasted garlic
1-2 red chillis
2 small heads of broccoli
1/4 cup capers
1/3 cup currants
200 g orecchiette pasta

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Living Below the Line: Penne with Spicy Tomato, Cauliflower and Chickpea Sauce

Look!  I actually managed to create something that tasted good!  It’s amazing how much better food tastes when you manage to avoid the ubiquitous frozen vegetables (note to self: cheap frozen vegetables have absolutely no taste and should be used as a bulk ingredient only – not a flavour one!), when you have just a bit of cooking fat, and when you get to use garlic and chilli at the same time.  Incidentally, I think chilli would be my secret weapon if I were living on a very low budget full time – it’s so incredibly cheap, and provides a good kick of flavour that is sadly lacking from a lot of this food.

While this dish really would be improved by a bit of parmesan, some olive oil, and just better seasoning all around, it’s actually quite fine as it is.  I will probably make this again, and there’s really not much I would change.


Your Shopping List

skin from one chicken wing (or olive oil, if you are not living below the line)
175 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 red chilli (2 if you can!)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 brown onion, sliced
1 1/2 tins of chopped tomatoes (600g in total)
1 cup of water
3/4 of a cauliflower
450 g pasta

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Living Below the Line: Pasta Bake Recipe!

I’m sure you are just itching to know how these recipes work, so allow me to share with you the first of my ‘famine’ recipes.  Actually, this one isn’t so famine-ish, because it contains actual fish, and came in at just under $1.10 per serving.  Luxury!

75 g cashews
1/4 cauliflower, coarsely chopped, including bits of stem
5 garlic cloves
salt3/4 cup water, plus more for the vegetables
1 enormous beetroot, or two medium ones
3/4 of a butternut pumpkin
1/2 cup of mixed frozen vegetables
185 g tinned tuna or salmon
550 g pasta
1 slice bread

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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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Recipe: Pasta with All Those Greens You Normally Throw Out, plus Sausages and Chilli

This recipe makes me happy, happy, happy!  Its antecedents are in a lovely recipe by Diana Henry for pasta with broccoli and sausage, which I make all the time, but this version gains extra farmers’ market and frugal credibility by making use of the tops of root vegetables and wild greens. 

Radish greens, as it turns out, cook down to something that tastes deliciously spinach-like, and I think most people already know that beetroot greens are essentially the same as silverbeet.  Another green I didn’t use was carrot greens, but you could certainly go that route, to bring a slightly more herbal taste to your pasta.

The other lovely thing about this recipe, of course, is how easy it is to throw together.  It’s just a lovely, tasty, comforting pasta dish for a work night.  And it makes me feel good both to make it and to eat it.  I hope you love it too.


Your Shopping List

olive oil
6-8 good sausages, any kind you like
1 big onion
3 big cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Three bunches of leaves – I used leaves from one bunch of radishes, one bunch of beetroot, and one bunch of Fat Hen – washed and picked over.  This is the longest part of the recipe.
1/3 cup white wine
300 g penne pasta
parmesan, to serve


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Recipe: Spring Vegetables with Lemon Gnocchi and Mint

I love this time of year at the farmers’ market.  After living in the land of brassicas and root vegetables for months, suddenly we are gifted with sweet baby carrots, new peas, herbs, greens of all kinds, and, of course, asparagus.  Add a packet of beautiful gnocchi from Take Me Home and some ghee from the Butter Factory, and you have a meal I could eat every day for a month.  Or at least, that’s how it feels right now.

This may look kind of messy, but it really is a thing of beauty when you taste it – bursting with the sweet flavours of new vegetables, with a zing from the lemon in the gnocchi, and a touch of freshness from the mint.  Perfection.


Your Shopping List
185 g peas (fresh if possible, frozen if that’s what you can get)
25 g ghee (or olive oil, if you are veganly inclined)
4 spring onions
10 baby carrots (about 175 g)
2 cloves garlic
10 asparagus spears (about 240 g before you snap off the ends)
3 tiny zucchini (about 180 g)
500 g lemon gnocchi (or plain gnocchi, and the zest of one lemon)
lavender salt (or plain salt plus some lavender or tarragon), black pepper
250 g cherry tomatoes
350 g fresh spinach (a medium-sized bunch)
a good handful of mint


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