Tag Archives: pesto

Recipe: Ravioli primavera

An actual savoury recipe!  Who knew I could still do those?  Actually, I have an uneasy feeling I’ve done something very like this before.  I mean, me, pasta, vegetables – that’s basically my default work night dinner, frankly.

But I think this is a little different to my last primavera, primarily because I’ve gotten a lot lazier since then.  Also, someone told me that adding some pasta cooking water to one’s pasta sauce makes it come together better, and they are quite right, so if nothing else, this recipe has that particular upgrade!  (I’m still hopeless at remembering to salt my pasta water, however…)

This is a pea-free primavera, because Andrew doesn’t like peas.  It is also a broad-bean-free primavera, because shelling broadbeans is for people who are much less lazy than me.  Besides, Woollies had pea ravioli with spinach and feta, so I figured our pea requirements were covered.

And that’s about it.  It’s a simple, tasty meal for four, and a good celebration of spring.

Your shopping list

Olive oil
1 bunch baby carrots
2 golden shallots (the French ones that look like miniature onions)
2 bunches asparagus
200g cherry tomatoes
60 g baby spinach
2 tablespoons pesto
100 g ricotta
50 g parmesan, finely grated
650 g vegetable ravioli (I used the aforementioned pea ravioli and a sweet potato one.  But any light-tasting vegetable ravioli will do.)
a ladle or two of reserved cooking water 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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Christmas Leftovers Recipe: Broccoli Pesto Vichysoisse

It’s hot and stuffy and the house is full of leftovers, and in addition to being exhausted and not especially hungry, I’m actually in a fair bit of pain, which is not very Christmassy at all.  Since you don’t get to take pain medication without food (and, ideally, alcohol), some sort of food preparation is required.

This recipe is, basically, a leftovers dish.  It’s stock from the slow-cooked chicken, leftover roast potatoes and leftover broccoli dip.  The quantities are nonexistent because it was just what I had in the fridge, but you should think of this as more of a template for making creative use of leftovers.   I’ll be posting a few recipes like this in the next few days, because I can’t possibly be the only one who overcatered.

Also, it’s lovely and cold and easy to eat, even in this hot weather.  And it’s a very fetching shade of green, too.


Your Leftovers List
Leftover potatoes from Christmas dinner – roasted, baked, gratin or even scalloped – the cream will be a nice touch!
Leftover broccoli pesto, or leftover pesto or any pesto or other dip composed primarily of herbs, vegetables and nuts
Leftover steamed broccoli, if there was  no broccoli in your pesto
Stock or water.  If you have a chicken or turkey carcase, it would be very much in the spirit of this recipe to make stock out of it, which is what I did, so I’m supplying the recipe below.  It’s easy.

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Recipe: Funghi Alla Pizza! (With bonus Cheat’s Pesto)

I am so very amused by this recipe title, but really, what else could I call it?  If I called it ‘Mushroom Pizza’, that would sound as though I was talking about pizza with mushrooms on it.  Whereas this, my friends, is mushrooms with pizza on it, which I think you will agree is far more exciting!

It started like this:


That’s more than 300g of mushroom in one fine, fungal package there.  I think we can all agree that this is a mushroom that has made an effort.  A mushroom that knows what it wants.  A mushroom that deserves respect.

It is certainly not a mushroom that should be chopped or sliced and braised in a stew or sauté with other vegetables.  That, I am sure, would be wasteful.  No, this sort of mushroom deserves to be served whole, in all its fungal fabulousness.

Thus the advent of the mushroom as pizza base.  I’ve made mushrooms stuffed with pesto before, so that seemed like the place to start with my pizza, but I also couldn’t resist making one in the configuration of the pita bread pizzas I used to make under the grill as a child.

They didn’t look quite as pretty as I’d hoped once they were done, but they tasted *amazing*.  Oddly, I’m not the biggest mushroom fan (just a fan of the biggest mushrooms), but these had just the right amount of mushroominess – they were meaty and satisfying and not even a little bit slimy.  (Where does the sliminess come from, I wonder?  I had slimy mushrooms when I ate out recently, but I’ve never produced them myself – there is clearly a technique to it.  One I wish to avoid.) 

These pizzas – pizzettas?  funghizzettas? – still fall into the ‘light meal’ category, but they would certainly work for lunch, or for dinner with a reasonably substantial dessert.  Which reminds me that I do have a recipe for risotto with strawberries and champagne somewhere…

Your Shopping List

2 enormous mushrooms, or 4-6 portobello mushrooms of more moderate size.  You want about 650 g mushrooms overall.
olive oil spray
salt, pepper
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
250 g bocconcini, or a small ball of mozzarella
tomato paste
1 roasted pepper
For the Cheat’s Pesto
50 g pinenuts
1 tube of Gourmet Garden fresh basil in a tube
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
salt, pepper


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