Vege Pasta

We had this super quick vege pasta for tea last night. I always try and have a tin of ratatouille in the cupboard as it’s so useful for adding veggies to meals without all the prep.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

400g pasta

2 tbsp olive oil

1 red pepper, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Seasoning

1 400g tin ratatouille

1/2 jar sundried tomatoes, chopped

160g bag spinach

125g ball of mozzarella, chopped

Grated parmesan

METHOD

1. Start by getting 400g of pasta on the boil.

2. Fry the red pepper and onion in olive oil for 5 minutes.

3. Next add the garlic and fry gently for a further minute. Season.

4. Then add the ratatouille, sun dried tomatoes and spinach.

5. Finally stir in the cooked pasta and mozzarella.

6. Serve with grated Parmesan for extra cheesiness.

Cacio e Pepe

My favourite pasta recipe is Cacio e Pepe. It’s so simple to make but the flavours are out of this world- lemony, peppery, cheesy, smokey… soooo good! I’ve saved this recipe to my highlights 🙌

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

400g dried spaghetti

250g diced pancetta

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1 pinch of chilli flakes

Ground pepper

Juice of 2 lemons

70g rocket (arugula)

30g grated Parmesan

METHOD

1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling water for 11 minutes.

2. Fry the pancetta in the olive oil for 6-7 minutes until it starts to brown.

3. Add the garlic, chilli and pepper and fry for a further minute.

4. Turn the heat down and add the lemon juice.

5. Drain the spaghetti (reserving some of the water) and toss into the fried pancetta mixture.

6. Add the grated cheese and a little of the pasta water and stir.

7. Finally add the rocket and toss into the spaghetti until wilted.

Hidden veg sauce and meatballs

Last night we had turkey meatballs and hidden veg sauce. I haven’t made a hidden veg pasta sauce in years as my children are older and I don’t believe there’s any need to hide the vegetables now (although my 10 year old still pushes courgette round her plate!). However, it’s a great way of getting vegetables into younger children and also it suits people who don’t particularly like the texture of certain foods.

The @morrisons turkey meatballs are a healthy alternative to beef especially if you cook them in the oven rather than frying them. They’re also really convenient if you don’t want to make your own.

INGREDIENTS

Turkey meatballs

1 tbsp olive oil

1 red pepper, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

1/2 courgette, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Seasoning

1 and half 400g tins chopped tomatoes

Spaghetti

Fresh basil

Parmesan

METHOD

1) Bake the meatballs in an ovenproof dish (no oil) at 180oC for 20 minutes.

2) While they’re cooking, fry the vegetables in the olive oil.

3) After 10 minutes, add 1 crushed clove of garlic and cook for a further minute.

4) Season, then add the tomatoes and heat through.

5) Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Then blend in a nutribullet or use a hand blender.

6) Pour back into the pan, add the cooked meatballs and heat through.

7) Serve with spaghetti, fresh basil and grated Parmesan.

Smoked Haddock Macaroni Cheese

Two years ago I was on holiday with my family in Alnmouth, Northumberland where we visited an amazing little pop up seafood shack run by the restaurant Beaches. They serve sublime fresh food to go like lobster and chips, crab sandwiches etc and I was drawn to their smoked haddock macaroni cheese.

We took it back to our holiday house and my mum and dad dived in with their forks as well as us and the kids. It was delicious, not too overpowering in smokey flavour and the crunchy gratin top added another dimension. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to cook it but here it is… Smoked Haddock Macaroni Cheese

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

300g macaroni

4 small frozen/fresh smoked haddock fillets

25g butter

A little plain flour

3/4 pint milk

A handful of grated mature cheddar cheese

Seasoning

Panko breadcrumbs

METHOD

1) Cook the macaroni for 11 minutes.

2) I used @aldiuk cook from frozen smoked haddock fillets so baked them in the oven according to the instructions.

3) I made a cheese sauce by melting 25g butter and adding plain flour to make a thick paste. Then with the heat low, I gradually poured in 3/4 pint of milk whisking all the time.

3) Season then sprinkle in a handful of mature cheddar cheese and whisk until smooth. Turn off the heat.

4) Drain the macaroni and stir in the cheese sauce.

5) Transfer to an ovenproof dish and scatter over the haddock (break it up into small pieces first). Carefully stir it through the macaroni cheese.

6) Finish with scattering over panko breadcrumbs and bake in the oven at 180oC for 10 minutes (you may want to finish it off under the grill if it hasn’t browned enough).

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Tortellini

This was just the ticket yesterday! After being out all afternoon, I didn’t feel like cooking so I decided to try this @lafamigliarana Rana prosciutto and mozzarella tortellini and @morrisons Italian tomato and mascarpone sauce that I’d bought in my @morrisons online shop this week. I warmed the sauce through while the tortellini was gently simmering- it was ready to serve in 2 minutes. Fast food and so tasty! I’ll definitely be buying these again- great to have as a standby. And the children devoured it- might need 3 packs next time instead of 2! 🤣💞

Pasta Concoction

When I was a child, one of my favourite meals was my Mum’s Pasta Concoction. I always thought it sounded really intriguing and it was different every time! Basically she was using up what was left in her fridge and making a pasta sauce with it. The pasta was always tossed in the sauce and it was always delicious every time.

So in honour of my Mum, here is a Pasta Concoction that I made last night for tea. And I’m pleased to say my children enjoyed it just as much as I did all those years ago!

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

50g curly kale, roughly chopped in processor

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

One onion, chopped

2 spring onions, chopped

2 tbsps red pesto

150g creme fraiche

80g prosciutto

300g spaghetti

Seasoning

1 tbsp olive oil

Parmesan

METHOD

1. Cook the spaghetti for 12 minutes.

2. While the pasta is cooking, fry the onions in the oil until soft.

3. Add the prosciutto and fry until crispy.

4. Lower the heat and add the kale and stir until wilted.

5. Next add the tomatoes and stir.

6. Drain the spaghetti, reserving a little of the pasta water.

7. Pour the spaghetti into the pan with the prosciutto etc and stir the pesto and creme fraiche through. Add a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary.

8. Serve with grated parmesan.

Bolognese Sauce

The @morrisons frozen soffritto mix in this easy bolognese sauce is a game changer. Onions, celery and carrot all diced and ready to cook, makes cooking time so much quicker. I use it in a number of other dishes too when I’m in a rush like minestrone soup and sausage cassoulet which I’m making later this week.

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp olive oil

140g diced pancetta

750g beef and pork mince

350g frozen soffritto mix

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Seasoning

150ml red wine

Thyme

2 bay leaves

3 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

150ml semi-skimmed/full fat milk

METHOD

1. Fry the pancetta in the olive oil until golden.

2. Add the mince and break down with a spoon. Cook on a medium heat until the meat has browned.

-Spoon out some of the fat if you feel there is surplus in the pan.

3. Stir in the frozen soffritto mix and cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute. Season.

5. Turn up the heat to high and pour in the red wine.

6. Then add the thyme, bay leaves and 3 tins of chopped tomatoes and stir.

7. It will seem quite a lot of tomatoes at this point but allow it to simmer for 10 minutes and the sauce will reduce.

8. Pour in the magic ingredient- milk and stir. This takes the sauce to another level making it richer.

9. It will again seem very saucy 🤣 but cover and reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for up to 1 hour (keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally to stop it catching.)

10. Taste and adjust seasoning.

11. Serve with spaghetti and a good grating of Parmesan.