Archive | April, 2011

Quick meatball pasta shells

27 Apr

Another quick meal. After being away for the long weekend we’ve taken a little while to adjust to being back at work. Elaborate dinners are on a backburner for now.  Still sticking to our theme though!

Tonight’s quick meatballs were made from sausages (pancetta and parmesan flavoured), the meat squeezed from the skins and rolled into little balls. These were pan fried till brown. Then chopped mushrooms were added, followed by cannelini beans, tomatoes, herbs and a dash of balsamic vinegar.  The meatballs and sauce were cooked for 20 minutes then served with pasta and pecorino.

Probably not quite what real Italian’s eat, but a good quick mix, 7 out of 10.

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Mushroom and black pepper sauce gnocchi

27 Apr

This time we took the easy option for our gnocchi and bought it ready made. All the effort went into the sauce instead.

Some dried mushrooms from the cupboard soaked in hot water to rehydrade while we went to do our weekly shop. When we returned we threw some pancetta cubes into the pan followed by some fresh mushrooms, single cream, the dried mushrooms and a generous amount of freshly ground black peppercorns.

The gnocchi were boiled, green salad was thrown on the plate and the mushroom sauce was placed on top of the gnocchi.

Mrs M scored it 7 out of 10.

Mr M

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Goat’s cheese and red pepper thin crust pizza

21 Apr

We went for a long walk today, so we’re pretty hungry when we got home.  A mountain of Pizza soon filled the gap 🙂

I cheated a little and made the pizza dough in the bread maker whilst we were out. When we goohome I rolled 2 things pizza bases out,  lightly dusting them with semolina for a bit of crunch.  I then placed them on oiled foil whilst I made the topping.

Red peppers were roasted in the oven, then peeled and chopped.  A base of tomato puree, passata, thyme and olive oil was mixed.  Goat’s cheese was sliced onto rounds and some parmesan into thin slices.

Pizza was swiftly assembled and cooked in a hot oven for just 10 minutes.

End result? A thin crispy base with just the right amount of topping, I was quite pleased with this recipe, it wouldn’t have seemed out place in the pizzerias I ate in during my visit to Italy.

8 out of 10, although I think it could have been higher!

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Prawn spaghetti

21 Apr

Quick one today, as I forgot to blog last night. Dinner was a super speedy pasta dish.  Spaghetti was boiled whilst the prawns and sauce were cooked.  A nice mix of pancakes fried prawns, garlic, wine and tomato puree. Dash of lemon on the pasta then all mixed together and served.

7 says Mr M, I agree, nothing special, but pleasant enough!

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Lemon chicken carbonara

19 Apr

Lemony, creamy chicken and pasta, what’s not to like? Tonight’s offering was ready in less than 20 minutes and pretty tasty too.

Pan fry some pancetta and chicken. Stir in a few sage leaves and set aside. Boil pasta until al dente. Whilst cooking the pasta grate some lemon and hard cheese.  Mix cream and eggs together. When the pasta is cooked mix with the chicken, lemon, cheese and creamy egg. Stir for a few minutes until the egg is cooked and the pasta is covered with a creamy sauce.

Nom. 7.5 out of 10, Mr M reckons too creamy.

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This week’s menu, a few days in

17 Apr

A week of fairly simple meals. Still Italian, although I expect there will be some Greek next weekend at Mum’s 🙂

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Pepposa – hunters beef stew

17 Apr

Peppery, peppery beef stew. Mr M liked its punch and the tender meat. According to Jamie Oliver this is a traditional Tuscan dish, often served with bruschetta sometimes for brunch. Mmm. Could be a bit much methinks. We had it for tea with some Polenta and veg.

This was really simple to make. Cheap stewing beef was chopped into big hunks. Layered with garlic, rosemary, a bit of salt and loads of pepper (a tablespoon of freshly ground peppercorns for a dish to serve 2).  Once I’d layered up the meat I poured half a bottle of red wine over it, added a few bay leaves and topped it up with water so the meat was covered. I then brought it to the boil on the hob, before putting it in the oven for about 7 hours at a low temperature.

The slow cooking meant the meat fell apart, Mr M voted a generous 8. Happy days.

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Slow braised lamb with cheesey polenta

16 Apr

It has been a few years since our last attempt to make a meal with polenta as that didn’t go too well! It was ready made polenta which should apparently be sliced and fried.  Unfortunately this resulted in polenta and oil spitting all over and wasn’t the best. We decided to be brave and give polenta another chance in this recipe, cooked soft rather than firm and combined with a generous amount of grana padano cheese.

We boned and chopped up a half shoulder of lamb which was browned off with a few chopped cloves of garlic. To this was added a large glass of wine, some flour and stock.  This reduced with a large glug of passata, extra seasoning and bay leaves. Meanwhile a couple of red and orange peppers were roasted in the oven before being peeled and sliced and added to the sauce.

Mrs M scored it 8 out of 10. Even with the cheese, the polenta was pretty bland, although it was a novel alternative to pasta or potato. Nice to have lamb again and the accompanying sauce was good.

Mr M

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Sausages and lentils

16 Apr

Tonight’s dinner was another simple to make meal. Some sausages cooked in the oven while lentils were heated through with some garlic and thyme.

To complement the above we made a tomato salsa. Garlic, red onion and red chilli were fried until the onions were soft.  A tin of tomatoes and red wine were added and then reduced down for a while.

Tasty and fairly quick. 7 out of 10.

Mr M

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Roasted vegetable pasta

12 Apr

As tomorrow is shopping day, there was a good amount of rather sad looking veg in the fridge. As a simple dinner, this was all thrown together in a dish and stuck in the oven for an hour and combined with spiral pasta.

Into the pan went cherry tomatoes, courgettes, carrots, celery, potatoes, an orange pepper and some garlic.  Along with the above a tin of tomatoes, some olive oil, red wine, basil,  salt, pepper and anchovies.

Tasty and easy. Mrs M scored it 7.5 out of 10.

Mr M

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