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Cover: Quick cuisine

Recipes with basil

06Aug 12

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca
If you like anchovies, or even if you don’t, I recommend trying this recipe. My flatmate says she doesn’t like them, but when I made Puttanesca Pasta, I didn’t tell her what was in it. She loved it! I think it’s because the strong flavour of the anchovies is softened by the onion and tomato and disguised a little by the garlic, chilli and basil. It’s a very flavourful sauce that I think deserves to be served with fresh pasta, which apart from being tastier, is also faster to cook.

Accompany with this no-egg caesar salad, which also uses an anchovy paste, a perfect complement to the pasta recipe.

The origins of Puttanesca sauce (sugo alla Puttanesca in Italian) are not certain, but many say it has something to do with “ladies of the night” because puttana is a colloquial word for prostitute. It’s said that prostitutes in Naples created this dish with readily available ingredients and that they used its fragrance to tempt customers into their brothels, offering them dinner and then “dessert”!

Pasta Puttanesca
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Italian Puttanesca Pasta combines anchovies, capers, garlic, chilli and basil in tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 300g tinned sieved tomato (Passata)
  • 200g fresh pasta
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp capers
  • 6 tinned anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 10 pitted black olives
  • 1 or 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of chilli powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Fry the garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 1 minute. Then add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry over a low-medium heat until it is soft and transparent.
  2. Add the sieved tomato and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the olives in halves or quarters, or leave whole if preferred.
  4. When the sauce has thickened to your preferred consistency, add the capers, anchovies, olives, basil and chilli powder and stir.
  5. Taste the sauce, add more chilli if you like it spicier and a little more sugar if you find it’s sour. Remove from heat.
  6. Cook the fresh pasta according to the instructions on the packet (usually no more than 3 minutes).
  7. Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce and serve.

 

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09Jun 12

Mushroom lasagna with mozzarella and tomatoes

Mushroom lasagnaI´m a big fan of Italian cooking, but usually I don´t have time for more than throwing a handful of macaroni and some vegetables into a saucepan and letting them boil together. Last Friday night I thought I´d try a more elaborate pasta dish and found this recipe for mushroom lasagna with mozzarella and tomatoes to be easy enough even for a busy student like me.

Although the preparation does take some time, after that the lasagna makes itself in the oven while I bury my head in the books. Half an hour later, the dish is ready and you can have yourself a well-deserved treat!

What we need:

  • 300g dry fusilli pasta
  • 450g of sliced mushrooms (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 a courgette
  • 400 grams of chopped tomatoes from a tin
  • 400 of crème fraîche
  • 400g of mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • a sprig of fresh basil (optional)

How we make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, boil the pasta, but not too much as it will later go in the oven as well.
  3. If you use frozen mushrooms, place them in a frying pan and fry until the liquid is gone. Place them on a plate for later use.
  4. Peel and chop the garlic, onion and courgettes.
  5. Fry them along with olive oil in a frying pan and then add the chopped tomatoes and the sugar. Let it boil for around 10 minutes.
  6. Heat the crème fraîche in a saucepan and take half of the mozzarella and place it in lumps in the crème fraîche. Let them melt together. Add the salt and pepper.
  7. Take an oven-safe form and put some of the tomato sauce in the bottom.
  8. Place a layer of the fusilli on top, covering the form.
  9. Now, alternate between the crème fraîche sauce, tomato sauce and fusilli pasta.
  10. On the top, place the rest of the crème fraîche sauce and add the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
  11. Place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and sprinkle over the fresh basil.

Serves: 4
Time needed: 50 minutes (including oven time)
Level: easy – intermediate

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11Apr 12

Linguine with garlic and cherry tomatoes

Linguine with garlic and cherry tomatoesOne could write a book about all the different kinds of pasta that the Italians have invented. Wait, they probably already have! Here is a recipe using just one of those pastas in this linguine with garlic and cherry tomatoes. (Also try this chilli garlic pasta.)

Linguine means ‘little tongues’ in Italian, due to them being flatter and wider than spaghetti. My recipe combines linguine with cherry tomatoes, garlic and balsamic vinegar and really couldn’t be easier to prepare. Perfect as a quick dish to whizz together when I arrive home late after a day at uni. I just have to remember that, with all that garlic, I might want to buy some chewing gum the day after!

What we need:

  • 2 medium-sized garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 small handfuls of fresh basil leaves
  • 60g dried linguine
  • 25-30 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 -2 pinches of salt and pepper according to taste

How to make it:

1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves into very fine slices. Wash and chop the basil leaves finely as well.
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic slices. Fry on a low to medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly until very lightly golden.

3. Wash and chop the cherry tomatoes into halves, or leave whole as desired.
4.  Mix the cherry tomatoes and sugar with half of the chopped basil leaves. Cook for around 5 minutes on a medium heat until the tomatoes just start to break up. Switch off the heat.

3. Cook the linguine per instructions and drain. Return to the saucepan after draining and add some olive oil to separate the strands of pasta.

4. Return the tomatoes to the heat and add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Pour the tomato mixture into the pan of linguine and mix the pasta all together with the cherry tomatoes.

6. Place the pasta onto plates and sprinkle with the remaining basil and some grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 15 minutes
Level: very easy

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26Mar 12

Grilled toast with feta cheese and cherry tomatoes

Greek Grilled Toasts

In honour of the versatility and history of Feta cheese, here is a recipe for Greek grilled toast with Feta cheese and cherry tomatoes.

Feta cheese is delicious on just about everything. It makes salads more interesting, such as in this healthy and original superfoods salad. I love the name “superfood” because to me, it means a food that is well-rounded and gives me all the nutrients and vitamins I need to get through the day. I think these toasts are superfood as well because it has elements from all the food groups.

Did you know that this Greek curd cheese is believed to have been made for thousands of years? Due to its proud heritage, the title “Feta cheese” has been copyrighted since 2002 so that only cheese made exclusively in Greece with sheep or goat’s milk has the right to bear the name within the European Union.

Try forming them into different shapes to give them an extra twist! How about cutting these toasts into small pizza slices? Or perhaps a Mickey Mouse head? Why not try them in the shape of a heart for your sweetheart? All you need for the shapes are cookie-cutters or a large glass, and some imagination. Serve and surprise your friends or partner with your ingenious toast shapes! They’ll love it!

What we need:

  • 8 slices of toast bread
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of butter on each
  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 8 black olives, pitted
  • 150g of Feta cheese
  • a few leaves of fresh basil or coriander leaves

How we make it:
1. Cut the bread into the shapes you want them (I am partial to the heart-shaped ones, but I made the round ones that you see in the picture for simplicity’s sake. To do so, I used a large glass to cut around the bread).
2. Butter the bread that you are going to use.
3. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.
4. Chop the olives into fine pieces.
5. Mix the tomatoes and olives and spread them on the toast.
6. Grate the Feta cheese and sprinkle over the toast.
7. Place some leaves of fresh basil on each.
8. Grill in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes.
9. Serve with an iceberg and tomato salad.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: Easy

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