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Cover: Quick cuisine

Recipes with Italian food

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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31Jul 12

Tuna lasagna with goat’s cheese and ginger

Tuna lasagna with goat's cheese and gingerLast night I wanted to try out my new oven-safe form and thought that lasagna would be a good idea. I took the ingredients I had at home and, lo and behold, made a delicious tuna lasagna with goat’s cheese and ginger that turned out to be quite a success! At first, the ingredients may sound a bit odd, but why don’t you try it yourself? I think you’ll like it.

Lasagna is an ideal food for students  because you can often use basic ingredients that you have at home – such as tomato sauce, and then add the ingredients that you happen to have at hand. Top it off with some cheese, pop it in the oven, and voila!

What we need:

  • 150g of tinned tuna
  • 2 large mushrooms or many small ones (should fill a medium-size frying pan)
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 350g of tomato sauce
  • 1 dl of milk
  • 100g of goat’s cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Lasagna noodles (about 10)
  • 100g of Cheddar cheese, grated

How to make it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a medium-size frying pan.
  3. Wash and chop the mushrooms into chunks.
  4. Place the mushrooms in the frying pan and let them fry for 10 minutes.
  5. Chop the onion into slices. Once the mushrooms are done, place them on a plate for later.
  6. Place the onion in the frying pan and let fry for 3 minutes. Add the garlic.
  7. Pour the tomato sauce into the frying pan. Add the mushrooms and the milk.
  8. Let it all simmer for 3 minutes.
  9. Add the tuna and the grated ginger. Mix it all properly and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
  10. Add a small amount of the tomato and tuna sauce to the bottom of the oven-safe form.
  11. Now, alternate between lasagna noodles and the sauce.
  12. In one of the layers, add the sliced goat’s cheese.
  13. On top of the last layer, sprinkle the grated Cheddar cheese.
  14. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Note: There are several ways to bake pasta, and lasagna is just one of them. Another option is this baked penne with Dolcelatte and radicchio. Try it!

Time needed: 60 minutes
Serves: 4
Level: easy-intermediate

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15Jun 12

Pasta with pesto, broccoli and Feta cheese

Pasta with Veg and PestoPesto is an all-time favourite of mine and one of my must-have sauces at home. There is both a green and red variety, but I prefer the green one because it is so versatile. Here is a dish of pasta with pesto, broccoli and Feta cheese that I make a lot – often in the morning before I rush to catch the bus to Uni!

A typical pesto is made by first placing garlic and pine nuts in a mortar and reducing it to a cream. After that, you add washed and dried basil leaves and grind it to a creamy consistency. Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses are then added together with some olive oil. However, if you don’t want to go to all this trouble, you can find pre-made pesto in most supermarkets. The most common one is pesto alla genovese.

You may believe that pesto is only used as a sauce for pasta, but think again! These pesto cod and chips use it as a dressing on top of seafood. Play around with pesto, and you never know what new delights you might discover!

What we need:

  • 200g of tricolour pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of green pesto
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 dl of broccoli florets
  • A small tin of green beans
  • 10 black olives
  • 100g of Feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Tip! If you want to make your life easier, you can even use frozen vegetables instead of fresh.

How to make it:

  1. Wash and chop the onion, pepper and broccoli into pieces.
  2. Pour 1 litre of water into a saucepan and bring it to the boil.
  3. Add the pasta and cook it according to instructions on the package.
  4. Pour the olive oil in a frying pan.
  5. Place the vegetables in the frying pan and let it all fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Add the green beans.
  7. Chop the olives into halves and add to the frying pan.
  8. Drain the pasta when ready.
  9. Add the pesto to the hot pasta and mix carefully.
  10. Add all the vegetables from the frying pan.
  11. Grate the Feta cheese over the pasta and stir once or twice.
  12. Serve hot or store it in a Tupperware for later use.

Time needed: 15 minutes
Serves: 2
Level: Easy

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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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