Vegetarian Farfalle with a Zesty Pesto Sauce

Vegetarian Farfalle

Pasta, Vegetarian | May 2, 2015 | By

This dish is a rather unusual one for me. I’m a self-confessed carnivore so cooking a veggie dish when it’s not strictly necessary (because I need to feed a veggie or because I can’t afford meat) is not my usual choice. However, every day is a school day and I’m home alone for the weekend so I thought I’d experiment. I was pretty impressed with the result, not feeling hungry afterwards and I found the sauce really tasty.

Vegetarian Farfalle with a Zesty Pesto Sauce
Serves 2
Healthy wholewheat farfalle with a zesty pesto and tomato based sauce, with feta cheese and baby spinach.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
For the sauce
  1. Glug of olive oil
  2. 1 clove of garlic
  3. 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  4. 1/4 jar green pesto
  5. 75g feta
  6. Handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  7. Handful of fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  8. Juice of half a lemon
  9. Sea salt and cracked black pepper
For the pasta
  1. 150g wholemeal farfalle pasta
To prepare
  1. Finely chop the garlic and roughly chop the basil and spinach. Crumble the feta cheese.
  2. Set a pot of salted water on the hob and bring to the boil.
For the pasta
  1. Cook the pasta in the boiling water as per packet instructions. This is usually about 12-15 minutes.
For the sauce
  1. Once the pasta is on, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic for about 30 seconds over a medium heat until aromatic.
  2. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and mix. Season well with pepper. Turn the heat up to high and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn the heat back to medium. Add the chopped spinach and basil reserving some basil for garnish, the pesto and the lemon juice. Stir well then stir in about 80% of the cheese. Allow to simmer.
To Serve
  1. Drain the pasta and divide onto two plates. Scoop some sauce onto each plate and crumble the remaining cheese over. Add some basil to garnish. Serve immediately.
Variations?
  1. Experiment with different types of pasta and different types of pesto until you find a combination you enjoy.
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Chicken, Basil and Mozzarella Arrabiata

Chicken, Basil and Mozzarella Arrabiata

Chicken, Pasta | January 4, 2015 | By

Arrabiata is Italian for “angry”. Nothing like some midweek angry chicken right? This is a simple but intense dish. The recipe uses poached chicken but of course if you prefer to fry or bake it, that will work too. This will also work well with yesterday’s leftover chicken. 

 

Chicken, Basil and Mozzarella Arrabiata
Serves 2
Succulent poached chicken in an arrabiata sauce with mozzarella and basil.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
For the sauce
  1. 1 tin of chopped tomato
  2. 1 small tin of tomato puree
  3. Handful of cherry tomatoes (optional)
  4. Half an onion
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 fresh chopped chilli (or 1 tsp of chilli paste or flakes)
  7. Handful of fresh basil (or 2tbsp dried basil)
  8. Mini mozzarella balls or a ball of mozzarella chopped
  9. Olive oil
  10. Glug of red wine (optional)
For the chicken
  1. 2 chicken fillets
  2. 3 bay leaves
  3. 1 clove of garlic
  4. Squirt of lemon juice
To serve
  1. Pasta (fresh is the best but any type will do)
  2. Garlic bread
  3. Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  4. OPTIONAL- Red wine, sugar, cherry tomatoes,
To Prepare
  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add some sea salt, cracked black pepper, a peeled whole clove of garlic and the lemon juice and bay leaves. Turn down to a medium heat.
  2. Boil another pan of water with sea salt for the pasta.
  3. Finely chop the garlic, onion and chilli.
Poaching the chicken
  1. Place the chicken fillets in the flavoured water and turn to a low heat (about 2 on the hob). Cook at that temperature with the lid on for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to stand with the lid on for 15 more minutes.
Making the sauce
  1. While the chicken is cooking, fry the garlic and onion in the olive oil over a medium high heat until soft. Add the chilli and cook for 1 more minute.
  2. Add the tin of tomatoes and tomato puree. Mix well, then season and add the basil. Add the red wine at this stage also if using. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to low. Once the chicken is ready tear it into shreds and add to the sauce. This will be fine until the rest is ready, just stir it occasionally.
Cooking the pasta
  1. Prepare the pasta as per the instructions on the pack. This is usually about 10 - 12 minutes for regular pasta and about 5 minutes for fresh pasta. If you're also making garlic bread, put it in the oven now!
To serve
  1. Add the mozzarella to the sauce and mix well. Serve the pasta immediately with the sauce and garlic bread.
Too hot?
  1. If you underestimated the heat of the chilli then add a spoon of sugar to calm the heat. The mozzarella will also help take the edge off the sauce.
Not hot enough?
  1. Ramp up the heat by adding extra chilli and garlic.
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Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Main Course, Pasta | October 19, 2014 | By

I love carbonara, it’s my favourite Italian dish. Unfortunately, most places load it with cream and it becomes much too heavy and sickly. This carbonara recipe brings it back to basics, it’s much healthier for you and tasty to boot! This is also quite an economical dish, as if it couldn’t get any better! 

Spaghetti Carbonara
Serves 2
A traditional carbonara recipe with eggs, bacon and parmesan. Cream optional.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
For the pasta
  1. 2 large eggs
  2. Half a packet of streaky bacon (smoked or unsmoked)
  3. 160g spaghetti (or any other pasta of your choice)
  4. 1 small onion
  5. 3 cloves of garlic
  6. Dash of white wine
  7. 1/2 block of parmesan grated
  8. Glug of olive oil
  9. Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  10. 50ml of cream (optional)
To serve (optional)
  1. Kerrygold garlic bread
  2. Chilled white wine
You will also need
  1. Kitchen paper for blotting the bacon
To Prepare
  1. Finely chop the onions and the garlic.
  2. Grate the parmesan.
  3. Beat the eggs.
  4. Boil a saucepan of salted water.
  5. Preheat the over to 200 C.
Pasta
  1. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Place the garlic bread in the oven.
  2. Fry the bacon with a drizzle of olive oil until starting to colour (about 5 minutes). Remove the bacon and drain on some kitchen paper.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the same frying pan. Add a little more olive oil if required. Fry over a medium to high heat until it starts to smell delicious.
  4. Add a good dash of white wine and turn up the heat. Fry for 1 minute then add the bacon. Remove from the heat.
  5. At this stage the pasta should be done. Drain it and add it to the frying pan. Mix well to coat the pasta. Place over a medium heat.
  6. Add the eggs and most of the parmesan , stirring furiously. Add the cream now if you're using it.
  7. Once the egg begins to set, remove from the heat. Add pepper to taste.
To serve
  1. Serve the pasta with garlic bread and the remaining parmesan sprinkled over.
  2. Serve with a glass of chilled white wine if the mood takes you!
What kind of wine?
  1. Generally if you will just be using the wine for cooking it's ok to get a cheap and cheerful bottle. Of course if you prefer to get a more expensive bottle to accompany the dinner and use a dash from it for the cooking, that's OK too!
Not a big fan of white wine?
  1. If you like to use white wine in your cooking, but you feel it's a waste as you wouldn't drink the rest of the bottle, simply freeze leftover wine in an ice-cube tray.
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