Open Lasagne with Pumpkin and Beetroot

Open LasagneIngredients:
1 large butternut squash
maple syrup;
8 small beetroot
pinch of saffron
200g (6 ½ oz) fresh lasagne sheets
2-3 tbsp cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
50g (1 ¾ oz) Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
About 60g (2oz) grated pecorino cheese
Toasted pumpkin seeds, to serve
Chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Serves:  4    Prep time:  60 mins      Cook time: 15 mins
Cals per serving:  561   Fat: 31.2g

Step One:  Heat oven to 190oC (gas mark 5).  Cut the squash into 2 cm (¾ in) pieces, removing any seeds.  Place into a greased roasting tray.  Brush with a little maple syrup and roast for about 30 minutes or until the squash is golden and tender.  Meanwhile, trim the beetroots and simmer in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender.  Remove and cool, then slip off the skins.

Step Two:  Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.  Add the saffron to the water.  Cut the lasagne into 16 x 8cm (3 in) squares.  Boil 8 of the squares for 4 minutes, or until al dente.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of cold water.  Leave for about 30 seconds, then drain.  Lay flat on a dry tea towel and cover with another tea towel.  Repeat this process with the remaining squares.

Step Three:  When ready to serve, mash 1/3 of the squash with about 10ml (3 ½ fl oz) of boiling water or vegetable stock and 2-3 tbsp cream until it forms a sauce.

Step Four:  Cut the beetroot into quarters.  Sauté the garlic in a pan with the olive oil for a couple of minutes over a medium heat.  Then add the beetroot and sauté for a further few minutes to ensure it’s hot.  Stir in the remaining squash and lemon juice and mix well.  Lower the heat and keep warm.  Season to taste.

Step Five:  Reduce the oven temperature to 180oC (gas mark 4).  Lay four slices of pasta on the base of a lined baking sheet, top each with a little sauce, then the squash and beetroot mixture, then a slice of Fontina and repeat.  Finish with a layer of pasta and sprinkle with pecorino.  The lasagne shouldn’t be in even layers, it looks better if it’s a little higgledy-piggledy.  Place in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, or until heated through.  Transfer to plats and serve sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and parsley and extra pecorino, if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

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Penne Baked with Chard

This recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Penne baked with chardComfort Food – Italian Style

Serves : 4  –  Prep time : 10 mins, plus standing time  –  Cook time : 50 mins  –  Cals per serving : 1099  – Fat : 48.4g

Ingredients:  1.5l (48 fl oz) milk; 1 bay leaf; 400g (13oz) penne; Olive oil; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 8-10 leaves chopped chard or spinach; 60g (2oz) butter; 4 tblsp plain flour; 250g (8oz) grated cheddar; 50g (1 ¾oz) grated Parmesan; Salt and freshly ground black pepper; 60g (2oz) fresh breadcrumbs

  1. Heat the oven to 190oC (gas mark 5).  Place the milk and bay leaf in a large saucepan over a low heat and bring to just under the boil.  Remove and set aside for 10 minutes to infuse.  Discard the bay leaf.
  2. Cook the penne in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until it is al dente (check the cooking time on the packet).  Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl.
  3. Heat 2 tblsp olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add the garlic and chopped chard and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the chard or spinach has reduced in size and is soft. Squeeze out any moisture.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan, then sprinkle on the flour, stir with a wooden spoon and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flour has browned slightly.  Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly until there are no lumps.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until thickened. Add the cheddar and half the Parmesan.  Pour the white sauce over the pasta.  Add the chard or spinach and stir until combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a large, shallow, ovenproof dish and scatter with the remaining Parmesan and breadcrumbs.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until heated through and the topping is golden.
Tip: Chop 4 rashers of streaky bacon, mix with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top before baking for a finishing touch.

Tortellini in brodo (Tortellini cooked in broth)

This recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Torellini in brodoComfort Food – Italian Style

Serves : 4  –  Prep time : 5 mins  – Cook time : 5 mins  –  Cals per serving : 287  –  Fat : 11g

Ingredients:  1.5l (48 fl oz) chicken stock (preferably home-made); 500g (1 lb) ready-made fresh tortellini; Parmesan, grated; 2 tblsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan.  Add the tortellini and cook for 3-4 minutes (check pack instructions for timing): the tortellini should float to the top of the pot when ready.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, scoop equal portions of tortellini into 4 large soup or pasta bowls.  Ladle the hot broth on top of the tortellini and top with grated Parmesan and parsley.

Bacon and Mushroom Tagliatelle

Serves: 4; Prep: 5 mins; Cook: 15 mins; Cals per portion: 595

Ingredients: 2 x 5 ml tbsp olive oil; 1 onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 225g/8oz rind-less smoked back bacon, chopped; 115g/4oz button mushrooms, sliced; 1 x 15ml tbsp tomato puree; 1 x 550g jar passata; 1 x 15ml tbsp red wine vinegar; 2 x 15ml tbsp capers or pitted green olives, drained; pinch of sugar; freshly ground pepper; 335g/12oz Egg Tagliatelle; 1 x 15ml tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 x 5ml tsp dried oregano

* Heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-5 mins or until softened. Stir in bacon and mushrooms and cook for 5 mins.
* Stir in the tomato puree, passata, wine vinegar, capers and sugar. Season the mixture generously with fresh ground black pepper, then simmer for 5 mins.
* Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add taleteller and cook for 5 mins, or until al dente. Drain well, then toss with oregano and bacon sauce.
TIP: For extra flavour add a vegetable or chicken stock cube to the water while cooking pasta.

Macaroni Cheese

A real crowd pleaser on a cold day, one of the best things things about this dish is that it’s loved by young and old alike. Really easy to eat, it makes an ideal choice for a family lunch, especially if you’re having a casual fork buffet.

Serves: 4; Prep: 10 mins; Cook: 30 mins; Cost: £1.54; Cals per portion: 620

Ingredients: 300g/11oz macaroni; 40g/1 1/2oz butter; 40g/1 1/2oz flour; 600ml/1 pint creamy milk; 150g/5oz strong cheddar, grated

  • Preheat the oven to Mark 6/200oC/400oF. Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 10 mins and drain. Grease an ovenproof dish generously with some butter.
  • Now make white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then remove it from the heat and stir in the flour – keep stirring until the mixture is completely smooth. Put the pan back on the heat and cook for a further 1-2 mins.
  • Gradually whisk in the pint of milk and cook the sauce, stirring all the time, until it has boiled. Stir the macaroni into the sauce with half of the grated cheddar, tip into the greased ovenproof dish and then sprinkle with the remaining cheddar. Bake for 15-20 mins until all the cheese has melted.

Tips: A great advantage to this dish is that it can be spiced up in so many ways – and again most of the ingredients will be close at hand. Fry an onion, mix into the cheese sauce and sprinkle with paprika and you’re well on the way to a real feast. To really go to town, fry bacon or chunks of pancetta and add to the sauce. Also try tinned tuna.

Sicilian Chicken

Serves: 4; Prep: 15 mins; Cook: 55 mins; Cals per portion: 485

A rich casserole flavoured with garlic, anchovies, olives and capers. Serve with freshly cooked pasta.

Ingredients: 4 chicken portions; salt and pepper; 1 tbsp/15ml plain flour; 2 tbsp/30ml olive oil; 1 onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 8oz/225g button mushrooms; 1 tbsp/15ml chopped fresh oregano; 2 tbsp/30ml capers;12 black olives; 1/2pt/300ml white wine; 1/4pt/150ml chicken stock; 4 tbsp/60ml tomato puree; 8oz/226g can tomatoes; 6 anchovy fillets, drained and halved; sprigs of oregano, to garnish

  • Preheat oven to Mark 5 / 375oF / 190oC. Remove skin from the chicken. Season flour and use to coat the chicken.
  • Heat oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add onion and garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Stir in the mushrooms, oregano, capers, olives, wine, stock and tomato puree. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook for 30 mins.
  • Remove from oven and stir in tomatoes and anchovy fillets. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Serve garnished with oregano.