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.

Pea and Ham Broth

A recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Most of us have a packet of frozen peas in our freezer.  They are useful for using as a side dish and in soups, risottos and braised dishes.  This soup is startingly simple and fast.  Home-made stock makes it even tastier, but you can just as easily use a good-quality organic chicken or vegetable stock cube or powder.

Serves : 2  –  Quick and Easy – ready to eat in 10 minutes 🙂

Pea and Ham broth

  1. Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in a saucepan and add 70g (2 ¼ oz) cubed pancetta, a crushed clove of garlic and two chopped stalks of celery.
  2. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the pancetta is starting to colour and crisp and the celery softens.
  3. Add 750ml (24 fl oz) of boiling chicken or vegetable stock or boiling water with a stock cube.
  4. Add 300g (10oz) of frozen peas (straight from the packet) and 3 chopped spinach or chard leaves, and return the broth to the boil.
  5. Simmer gently for about 3 minutes, or until the peas are tender.
  6. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Serve immediately.

Pork Chops, Cous Cous and Mixed Farmhouse Vegetables

For a change, this recipe if for a meal that I prepared for myself this evening    A nice easy meal for a week day evening as it only took about 20 mins to prepare and is lovely and tasty.   The cous cous has a really nice chilli tang to it so is delicious with the chops and vegetables.

My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of it before eating hence the picture of “Homer Simpson”!

dohIngredients:  2 pork chops with the fat removed; a small amount of light in colour virgin olive oil; salt and pepper; 1 packet of Ainsley Harriott Tomato and Chilli Cous Cous; a knob of butter; 400g Frozen Mixed Farmhouse Vegetables

  • Start by pre-heating a cast iron griddle pan until it is hot – do not add oil to the pan.  Whilst the pan is heating up, mix together, in a small bowl, the olive oil and salt and pepper.  After patting the chops dry, baste the top of the chop with the oil and seasoning mix.
  • When the pan is slightly smoking, place the chops in the pan oil side down and press down firmly in the pan to create a seal.  Let the chops sizzle away for about 4-5 mins before basting the top of the chops ready to turn over for cooking the other side.
  • Whilst the chops continue to sizzle away, stick the kettle on for the boiling water for the cous cous.
  • Add the frozen mixed vegetables to a microwaveable dish with a couple of tablespoons of water and cover before microwaving for 2 1/2 mins.
  • When the kettle is boiled, empty the contents of the cous cous packet into a bowl and add 160ml of water and stir well.  Leave the cous cous for 3-5 mins so the grains can absorb the water.
  • When the microwave pings for the veggies, take out the bowl and give the veg a good stir before returning it to the microwave for a further 2 mins.
  • The chops will then be ready for one last turn over and will only require a couple more minutes to fully cook.
  • Once the cous cous has absorbed all the water, add a knob of butter to it and separate the grains with a fork.
  • To serve, drain the excess water from the vegetables and spoon onto warmed plates with the chops and cous cous.


Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato and Bacon

This dish of avocados with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella slices, artichokes hearts and crisp bacon is a superb main course salad packed with flavours. The tomatoes can be bought dried, and need soaking in water to soften before use, or in oil in a jar ready for use. Supermarkets stock them.

Serves: 4; Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 5 mins

Approximate nutritional values per portion: 600 calories; 17g protein; 50g fat; 10g carbohydrate

Ingredients: 6oz (175g) back bacon, derided and chopped; 1 tblsp oil; 4oz (100g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil; 14oz (400g) canned artichokes hearts; 6oz (175g) mozzarella; 1 avocado; lemon juice

For the dressing: 4 tblsp olive oil; 1 tblsp white wine vinegar; 1 clove garlic, crushed; ½ tsp Dijon mustard; salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  • Fry the bacon in a little oil until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Reserve. Cut sun-dried tomatoes into thick strips. Quarter artichoke hearts and cut mozzarella into thin slices. Place these in a bowl with the bacon and tomatoes.
  • Peel and coarsely chop the avocado. Drizzle with lemon juice, then add to bowl.
  • Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a screw-top jar then pour over contents of the bowl. Toss gently to avoid damaging the avocado. Serve immediately.

Other Italian recipes

Something for serving the salad.

Pan-fried Salmon with Limes and Herb Hollandaise Sauce

Nothing’s simpler to prepare than sautéed salmon.  But if you prefer, you can also use smoked haddock for a change.

Serves:  4;  Prep:  3 mins;  Cook:  7 mins;  Cost:  £8.00;  Cals per portion:  490

Ingredients:  25g (1oz) butter; 15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil;  4 tail end Salmon fillets; 1 lime, sliced; 1 bunch of dill; 90ml (6 tbsp) hollandaise sauce; 30ml (2 tbsp) gherkins, chopped; 30ml (2 tbsp) capers

  • Heat the butter and the oil in a large frying pan, when hot, add the salmon and cook for a couple of minutes on each side to seal in juices.  Season with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Add lime, sprinkle over a few sprigs of dill and cook for 2 minutes, turning lime slices.
  • Chop remaining dill and mix with the sauce, gherkins and capers.  When the fish is tender, add the sauce, heat for 30 seconds and serve.  This is delicious served with ready-cooked new potatoes with parsley and mint.

Tip:  Make sure that as soon as you add the hollaindaise sauce to the pan, you remove it from the heat and serve immediately.  As it’s made with eggs it will curdle and separate if overheated.  You can also serve the sauce cold.

Cheat’s Chicken Biryani

A mildly spiced dish that cunningly combines two ready-cooked convenience foods to create a delicious meal.  It will look as through it’s taken ages to prepare – hide the packets and nobody will ever know!

Serves:  2;  Prep:  3 mins;  Cook: 8 mins;  Cals per portion:  400

Ingredients:  45ml / 3 tbsp sunflower oil; 2 onions, sliced;  1 clove of garlic, crushed; 225g (8oz) chunks of cooked chicken tikka, sliced into strips; juice of half a lemon; 25g (1oz) flaked almonds; 400g (14oz) packet ready-cooked Indian-style pilau rice (see tip below); 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh chopped mint; 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh chopped coriander; 25g (1oz) sultanas

  • Heat the oil, add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in the chicken tikka strips and then squeeze over the lemon juice.  Cook for a further 3 minutes.
  • Add the almonds, rice, mint, coriander and sultanas.  Cook, stirring from time to time until just warmed through.  Serve with warm naan bread.