Posts tagged Pasta

An antidote to Monday

We’ve all been there, Monday evening, Monday blues: crashing into the house after work and ordering trash or worse raiding the freezer for a meal that’s lazy to cook, but deeply dissatisfying to eat.

Well do that no more: my Mac and Cheese is the antidote to Mondays. It’s rich, unctuous and guaranteed to make you feel better about the world and with just 15 minutes of prep and then 30 lazy minutes in the oven there’s still endless amounts of Monday evening left to catch up with your Netflix guilty pleasures.


Perfect Mac & Cheese 

The prep for this meal is split into two parts, both can be done at the same time – so first put a pan of water on to boil and set your oven to 350°f or 180°c, and butter a deep baking dish. Once your pan and your oven are both at temperature add a little salt to the water and tip your pasta into the pan.

You’ll need to give the pan a quick stir every couple of minutes, but otherwise it can be left to its own devices. Cook till you’re a minute shy of al dente – the brand of macaroni I use says it’s ready in 8 minutes so I cook it for 7 – drain once your time is up and then return to the cooking pan coating the pasta with olive oil where it can be set aside until you’re finished with the rest of your prep work.

Now while your pasta is cooking, grate your cheeses and find a good deep chefs pan, add the butter and flour to that pan until you have a nice smooth roux (where flour and butter have combined), then add your milk and cream gradually whisking as you go until the mixture starts to bubble, at this point add salt and pepper to taste and tumble in the Gruyere and the Cheddar, keep whisking till it’s smooth and entirely combined and then add your cooked pasta, stir well before pouring the whole mixture into your greased baking dish.

Finally, add your topping – In a small dish combine panko bread crumbs with smoked paprika, parmesan and a little melted butter: then simply tumble that across the top of your pasta, and that’s it – your work is over: into the oven it goes and 30 minutes later you’ll be demolishing it and coming back for seconds I almost guarantee.

Serves 4. Or makes a great meal for 2 with guaranteed leftovers


Going the extra Mile 

This is a dish that you can play with to your hearts content, so experiment – you can add almost anything to a Mac & Cheese to suit your tastes, crispy bacon, roasted cauliflower, deeply aromatic chorizo, cayenne pepper, roasted peppers, garlic, little cheese bombs of blue cheese, or a layer maybe of stringy buffalo mozzarella, and I wouldn’t be forgiven if I didn’t mention how Mac and Cheese is a gateway to cholula. So make it your way and your life will be better for it.

Ingredients: 

  • 8oz elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups extra mature cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese
  • 1.5 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumb
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  • 1 Dash La Chinita smoked paprika (more for less flavorsome brands)
  • To taste salt & pepper

Photo Credit: Neil A. Evans © 2019
Photo Location: At Home, Bankside, London, England.

Super fast – Super filling Fettuccine

I am a huge fan of pasta: it doesn’t matter what type it is, creamy, filled, coated, baked, I’m sold, but I’m also an enormous fan of a meal that can be put together really quickly.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m more than happy to spend all day in the kitchen watching a meal come together over hours – but there are nights when you just want to eat immediately – so this Fettuccine dish is an instant win for me, combining deeply satisfying creamy pasta with an ability to be eating it in just 15 minutes flat.


One Pot Sun Dried Tomato Fettuccine 

First cut up the tomatoes in small even pieces, then mince the garlic; that’s all your prep work done –  no really I’m serious, you’re done – how good is that?

Set the tomatoes aside, and sauté the garlic over a low to medium heat in a deep chefs pan for a minute or two until its softening, being careful not to let it brown or it’ll be bitter.

Once it’s soft add the chicken broth, tomatoes, milk and pasta to the pan with quite a lot of fresh cracked black pepper – I’ll probably add twenty or so turns of the pepper mill to this as I bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as it’s bubbling reduce the heat and cover stirring every couple of minutes to make sure that the pasta is fully submerged and isn’t sticking.

The brand of fettuccine I buy is usually approaching ready in about 7 minutes, at which point I remove the lid, add the parmesan and stir thoroughly for another minute or two on the heat to allow it to properly thicken, once all that sauce is adhering to the pasta you’re ready – serve and demolish immediately with additional parmesan and a few sprigs of basil to finish.

Serves 2 very hungry people, or 4

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 8 oz fettuccine
  • 12 pieces sun dried tomatoes
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan

Photo Credit: Neil A. Evans © 2019
Photo Location: At Home, Bankside, London, England.