Veggie mains

Avocado pasta

This makes a great lunch or light meal and is perfect if you’re not sure whether you want a salad or a hot pasta dish. It’s fresh but creamy and very quick and easy to make. It will be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. This will serve 2.

So what do you need?

  • 200 – 250 g pasta
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small / 1/2 a large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 / 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a squeeze of lemon / lime juice
  • a sprig of basil leaves
  • some chilli oil (optional) or some ground black pepper

So what do you do?

First put the pasta on to cook. The chop the onion and start to fry it gently in the olive oil, chop up the garlic and add it. Chop up the tomatoes and them once the onion starts to soften. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes too much just heat them up really. When the pasta is nearly done cut open one of the avocados and mush it in it’s shell. Pour some of the pasta water into the pan with the veggies, probably about 1/2 a cup, turn off the heat and mix in the mushed avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few torn up basil leaves. Stir this to make a sauce. Then drain the pasta and add it to the pan and add the second avocado chopped into chunks. Stir together and serve with a drizzle of chilli oil and garnish with some basil leaves.

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The Basics, Veggie mains

Courgette, cashew & blue cheese pesto

Pesto

I love pesto but it’s not always easy to find Italian Basil here in Chiang Mai. The bugs have eaten my basil plants, but today I found fresh basil in the market so changed my dinner plans to pesto. I decided to mix things up a bit with the pesto adding courgette and blue cheese. Feel free to stick to parmesan if you prefer in the pesto. I served it with whole wheat past and fried mushrooms. The whole meal takes about 20 minutes. This will make enough pesto for 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • 1 good handful of cashew nuts
  • 2 medium-sized courgettes
  • a large bunch of basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of half a small lime
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 50g blue cheese

First, bring a pan of water to boil for the pasta. Then dry fry the cashews in a frying pan until they just begin to change colour and put them in a blender. Put about 2 tbsp. olive oil in the frying pan and add the courgettes, chopped into pieces, and the garlic. fry until the courgette softens but before it browns and add this to the blender. I then put my pasta on and fried the mushrooms in the same frying pan.

Next grate the lime zest into the blender and squeeze in the juice and add the blue cheese, salt and pepper. Pluck the basil leaves off the stalks, about three large handfuls of leaves and add to the blender. When the pasta is almost done blend the pesto, I like to keep some of the texture of the nuts. Then add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pesto and blend this in. Drain the pasta and add the pesto. Stir so the pasta is well covered with the pesto and serve with the mushrooms and a grating of parmesan.

 

 

 

 

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Veggie mains

Spaghetti with cabbage, garlic, chilli and breadcrumbs

spaghetti

This is a quick and easy pasta dish that makes a tasty supper or quick lunch. It’s pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta, and it’s basically vegan, but if you like you can add some butter. This recipe is for two portions.

So what do you need?

  • 250g (whole wheat) spaghetti
  • 250 – 300g finely sliced cabbage
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1.-2 dried chillies
  • salt
  • 1 slice of whole meal bread
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • a knob of butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating a saucepan of salted water to cook the pasta in. While this is coming to the boil, crumble the slice of bread into breadcrumbs and crush a clove of garlic and add it with a pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and fry the breadcrumbs gently until golden brown and crisp and put them to one side in a bowl.

Once the pasta water boils cook the pasta and over the boiling pasta steam the cabbage for a few minutes in a sieve. Slice the rest of the garlic and fry it in the remaining olive oil until it starts to turn light brown and then add the chopped chillies. The cabbage should have started to soften by now and you can add it to the frying pan along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the cabbage while the pasta continues to cook you can add a little of the pasta water to help soften the cabbage. Once the past is cooked drain it and add it to the cabbage fry for about a minute so the pasta absorbs the flavours of the oil. At this stage you can add the butter and lemon juice if using them. Divide into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

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Thai Food, Veggie mains

Spaghetti pad kaprao

spaghetti

This makes a quick and easy lunch or supper made from store cupboard staples. It’s an adaption of spaghetti aglio olio to include Thai holy basil. The breadcrumbs pangrattato give extra texture to the dish and are used instead of cheese making it a great vegan option. The recipe here serves 2.

So what do you need?

  • 1 or 2 slices of bread
  • 5-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g mushrooms
  • 4-5 colves of garlic
  • 3-4 birds-eye chillies
  • 250g spaghetti
  • a small bunch of holy basil

So what do you do?

Start by putting your salted pasta water on to boil. Then make your breadcrumbs by putting the bread in a food processor and chopping them until you have relatively coarse breadcrumbs. Pour a little olive oil in a frying pan and over a medium heat toast the breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt until crisp and golden brown. Then put them to one side in a bowl. Slice up your mushrooms and peal and chop the garlic, give the chillies a bash and then heat up about 4 – 5 tbsp. of oil in the frying pan and add the mushrooms, garlic, chilli a good pinch or two of salt and a grind of black pepper. Cook on a medium heat until the garlic starts to go golden brown and the mushrooms are cooked.

Meanwhile cook your spaghetti according to instructions. While it’s cooking pluck the leaves off the holy basil so you have a good handful. Once the spaghetti is cooked drain it reserving some of the pasta water. Add the spaghetti to the frying pan with about 1/3 up of pasta water and throw in the holy basil leaves cook until the leaves wilt and the pasta is covered in the oild mixture. Divide the spaghetti into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

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Veggie mains

Pasta & broccoli

 

pasta

This is a ‘copy’ of a recipe by Rachel Roddy in the Guardian that I’ve been meaning to make for a while. It’s really simple and delicious.

The broccoli is cooked twice ‘ripassati’. For two large portions start by boiling about 500g of broccoli in well salted water. I used baby broccoli and added the chopped stems to the pan a couple of minutes before the heads and cooked for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile I heated about 4 tbsp. of olive oil in a heavy pan and started to fry a couple of cloves of garlic. I then used a slotted spoon and transferred the cooked broccoli into the pan with some of the cooking water and added about a tsp. of peperoncino seasoning, herbs and chilli, you can just add 1/2 tsp of dried chill flakes. I stirred this around and then covered it and let it continue to cook. . I brought the water I’d cooked the broccoli in back to the boil and added about 250g of rigatoni pasta. I cooked the pasta and kept the broccoli cooking stirring occasionally and adding a couple of tbsp. of pasta water if necessary. The broccoli needs to cook down until it’s really soft. Once the pasta was cooked I drained it and added it to the broccoli and mixed everything together well and added 100g cottage cheese, you could use ricotta, I then served the pasta with some parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of the peperoncino chills and herbs.

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Veggie mains

Marmite & mushroom pasta

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This a really simple yet satisfying pasta dish, with yummy umami  flavours, that you can probably make with what you have in your cupboard and fridge. It’s inspired by Nigella’s even more minimalistic Marmite Spaghetti which is good but I like it with the addition of a few mushrooms that can be fried while the pasta cooks.

Start by cooking your pasta, spaghetti or linguini work well, about 120-150g per portion. While it’s cooking slice up a similar weight of mushrooms. Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and add the mushrooms and a crushed galic clove and fry until they start to brown. Then drain the pasta, once cooked, reserving some of the water. Add a chopped spring onion, a good grind of black pepper, half a teaspoon (or slightly more) of Marmite to the mushrooms along with the pasta and enough pasta water to stop the pasta sticking to the pan as you coat it in the buttery marmite mixture. You can add a little more butter too if you like. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

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Thai Food, Veggie mains

Drunken spaghetti / Pad Kee Mao

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This is a try fusion dish a Thai-Chinese noodle dish made with pasta instead of rice noodles. The noodle version is similar to Pad See Ew but with spices. The Thai name translates as drunken noodles perhaps because the spicy version is good after a few drinks. It works well with pasta but if you prefer make it withy thick rice noodles. The quantities and ingredients below are just a guideline as you can mix and match the veggies you prefer and adapt the level of spice to suit your taste. This will make 3 – 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • vegetable oil
  • 3 or 4 coves of garlic
  • 4-6 small birds eye chillies (prik kee noo)
  • 3-4 large red chillies
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 200g firm tofu
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 150g green beans
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • a handful of fresh green peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. veggie ‘oyster’ sauce
  • a bunch of holy basil
  • 300g pasta spaghetti / linguine

So what do you do?

Start by heating a pan of salted water to cook your pasta in and prepare your vegetables. Chop the tofu into small cubes, deseed and chop your large chillies and bell pepper, slice your mushrooms, tomatoes and onion. Take any stringy bits off the beans and take the basil of its stems, you’ll need about a cupful of leaves. In a mortar crush the garlic and small chillies together and lightly crush about a third of your peppercorns too.

Then heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a wok and fry your tofu until it’s golden then drain it and put it to one side. Then fry your garlic and chilli mix and onion in the remaining oil. While this is cooking put your pasta on. After a minute or so add the pepper and large chillies, and then add the mushrooms. Fry for a couple of minutes then add the tomatoes and pre-cooked tofu. I lightly steam my beans over the pasta for a minute or too as this brings out the green colour in them. Add the beans to the wok along with the remaining peppercorns and the soy and veggie ‘oyster’ sauce also. You can add a little of the pasta water if it seems dry, make sure the sauce coats everything. Then add the holy basil leaves and stir them in. Finally drain the pasta and add this to the wok and cook for a mintue longer so that the pasta absorbs the flavours of the sauce.

 

 

 

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