Friday, 18 November 2011

Roasted vegetable pasta with ricotta

Since the 11th I seem to have disappeared into a Skyrim-sized hole, and my allotted computer time has been eaten up by playing, rather than writing. But here's an easy, rustic and nutritious pasta dish to fll yourselves with in the long winter nights. Your choices of vegetables goes here, I used the classic mediterannean style.

Roasted vegetable pasta with ricotta

Serves 4

Takes about 40 minutes

2 small aubergines

2 courgettes

250g button mushrooms

2 orange peppers

330g dried pasta (I used shells)

A 250g bag of baby spinach leaves

A ready mix of spices to sprinkle onto roasted vegetables (I used Schwartz mediterannean chicken spices. If you can't get anything like it, use some herbs de provence with some paprika and dried garlic)

250g rictotta cheese

Extra virgin olive oil for roasting and dripping on the pasta to stop it from sticking

A dash of balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200C if fan, 220C conventional

* Chop up the veggies into inch-sized chunks while the oven is preheating.

* Put some olive oil into a roasting tin and chuck the veggies in, stirring to ensure they are well coated.

* Sprinkle herbs/spices on top, toss for an even coating, then pop in the oven for around 30 minutes.

* In the meantime boil the pasta according to package instructions. Set aside when done and toss with a bit of oil to stop it sticking.

* When the veggies are done, take them out and first stir the spinach into the pasta. Then stir in the vegetables evenly, then dollop the rictotta on top and mix well.

* Drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar and season if you only used herbs on your veggies.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Sausage and vegetable hash

To be honest I don't quite remember the exact amounts in this recipe as it was very much a case of "chuck this in there" and pretty much anything goes. I based it on a bubble and squeak type thing, but actually turned out a lot like a Dutch "stamppot". I'm sure pretty much any vegetable can be used, and it makes a great easy, nutritious and filling meal for the closing Autumn nights.

Sausage and vegetable hash

Serves 2

Takes around 40 minutes including chopping time

A pack of 5 or 6 vegetarian sausages

1 leek

150g spinach (I really don't know exactly how much I used here, as I use pellets of frozen spinach up to a certain level in a jug, then defrost)

2 medium-sized potatoes, preferably waxy

A handful of cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp of some kind of seasoning sauce, such as soya sauce or a vegetarain worcester sauce. I used something called "mushroom ketchup", which really doesn't look or taste how it sounds

1 tbsp fresh thyme

1 tsp marmite/yeast extract (optional)

1 clove of garlic, chopped (optional)

* Cut the potatoes into small cubes, the leek into small pieces, the sausages into inch-thick pieces and the tomatoes in half.

* Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes, then drain and set aside. While they are boiling, heat some oil in a large pan and fry the leeks and garlic for 5 minutes until soft.

* Fry the sausages for around 10 minutes, adding the potatoes and thyme in halfway through.

* Stir in the seasoning sauce and marmite if using, so it sticks to the potato-y bits

* Depending on the nature of your spinach, stir it through with the tomatoes and either leave to wilt or leave to heat through (fresh vs frozen).

* By the end the potato should have broken down a bit, leaving a lovely, mushy mash that sticks everything together. Serve with ketchup!