Monday, 11 June 2007

Pasta, Spinach and Three-Cheese Frittata

What do you do when you've got loads of food in your fridge but you really can't decide what to do with it? I had that dilemma this weekend - I had the ingredients for loads of recipes I'd planned earlier in the week but didn't fancy any of them; I was in the mood for pasta or eggs. I decided to compromise and put together a truly amazing pasta frittata with spinach and ricotta. Result? It's now officially a 'favourite'. Unfortunately it's not exactly the most health-tastic, so it'll probably be a short while before I do it again...

Oh, I also want to say that I've found the most AMAZING GF pasta! Rizopia make theirs from brown rice and unlike most other GF pasta I've tried, this has the right 'mouthfeel', tastes great and doesn't disintegrate into a sloppy mess in the pan when you cook it. Really, really good!

Pasta, Spinach and Three-Cheese Frittata

150g Pasta
200g Frozen Spinach
1 medium Onion (chopped finely)
4 large Eggs (lightly beaten together)
2 heaped tbsps Ricotta
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
Mozzarella (sliced)
1 handful Fresh Basil (chopped very finely)
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Butter
1 clove Garlic (minced)
1 pinch Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper

Does 4 servings

1) Start cooking your pasta in slightly salted water.

2) Fry the garlic and onion until just going golden. Add the spinach and nutmeg and continue to cook until softened. Stir through the basil, ricotta and parmesan and season to taste.

3) Drain the cooked pasta and add the spinach mixtures - stir well.

4) In a clean frying pan, melt the butter until it just starts to froth. Tip in the pasta and arrange so it is reasonably level but not over-flattened.

5) Carefully pour in the egg mixture so it is evenly distributed through the pasta. Arrange slices of mozzarella on the top and finish with salt, pepper and a little grated parmesan.

6) Allow to cook slowly on the hob for approximately 5 minutes before finishing under the grill to cook and brown the top.

I had mine with a garlic seafood medley and salad.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

I'm Loving... Risotto

I admit it. I've been on somewhat of a risotto binge recently...
Until recently, I'd never really cooked the stuff but when shopping last month, I picked up a box of Arborio rice and figured I'd give it a go. And then another go. And then another because the first ideas were just so nice.

The wonderful thing about risottos is that you can put near enough anything you like into them and they're really very simple to make. Depending on your ingredients, they can be light or rich and work as either side dishes or as main courses in their own right. While my main picture is of a chicken variation, I've also had huge success with other ones as well. Below is my recipe for a basic Risotto 'Blanco' - do try making variations such as Mushroom risotto, Pea and Smoked Mackerel risotto or my Personal Trainer, Emma's favourite, Asparagus, Pea and Mint risotto - absolutely perfect for this time of year!

Risotto Blanco

1 cup Arborio Rice
1 Onion (chopped finely)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
2 cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Stock
1 heaped tbsp Parmesan
1 tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper

1) In a saucepan, melt the butter and slowly saute the garlic and onion together until soft (but not brown). [If using meat or mushrooms, I add them now]. Add the rice and continue to fry gently for a couple of minutes.

2) Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the pan and stir every few minutes until the rice absorbs the liquid and it 'just' tender - it should still have a little 'bite' to it. (You may need to add more stock during cooking). [If using vegetables, I tend to add them towards the end of cooking so they aren't overdone].

3) Stir through the parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. The finished consistency should be tender grains that are almost creamy.