It’s cold out. And when it’s cold out, there’s nothing better than a home cooked meal shared with the family. I like to eat slow cooked casseroles or ragu that has been simmering away all afternoon. The problem with winter comfort food though, is that it slowly stacks on your weight without you knowing until it’s summer time. You try to put on your favourite pair of shorts or skirt and find that it no longer fits!
I was introduced to Vetta Pasta’s new Smart Pasta range; one is High Protein Low Carb and the other is Cholesterol Lowering. These two healthy options comes in different shapes so you can cook any pasta dish you want.
I tried the High Protein Low Carb Penne and could not taste the difference over traditional pasta. I have a Nigel Slater recipe that I like to cook for the the family but since I have the healthier pasta, I wanted to change the original recipe to a slighter healthier one too. I also added a breadcrumb topping to add texture to the dish. If you don’t use all of the topping, place in an air tight container for use next time.
I have also tried the Cholesterol Lowering Spirals. If you would like to try Vetta’s recipes for their new range, you can find them here.
4 of your favourite pork sausages,taken out of the casing and crumbled
400g of Vetta Pasta high protein low card Penne
200ml white wine
a small handful of chopped fresh basil
1 tbs of whole grain mustard
200ml light evaporated milk
Put a large pan of water on boil for the pasta
In a frying pan, add the olive oil. When hot, add the crumbled sausages and fry till cooked through.
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions
Pour the wine into the frying pan and let it sizzle. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get anything that got stuck. Add the chopped basil.
Add salt and the mustard. Pour in the evaporated milk and bring slowly to a simmer.
Cook for a further minute or two, making sure to stir now and then.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the tip into the cream sausage sauce. If too dry add some of the pasta water.
Serve with a garnish of basil leaves and top with breadcrumb mix. (recipe below)
1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
I clove of garlic, crushed finely
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
4 tbs of chopped fresh herbs, any will do ( I used rosemary and parsley)
Breadcrumb mix method:
Pour some olive oil into a frying pan then add the breadcrumbs. Toast a little.
Add the rest of the ingredients and warm through. Put aside.
Pasta and Ingredients were courtesy of Vetta Pasta and KeepLeft PR
My family loves pasta and finding new and interesting ways to cook it is always welcomed in my household. I was given the opportunity to try the new ‘Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes’ cheese blend. I jumped at the chance to try to create a dish that I knew my family would love.
I remember seeing a recipe in a food magazine a while back that was a cross between a lasagna and a cannelloni. So I’ve used that recipe as an inspiration. The recipe involved stuffing lasagne sheets with bolognaise and bechamel sauce and baking it in the oven in a tomato sauce. I added more vegetables but diced them finely so my children didn’t know they were eating it (hehe…) It’s cheesy and packed full of flavour. It was such a hit with the family that there were no left-overs. If you have left over bolognaise sauce you can of course freeze it . The sauce can be kept frozen and then reheated and eaten with cooked pasta for a quick meal.
The use of the ‘Perfect Italiano perfect Bakes’ in this dish meant that I didn’t need to buy three different packets of cheese. It is a full flavoured cheddar blend with a little mozzerella for stretch and parmesan for bite.
You can re-create my dish using The Perfect Bakes or visit their website here for more recipes.
500g pork and veal mince
1/2 cup finely diced celery stick
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced mushrooms
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
3 crushed garlic cloves
700g bottle passata
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
16 small lasagne sheets (or 5-6 large sheets)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup ‘Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes’ plus extra for serving
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs plain flour
2 cups milk
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Sweat the diced vegetables for 2-3 minutes then add the mince. Keep stirring until browned.
Add the passata and 1/2 cup of stock, sugar and salt & pepper. Cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid evaporates. Set aside to cool a little.
Make the bechamel sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour for 1 minute then gradually add the milk a little at a time, stirring in between each addition, making sure it’s well combined before adding more. Cook until mixture thickens slightly.
Preheat oven to 180degC. Spread 1 lasagne sheet with about 3 heaping tablespoons of the mince mixture then drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the bechamel sauce.
Starting from a short side, roll up to form a log and cut into 2 (or 3 if using large sheets). Place cut side up in a 20cm round ovenproof dish.
Repeat with remaining lasagne sheets.
Combine the tomato puree and remaining stock and pour over the rotolo.
Sprinkle on the Perfect Italiano Perfect Bake cheese over the rotolo and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
To serve, sprinkle more of the Perfect Italiano Perfect bake cheese over the rotolo.
OK, So, I have also a give away for 2 lucky readers. I have 2 Perfect Italiano cheese graters to give away.
All you need to do is leave a comment simply telling me what bake you would cook using the ‘Perfect Italiano Perfect Bakes’.
Competition is open now until Monday 30th September midnight and is only open to Australian residents.
Please make sure to leave your email address so I may be able to contact you.
Ingredients and giveaway courtesy of KeepLeft PR and Perfect Italiano
This week’s meatless day challenge was inspired by a dish by Nigel Slater. Using fresh tomatoes and grilling it and doing very little to it brings out the natural flavour of the sweet tangy tomatoes.
I love the idea of having pasta in a light and flavourful sauce. The best part of this dish is that it’s not only very tasty but it’s quick, so it’s perfect for a midweek meal.
There really isn’t a recipe set in stone for this. It really is free form and you can add any herbs you like.
Half tomatoes and place on an oven tray. I used 6 tomatoes for 2 people but this was plenty. Drizzle really good quality olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. I then added minced garlic and fresh thyme from my herb garden.
Place under a hot grill and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Place them in the bowl including all the juices that collected in the tray. Pour a splash of red wine vinegar. Roughly crush with a fork leaving some large pieces of tomatoes. Mix in some fresh basil.
To serve, combine with cooked spaghetti pasta and enjoy.
I was really nervous about this weeks challenge. I have never made pasta from scratch before but have been wanting to do it for ages. Since my mum had the pasta machhine and never used it, I thought it was finally to give it’s first run.
I looked for the most simple recipe I could find from my cook books and found this recipe. It only needs 2 main ingredients. How simple is that? Egg and Strong flour. It is so simple that I will make my own pasta again. The taste and texture of home made pasta is far superior to store bought dry pasta. It’s very silky and soft and the best thing is that you know exactly what went in it
I didn’t take any photos of me using the pasta maker, simply because I didn’t want to show the huge mess I made. Flour everywhere. I’m such a messy cook.
400g Italian ’00’ flour, plus extra to dust
4 large fresh eggs
large pinch of salt
Pile the flour in a mound on a surface and make a well in the middle. Break the eggs into the well and add the salt. Stir the eggs into the flour, with a fork at first and then with your hands, until it forms a coarse paste. Add a little more flour if too moist and a little water if too dry.
Now knead the pasta dough using the pasta machine until it is smooth and workable, not too soft and not too hard. Cover the dough with a cloth and rest for 15 to 30 minutes before rolling out.
Divide the dough into 4 or 5 portions. In the machine, pass the dough through the rollers, a portion at a time, decreasing the gap between the rollers each time, so that the dough becomes thinner and longer. Repeat this until you obtain the desired thickness: 3-4mm for lasagne and cannelloni; 1.5-2mm for stuffed pasta. Then either pass through the cutting rollers to make various sizes of ribbon or cut into sheets.
Cook fresh pasta in a large saucepan, allowing 1 litre water per 100g pasta plus 2 tsp salt. Cooking time varies according to the kind of pasta, it’s thickness and whether it is stuffed, but home made pasta ribbons will take about 3 minutes.
I wanted to make lasagne so I rolled out the pasta into thin sheets and cooked for about 3 minutes a couple at a time.
The pasta sauce for the lasagne
The finished Lasagne with the home made egg pasta
I served the lasagne with home made garlic and herb bread.
Today was my daughter Deanna’s first Birthday Party. With the help of loving family, we were able to give Deanna a great night to celebrate the milestone.
There was food aplenty, as you can see.
Of course there was Nandos Chickens; 2 lemon & herb, 1 mild, 1 hot and Nandos Wings
My mum’s Prawn and vegetable lettuce wrap
My mum’s lasagne
Madras Coconut, Chicken & Banana Curry from “Ainsley Harriott’s Gourmet Express 2” page 69 made by me (pictured left) and my mum in law’s Red-peppered beef stir-fry from “Complete Family Cookbook” page 102
For Lunch today I felt like something a little healthy. I made myself a pasta salad. The first thing I always do is see what I have in the fridge and pantry and I take it from there. In the pantry I had a can of salmon and pasta and in the fridge I had cucumber, celery and lemons. That’s how I came to inventing this pasta dish.
The cucumber and the inside yellow leaves of the celery gave the salad a fresh crunchy taste while the salmon gave it more substance. I love the flavour of lemon juice in my salad so I added the juice of a whole lemon.
Give the salad a go, it’s matter of throwing all the ingredients into a bowl and stir. The salad is just made to taste. You can add more salmon or more cucumber if you like. For me I like to make it really lemony.