Linguine with sausage meatballs and chard

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This seasonal pasta dish will be on the table in under 20 mins. A great dish for this weekend if you have guests coming over. It has a velvety sauce that will wow your guests but it’s not too filling. It’s also great for a quick midweek meal when you have a couple of sausages left in the fridge.

It can be adapted if you can’t get the lovely seasonal chard either to spring greens or cavolo nero ( dark kale ). Maybe a friend who has an allotment or veggie patch will gladly give you some.

I think sometimes chard can be pushed aside slightly. Many people I speak to shy away from it as they aren’t sure how to use it. It sometimes can confuse people with its large leaves and stems. I personally love the veg and feel it should be showcased more. It’s beautiful colours are a delight to look at. Especially as we are in Autumn now. Mine are still growing well in the kitchen garden, some have bolted as I want them to go to seed but the others are fine.

I may even grow some more over the coming months.

Listen here where you can hear me cooking this super simple, quick and inexpensive recipe for Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester.

 

Linguine with sausage meatballs and chard:

 

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Ingredients:

(Serves 2)

Sausage Meatballs:

  • 3-4 pork sausages ( Meat taken out of the skins )
  • A small handful of fennel fronds/tops chopped
  • A sprig of sage chopped ( 4 leaves )
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Pasta:

  • 200g, linguine ( I used dry )
  • Good glug of Rapeseed oil ( I use cold pressed )
  • 1 medium sized red onion diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic chopped, use 2 if very small
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • A good pinch of chilli flakes or you can use fresh.
  • 2 large handfuls chard chopped roughly, stalks a little smaller. If you can’t get chard, use spring greens or cavolo nero.
  • 1/4 gel pot of chicken stock
  • 2 ladles hot water from the pasta
  • Slug double cream
  • fresh parmesan grated

 

 

Method: 

  • Cook linguine to packet instructions
  • Mix together the sausage meat, herbs and seasoning and create small meatballs. This will make roughly 16 small sized ones.
  • Whilst that is cooking, fry of the onion in rapeseed oil on a medium heat for a minute, then add in the mushrooms. You may need to add a little more rapeseed oil.
  • After a couple of minutes bring your mixture to the sides of the frying pan.
  • Add in your meatballs into the middle and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring as you go.
  • After a couple of minutes, add in the garlic and toss all together.

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  • When the meatballs are starting to brown slightly, pop in the chard.
  • As it cooks down, add in your chilli flakes and chicken stock.
  • Add in the water from the pasta and reduce down for a minute or two.

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  • Drain off your pasta, keep some water if you feel you need to add a little more.
  • Add a slug of double cream and a little grated parmesan

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  • Add your pasta to the sauce using tongs or a spaghetti spoon so you don’t add too much at once. Fold the velvety sauce through the pasta.
  • Serve into large pasta bowls and add a sprinkle of grated fresh parmesan.

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Turkey, red pepper and chilli bolognese.

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I cook lots of traditional Italian ragu at home as I love the fact it just cooks for many hours on a slow cook and boy is it worth the wait at the end! I will post one at some point. However there are sometimes midweek when I love a “British” style bolognese but using turkey mince, it’s a lovely lighter alternative and great for children nutritional wise. Even better for adults!  More to the point, its quick to make and cheaper.

I’ve actually been meaning to post the recipe for sometime, truth be told I thought I had until I looked! This recipe is a slightly different version that I made by using up some peppers and chillies I had. My partner loved it and said it was better than the first version, I agree, but if you don’t want the peppers or chillies in it then follow the recipe and take those out.

If I’m making the “British style” bolognese like this one, I actually now prefer it with Turkey so If your young ones struggle a little with beef mince then give this recipe a try. Let me know how it went?

Also if you have any left either freeze it down or pop it on a jacket potato for your Lunch the next day.

 

Ingredients:

( Serves 4 )

  • 450g Turkey Mince
  • 2-3 tbsp Rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/2 large carrot or 1 small carrot finely diced
  • 1/2 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 mild chilli chopped finely
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 of chicken stock gel pot
  • a good splash of dry white wine ( optional )
  • Handful of fresh herbs chopped finely = Rosemary, sage and oregano
  • A good splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 250ml of water to hand if needed
  • Pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper to season

 

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Method:

  • Heat up your rapeseed oil for a few seconds in a frying pan until hot then fry your onions, carrot and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes then add in your mushrooms and stir.
  • Once your mushrooms are starting to colour add in your peppers and turkey mince. Then add in your garlic and fry until your mince is cooked.
  • Once the mince is cooked pop in your chillies, herbs, stock, wine and tomato puree. Stir for a further 2 minutes.
  • Then add your chopped tomatoes, stir and simmer for about 10 minutes. If it starts to go dry, add in a little water. *** A good tip from me is pop your water into the chopped tomato can then none is wasted! ***
  • After this add in your Worcestershire sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until your sauce is lovely and thick. Season if needed.
  • Serve up with spaghetti or the pasta of your choice and add parmesan if you wish. Try a bit without first though.

 

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Orzo with bacon, broad beans and peas


I actually wrote this Recipe for my column ” Quick bite” in the Leicester mercury about 6 weeks ago when Broad Beans and peas were at the peak of their season but Ive decided to share this now still as I love this dish and regular make it. 

  Peas are still around at the moment ( August ) and you should still find some Broad beans as they sometimes can go on till September. If for some reason you can’t get them now, Courgettes will be a good substitute.


 Here is what I wrote before:

Broad beans and Peas are in the height of their season at the moment so I wanted to show you a different way of cooking these lovely pulses.
  Broad beans and peas as baby first pickings, like I had, should be enjoyed for their flavour so you shouldn’t by any means over cook them. Im growing both in my kitchen Garden, so if you are too, this is even more fantastic.
  Ive teamed them up in this recipe with Orzo which is a great little pasta shape, sometimes confused for being a grain almost like rice.  I use this quite a lot in cooking as its light, very quick to prepare and most things will go with it. Plus, it’s great to have as a salad the next day for lunch. 
  Ive also teamed these seasonal beauties with some added bacon, one for colour and the saltiness it gives will bounce off the sweetness of the peas.
  I also find that this dish is very refreshing so you won’t feel heavy after it.
  So if you’re unsure of a way to cook broad beans and you’re not quite sure wether you like them, have an abundance of fresh peas or even if you have a packet of orzo in your cupboard gathering dust, do this recipe now.






Orzo with bacon, broad beans and peas:
Ingredients:
(Serves 2 approximately for a light lunch)
  • 3 handfuls of Orzo ( you won’t need a lot, it goes a long way )
  •   2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  •   2 rashers of bacon thinly sliced
  •   2-3 spring onions chopped
  •   8-10 seasonal (British) Broad beans podded (I double podded half )
  •   A good handful of seasonal (British) fresh peas podded
  •   Small amount of Chicken stock (100-150ml) just to taste
  •   Small handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
  •   Pea shoots to finish if you have them and even you can use Broad bean shoots in this too
  •   A good few turns on the pepper mill for some Cracked Black pepper to season
Method:
  • Cook Orzo to packet instructions ( normally only takes 5-6 minutes )
  • Fry off the Bacon for a couple of minutes till its starts to crisp and turn a golden colour.
  • Add your Garlic and Spring onions, cook and stir for about another minute.
  • Pop in your fresh broad beans and peas and cook for a bout a minute or two, not allowing your garlic to burn.
  • Add your chicken stock, stir, reduce down after a minute or two and then add your parsley and seasoning.


*  Make a final stir, taste, add your shoots if you have them, serve and dive in there.

“Fridge raid pasta” for BBC Radio Leicester

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I came up with this recipe about 4 weeks ago for BBC Leicester on my regular slot with Ben Jackson  but it had completely slipped my mind to post it, it sometimes happens with myself as I do so many recipes in a week.  So I must post this now as sadly, our lovely British asparagus are now coming to an end for their season this year, but if  you did want to recreate this as it is, you should just manage to find some still around this week and maybe next. As for the peas though, they are now coming into season so you could even use fresh British ones. They would be brilliant for this recipe.

This was done literally how it says in the title. I let Ben look into my fridge, we picked out a few ingredients ( Seasonal too) and then I came up with a dish on the spot. It was to show people really how easy and quick it is to come up with a dish as great tasting and looking as this, just by using up things that are in your fridge! I suppose one would call this a “Ready steady cook” thing maybe? I love doing that and  I love to show people what they can acheive just from a few ingredients or leftovers they have. Say no to waste!
I cook meals like this quite regularly in the week, maybe not with the exact ingredients but I always ensure I have a bag of pasta in so I can create something like this. It’s also great having a jar of homemade Pesto in your fridge as that alone with pasta and a sprinkling of parmesan is a dish in itself.  It doesn’t have to be a wild garlic one, you could use a basil or another green vegetable/herb pesto. Creating dishes like this in under 15-20 minutes, you’ll never turn back.

Click this link and you can hear me making it on BBC Radio Leicester

 

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Fridge raid pasta

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 -3)

*One thing I must add for this recipe is that I can’t mark it as Vegetarian as it has Parmesan in my pesto recipe*
– Approximately 200g Fusilli Pasta or any pasta of your Choice
– 1/4 Leek sliced
– 2 Spring Onions chopped finely
– 2 cloves of Garlic
– 8 British Asparagus Spears, wood end cut off
– 5-6 British Purple Sprouting Broccoli Stems
– A handful of Petit Pois defrosted and drained or British Fresh podding Peas
– 1 Tbsp Of Wild Garlic Pesto or can use Basil Pesto
– Small Handful of Pea Shoots
– Cracked black Pepper
– Sea salt to season

 

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Method:

*  Take of wood ends off the Asparagus and peel the outer layer at the bottom couple of inches and pop into Ice cold Water to keep them vivid green.

*  Chop Purple Sprouting broccoli into 3 and pop into the Ice cold water too.

*  In boiling water Cook the Asparagus and the Purple sprouting Broccoli for 2 minutes then plunge into Ice cold Water

*  Cook Pasta to packet instructions in the same Pan with boiling water used for the Veg.

*  Fry off your Onion, Leek and Garlic for a couple of Minutes adding a little Cracked Black pepper.

*  Chop your Asparagus into 3 and add them and the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, stir for a minute or two.

*  Drain your Pasta and keep a little water  to pop into the frying pan to add a little moisture. Add your Pasta to the Vegetable mix now.

*  Stir in your Pesto and cook for a minute making sure whilst stirring your pasta it is all coated with it.

*  Pop in your Peas, stir for 30 seconds and then add your pea shoots. Add a little Salt to season and you are ready to serve!

 

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