Pasta with Chocolate Bows and White Chocolate Sauce

Pasta with Chocolate Bows and White Chocolate Sauce

½ quantity pasta dough
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp walnut oil
1 tsp natural vanilla essence
225 g white chocolate
3 tbsp golden syrup
25 g unsalted butter
50 g walnuts, chopped

  1. Make the pasta dough, adding the cocoa and icing sugar to the flour before mixing in the egg and using 1 tbsp walnut oil and the vanilla essence in­stead of the olive oil.
  2. Roll out the dough into a 30 cm square.
  3. Cut the dough into 3 cm strips, then cut them across into 3 cm squares.
  4. Pinch the opposite corners of a square of dough together, pleating the dough in the middle of the square and pressing it firmly, to make a small bow with pointed ends. Set the bow aside on a .surface dusted with icing sugar. Do not cover the bows.
  5. Before cooking the bows, prepare the white chocolate sauce.
  6. Break the chocolate into squares and place in a heatproof basin.
  7. Add the golden syrup and butter, then stand the bowl over a small saucepan of barely simmering water.
  8. Stir until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth.
  9. Turn the heat off and set the pan and bowl aside.
  10. Cook the bows in just-boiling water for 3 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, pour some chocolate sauce on warmed plates.
  12. Drain the bows, then arrange them on the sauce.
  13. Sprinkle with nuts and serve at once.

Pasta with Plum and Blackberry Compote

Pasta with Plum and Blackberry Compote

100 g sugar
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
150 ml dry cider
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
450 g plums, halved and stoned
450 g blackberries

  1. Place the sugar, orange rind and juice, cider, cin­namon and cloves in a large saucepan.
  2. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar melts.
  3. Allow the syrup to infuse over very low heat for 15 minutes, then bring it to simmering point and add the plums.
  4. Poach the plums gently for 3 minutes, then add the blackberries and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Ladle this fruit sauce over the pasta, removing the spices as you do so.

Pasta with Rum and Raisin Shapes

Pasta with Rum and Raisin Shapes

50 g raisins, chopped
25 g candied peel, finely chopped
100 g ground almonds
2 tbsp icing sugar
8 tbsp rum
2/3 quantity pasta dough
1 egg, beaten
175 g crab apple jelly
4 tbsp unsweetened apple juice
2 tbsp finely chopped candied orange peel, to decorate
Greek-style yogurt or cream, to serve

  1. Mix the raisins, candied peel, almonds and icing sugar.
  2. Stir in enough of the rum to bind the in­gredients together; the rest of the rum is required for the glaze.
  3. Roll out, cut and fill the pasta as for Spiced Apricot Rounds.
  4. When all the pasta is filled, cook in boiling water for 5 minutes and drain well.
  5. To make the glaze, gently heat the crab apple jelly with the apple juice until the jelly melts.
  6. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the remaining rum.
  7. Serve the pasta coated with the apple glaze.
  8. Sprinkle with the chopped candied orange peel and offer Greek-style yogurt or cream with the pasta.

Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi

450 g potatoes
25 g butter
175 g strong plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
a little freshly grated nutmeg

  1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender, about 20-30 minutes, depending on size.
  2. Drain and peel the potatoes under cold running water.
  3. Then mash them and rub the mashed potato through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  4. Add the butter to the potato and mix well.
  5. Mix in the flour and salt, then add the egg and a little nutmeg.
  6. Mix the ingredients with a spoon at first, then use your hand to bring them together into a dough. Knead lightly until smooth.
  7. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Shape a lump of the dough into a thick sausage, then cut off small pieces, about 2.5 cm long, and indent each piece, either with your finger or with a fork.
  8. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  9. The water must not boil too rapidly and the cooked gnocchi should be firm and tender – do not over­cook them or they will become soggy and watery.
  10. Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi from the pan if you are cooking them in batches.
  11. Drain well and serve at once with melted butter, pepper and parmesan.

 

Semolina Cheese Gnocchi

Semolina Cheese Gnocchi

900 ml milk
1 bay leaf
1 mace blade
225 g semolina
100 g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
50 g lightly salted butter
shredded basil or chopped parsley, to serve

  1. Pour the milk into a large pan and add the bay leaf and mace.
  2. Bring the milk slowly to the boil, then cover and remove from the heat.
  3. Allow the bay and mace to infuse for 45-60 minutes.
  4. Bring the milk back to just below boiling point, remove the bay and mace, then stir in the semolina.
  5. Cook, stir­ring all the time, until the mixture boils and thickens.
  6. It will become very stiff, so you have to work quite hard at stirring. This takes about 12-15 minutes.
  7. Off the heat, beat in the parmesan cheese and seasoning.
  8. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before beating in the eggs.
  9. Grease a baking tin (a tray or roasting tin will do) and spread the gnocchi mixture out so that it is about 1 cm thick.
  10. Cover, leave until completely cold, then chill for at least a couple of hours.
  11. Set the oven at 200°C. Use a little of the butter to grease an ovenproof dish.
  12. Cut the gnocchi into squares and arrange them in the dish.
  13. Melt the remaining butter and trickle it over the gnocchi, then bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp on top.
  14. Sprinkle with basil or parsley and serve at once.

Pasta Won Ton Soup

Pasta Won Ton Soup

225 g minced pork
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 button mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ quantity won ton dough
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp oil
1 boneless chicken breast, skinned and diced
2 leeks, sliced
900 ml good chicken stock
4 tbsp dry sherry
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Mix the pork, spring onions, mushrooms, soy sauce and sesame oil.
  2. Roll out the dough into a 37.5 cm square, dusting the surface with cornflour as necessary.
  3. The dough should be very thin. Cut the dough into 7.5 cm strips, then across into squares. Cover the dough with cling film.
  4. To fill the won tons, take a square of dough and roll it again so that it is paper thin.
  5. Shape a little meat into a ball and place it in the middle of the dough square.
  6. Brush the meat with egg, then fold the dough around it and pinch it together to seal in the meat. Leave the corners of the dough hanging free.
  7. Fill all the won tons in the same way and place them on a platter or board dusted with cornflour.
  8. For the soup, heat the oil in a saucepan.
  9. Add the chicken and leeks, and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes, until the leek is softened and the chicken is just cooked.
  10. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  11. Stir in the sherry and seasoning to taste.
  12. Add the won tons to the soup, bring back to the boil and reduce the heat slightly so that it does not boil fiercely. Cook for 5 minutes.
  13. Test a won ton to make sure the filling is cooked, then ladle the soup and won tons into bowls. Serve at once.

Mixed Pasta Salad

Mixed Pasta Salad

225 g pasta shapes
100 g frozen sweetcorn
100 g frozen peas
1 carrot, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
6 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
250 ml mayonnaise
3 tbsp single cream
225 g garlic sausage, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, drain well, then turn the pasta into a bowl.
  2. Place the sweetcorn, peas and carrot in a saucepan and add water to cover.
  3. Bring to the boil, add the celery and bring back to the boil, then cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the vegetables and add them to the pasta. Allow to cool.
  5. Mix in the green pepper, spring onions and parsley.
  6. Thin the mayonnaise with the cream, then toss this dressing into the salad.
  7. Lastly, lightly mix in the garlic sausage and taste for seasoning.

Pasta Frankfurter Supper

Pasta Frankfurter Supper

225 g fresh pasta shapes or small pasta squares
1/2 small onion, chopped
225 g white cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, coarsely grated
150 ml mayonnaise
8 frankfurters, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, then drain it and allow to cool.
  2. Mix the onion, cab­bage, carrots and mayonnaise.
  3. Toss the pasta and frankfurters with the cabbage mixture and season­ing.
  4. Divide between four serving bowls.
  5. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve at once, offering plenty of warmed crusty bread with the salad.

Spaghetti and Salami Salad Pasta

Spaghetti and Salami Salad Pasta

350 g fresh spaghetti
4 tbsp pine kernels
175 g salami, cut in strips
50 g black olives, pitted and sliced
425 g can artichoke hearts, drained
2 tbsp cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp caster sugar
6 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp chopped parsley

  1. Cut the spaghetti into 5 cm lengths, then cook it in boiling salted water for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain the pasta well in a fine sieve before tipping it into a bowl; leave to cool.
  3. Roast the pine kernels in a small, dry, heavy ­bottomed saucepan until they are lightly browned, then tip them over the pasta.
  4. Add the salami, olives and artichoke hearts.
  5. Mix the cider vinegar, season­ing and caster sugar in a screw-top jar.
  6. Shake well until the sugar dissolves, then add the olive oil and shake again.
  7. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  8. Toss the parsley in after the dressing, immediately before serving the salad.

Pasta with Ham and Avocado Salad

Pasta with Ham and Avocado Salad

350 g fresh pasta shapes
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp prepared wholegrain mustard
½ tsp caster sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp olive oil
450 g lean cooked ham (in one piece), cubed
2 avocados
4 tbsp snipped chives
50 g walnuts, chopped
1 lettuce heart or ½ iceberg lettuce, shredded

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, then drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the cider vinegar, mustard, caster sugar and seasoning in a basin.
  3. Whisk the mixture until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  4. Gradually whisk in the oil. Turn the hot pasta into a dish and pour the dressing over it, then mix well.
  5. Allow the pasta to cool slightly before mixing in the ham.
  6. Just before serving the salad, halve the avocados, remove their stones and quarter the halves lengthways.
  7. Remove the peel, then cut the flesh into chunks and mix them with the pasta.
  8. Mix in the chives and walnuts.
  9. Arrange the salad on a base of shredded lettuce and serve promptly.

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