Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Cauliflower Pasta Nests 5.1To celebrate the spring season I thought nests would be a great way to serve this baked spaghetti recipe. Continue reading

Maybe because growing up we never ate much pasta, but it’s not something I don’t cook too often, when I do instead, I often make a pasta bake. Last week I was looking at some recipes and fell across this recipe on the swissmilk site (recipe in French). I liked the visual side of and decided to make my own version; I used veggies instead of herbs, and spaghetti instead of the ‘Chinese’ noodles they used in the recipe. I wanted to use whole-wheat pasta, and that’s why I used spaghetti as I didn’t really have an alternative in my local grocery store. For this recipe, the best types of pasta you can use are the fine ones like vermicelli, spaghettini, …

I wish you all a happy Easter!

 

 Cauliflower Pasta Nests 1.1

 

 

Cauliflower Pasta Nests

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-15 min

Cook time: 25-30 min

 

Ingredients:

280 g spaghetti (preferably the fine ones, I used normal ones because I wanted to use the whole wheat kind and choice was limited

2 dl milk + 2-3 tbsp. extra milk

2 dl cream (I used 1/2 fat)

200 g cauliflower florets

2 tbsp. slivered almonds.

2 eggs

80 g grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 180°C.

Cook the pasta al dente in salted boiling water and drain.

Meanwhile chop the cauliflower florets into small pieces. Add it to the pasta once it’s cooked.

Using a fork roll the pasta into eight nests and place them in a baking dish one next to the other. Whatever chopped cauliflower and pine nuts are left in the pan, add it on top of the pasta nests

In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 20 g of the grated Parmesan, almonds and milk. Mix them, and set aside.

In a larger bowl combine the cream, milk, eggs, 60 g of the grated cheese, pepper, and optionally salt. Mix and pour it on the pasta. If like me, your dish is a little too wide the nests might rise above the milk and cream mix, just press it down a little.

On top of the nests, evenly sprinkle the soaked almonds, breadcrumbs and cheese.

Bake in the over for about 20 min and enjoy!

Crispy Polenta Gnocchi

Crispy Polenta Gnocchi

I know I’ve already said it but each time I eat something with polenta, I recall my father saying how his childhood was all about getting kicked in the backside and eating polenta. Continue reading

In the past polenta a very important source of food in honour of this dish I wanted to make something fun for this post so after a little search, I adapted the recipe I found on citronetvanille and adapted it to what I had in mind: crispy polenta gnocchi.

What I really liked about making this recipe is that I found it to be more straight forward, less messy than the traditional potato gnocchi. As with any gnocchi recipe you can accompany this dish with just about any sauce you like. The reason I made a Gorgonzola sauce is because in Ticino, fi you don’t serve polenta with meat, you often eat it with Gorgonzola. It’s up to you to see what you want to serve it with, but I guarantee you that blue cheese is a great combination.

 

 

 

Crispy Polenta Gnocchi

 

Recipe for 2

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 30 min

 

Ingredients

For the polenta gnocchi:

80 g quick cooking polenta + extra to coat the gnocchi

Milk

90 g flour + extra to flour surface

1 egg

2-3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Slat and pepper

Olive oil

1 knob butter

 

For the sauce:

100 g Gorgonzola

0.7 dl milk

1 small tsp. corn-starch

pepper

 

Recipe:

Bring to a boil the equivalent of 3 ½ times the amount of polenta in a mix of water and milk. Season with salt. Reduce fire to low and stream in the polenta and instead of stirring fold the mass over itself until it will have thickened and it comes away from the sides of the pan (5-7 min). Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese and fold the mass to combine it. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and place it in the fridge until it will have set and chilled (about 1 hour).

Take the chilled polenta and scrape it with a fork to crumble it. Add the flour and some salt and mix the ingredients together. Now add the egg and mix until the mass looks even. Dust with flour your working surface, move the gnocchi mass onto the surface and divide into 2-3 parts. Take each part and roll it into about 3 cm thick strips. Take a fork and start making the gnocchi by sectioning them every 2 cm.

Bring a large pan filled with salted water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Once they come to the surface, it means they are cooked so remove them with a slotted spoon and set them aside on a cutting board or a bowl with a wide bottom. Dust them with the uncooked polenta until evenly coated.

For the sauce: Pour a fraction of the milk into a cup, add the corn-starch and mix until all lumps will have disappeared. Pour the milk/corn-starch with the milk and the Gorgonzola into a pan and place it over a low heat. Cook the ingredients for 8-10 min, once the ingredients are combined and the sauce has thickened set it aside and reheat it just before serving.

In a non-stick pan, heat 1-1.5 tbsp. olive oil on a medium-high fire. Add the gnocchi and brown them on all sides, occasionally stirring. Once ready, serve them with the Gorgonzola sauce.

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

Asparagus Lemon Pasta BakeIn a hurried week I really wanted to post this recipe, which I really enjoyed. The lemon gives this pasta bake has a light and refreshing taste and it’s asparagus season so I want to take advantage of it! Continue reading

As an inspiration for this recipe I took smittenkitchen’s mushroom Marsala pasta bake, a recipe I’ve been contemplating for some time and finally decided to adapt it to the spring season. I’m going to have to keep it short because I still have to finish packing for a special weekend where I get to spend time with a friend… but before he arrives in Zurich, I want/need to go shopping.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

Asparagus Lemon Pasta Bake

 

Asparagus Pasta Bake

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 50-60 min

 

Ingredients:

280g short pasta (I used penne)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small-medium onion

0.8 dl white wine

45g butter

30 g flour (or 2 tbsp.)

3.5 dl vegetable stock

80g Parmesan cheese

The juice and zest of 1 small organic lemon

0.9 dl cream

400g asparagus (woody part removed)

 

Recipe:

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water but make sure it’s al dente. Drain it 1-2 minutes before doneness and set it aside.

Slice the asparagus at an angle into 0.5 cm pieces (if using thin asparaguses, cut them into 1-1.5 cm pieces. Chop the onion.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil on a medium-high heat and add the asparaguses to brown tossing occasionally. Once done set them aside with the pasta.

Reduce the fire to medium-low and add the second tbsp. of olive oil along with the chopped onion. Cook until the onion has softened (4-5 min). Pour in the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, don’t stop stirring. Now add the butter and once it has melted, add the flour and continue stirring until it has been combined with the rest of the ingredients. Start adding the stock one splash at the time. Make sure that between splashes, the liquid is well combined. Do so until the stock is finished then let it cook for a couple of minutes to let the sauce thicken. Add the cream, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the fire and add ¾ of the grated cheese along with the pasta and the asparaguses. Mix everything together. If you’re using an ovenproof pan, you can bake the dish directly in there. If your pan is not oven proof transfer it to a baking dish. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining grated Parmesan and bake for 25-30 min in a pre-heated oven at 200°C.

One Pan Alpine Pasta

One Pan Alpine PastaI love one-pan dishes, I find them fun, easy to make and no chance of towering up dishes in the sink which will have to be cleaned after the meal! I made this dish for my mother and myself one day we were running short of time but now that I’ve tried it, I’d totally remake it for an evening between friends, maybe with a nice platter of dried meat as a starter and a nice glass of wine (the latter is not a “maybe”). I found the base for this recipe in my Swiss Cooking book (by Alfred Haefeli) and adapted it in order to make it become a one-pan dish to save time and clean kitchenware.

Tip: To make this recipe a little lighter, instead of using whole milk I used the half-fat kind and I found it didn’t affect the final result.

 

 

One Pan Alpine Pasta

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5-7 min

Cook time: 15-20 min

 

Ingredients:

200g short pasta (choose a kind of pasta that takes between 12-15 min to cook, I used rigatoni)

500g peeled potatoes

1 large onion

1-2 garlic cloves

5 dl vegetable stock

1 dl milk

2 dl cream

1 tsp. cornstarch

200 g alpine cheese or Gruyere

Nutmeg

Pepper

 

Recipe:

Cut the potatoes into 2cm cubes and chop the onion and the garlic.

Place the pasta, potatoes, onion and garlic and in a pan.

In a small bowl place the cornstarch along with a little milk and mix until the combined.

Pour over the stock, milk, cream and diluted corn starch, nutmeg and pepper and bring to a rolling boil and leave to cook stirring occasionally until the pasta and potatoes are cooked and the whole become creamy. If needed reduce heat.

Meanwhile grate the cheese.

Once the ingredients are cooked through, remove the pan from the fire, add the grated cheese and mix. Should the cheese not be completely melted, add the pan back to the fire for a short moment while constantly stirring. Optionally sprinkle a little more pepper and serve.

Avocado and Roasted Tomato Grain Salad

Avocado Roasted Tomato Grain SaladNow, this is a dish I would never have thought my dog would taste. As a pup and for years she has been so difficult with food but either my cooking has improved or she has become more of a glutton. Hopefully both theories are right. Continue reading

I love the colour of vegetables and find they always manage to make any dish livelier. In addition to the avocado and the cherry tomatoes, I added some grains to this Avocado & Roasted Tomato Grain Salad to bulk it up a little and make it more nutritious. Although the recipe portions are for four people as a starter or as a side dish, one can easily make a nice meal for two out of it.

Avocado and Roasted Tomato Grain Salad

Recipe for 4
Prep time: 15 min.
Cook time: 25-30 min.

Ingredients:
200 g amaranth (alternatively use quinoa, bulgur or cuscus)
300 g cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil (+ 1.5 tbsp. to drizzle on the tomatoes)
2 tbsp. Sherry vinegar
1 small red onion
1 avocado
1 small bunch coriander leaves
Salt and pepper

Recipe:
Heat oven at 200°C.
In a pan bring to a boil the amaranth with two times its volume in water. Let simmer for 15-20 min or until water has all been absorbed. Once done, set aside.
Meanwhile cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them cut side up on an oven paper lined baking tray. Drizzle the olive oil on the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15.20 min. Once they are done remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.
Prepare the dressing by mixing the sherry vinegar, the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Finely chop the red onion and the coriander leaves. Cut the avocado in two, remove the pit, scrape out the inside with the help of a tablespoon and cut it into pieces of about 2 cm per side.
In a bowl combine the amaranth, chopped onion, coriander leaves, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and dressing and gently toss. Alternatively save a little dressing to drizzle over the salad at serving moment.

Butternut Pasta Bake

Butternut Pasta Bake

To think that until a few years ago the only times I ate anything with pumpkin I had it when someone cooked it for me… I’m happy this has changed. Continue reading

Honestly now that I’m back from my honeymoon, as much as country life is beautiful, now that I’ve re-spent some time in a city, I really miss it. I miss all the attractions and the possibility to talk to random people and so to keep my spirits up, I spend more time in the kitchen and in front of my computer, getting ahead with the novel I started some time ago. So yesterday within the realm of my kitchen, I’ve been making a pasta bake which is my favourite way of having this particular carb: it’s comforting and so tasty!

Butternut Pasta Bake

Recipe for 4
Cook time: 45 min
Prep time: 20 min

Ingredients:

800 g butternut (peeled and deseeded)
320 g short pasta (fusilli, penne, rigatoni…)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 red onion
3 tbsp. chopped sage
½ – 1 dl water or vegetable stock
3 dl cream
2 dl milk
2 knobs butter
Cayenne pepper
6 tbsp. grated cheese (+ 3-4 for topping
3 tbsp. pine nuts
2 tbsp. breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Recipe:
Cut the butternut into cubes (the smaller the pieces the quicker they’ll cook), chop the onion and pass the garlic cloves through a garlic crusher.
Place a pan on a medium heat and add the olive oil and the onion. Cook for 4-5 min. stirring occasionally. Add the sage leaves and the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
Now add the butternut cubes and season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes before pouring in a little water or alternatively some stock (about ½-1 dl). Preferably add the water little by little during the cooking process rather that all at once. Cover the pan and cook until the butternut will have become soft, don’t forget to stir occasionally.
Once the butternut is soft, transfer the content of the pan to a bowl and mash it with a potato masher or if you want a very smooth result use a food processor. Place the mass back in the pan (always on a medium fire), add the cream and the milk and combine the ingredients by stirring. Add the knob of butter and correct taste with salt and pepper if needed. Remove the pan from the fire and add the grated cheese and stir to combine.
While the butternut is softening or once the sauce is done, prepare the pasta in salted boiling water but make sure you cook it until just al dente or once you cook it in the oven it will become too soft. To stop the cooking process, once you drain the pasta pass it under cold water. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.
Transfer the ingredients to a lightly greased baking dish and top with the remaining grated cheese, breadcrumbs and pine nuts (optionally add small pieces of butter on top which will help the browning process). Bake in the oven at 190°C for about 20 min.

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette Style

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette StyleIn Switzerland when the weather gets cooler we always enjoy our melted cheese and serve it with few other ingredients. This means we either go for a fondue or a raclette. In fact, since the beginning of September I’ve already had raclette four times and I haven’t grown tired of it yet. Continue reading

So for this post I made something inspired from this national dish but instead of boiling the potatoes I baked them and as a final touch I added the cheese on top and let it melt through the layers. For the potatoes I found a nice recipe on layersofhappiness, which matched what I had in mind. In my version of the spuds I added a little less flavourings because raclette is served with simple boiled potatoes and I wanted to stick with the simplicity of the dish. I will make it again… especially if I feel lazy about taking out the whole raclette maker.

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette Style

 

Oven Roasted Potatoes Raclette Style

Recipe for 4-6

Prep time: 15-20min

Cook time: 1h 15min-1h 35min

 

Ingredients:

800 g waxy potatoes (preferably all about the same size)

3-4 tbsp. rapeseed oil (+extra to grease baking dish)

Paprika (sweet or spicy)

Salt and pepper

160 g raclette cheese cut into slices (alternatively use Emmetaler or Gruyère)

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 230°C.

Grease a baking dish with rapeseed oil.

Make sure that after washing the potatoes they are dry. Slice them into 3-4 mm thick slices and arrange the on a baking tray by overlapping them. Season them with salt pepper and paprika. On top drizzle 2 tbsp. of the rapeseed oil and place in the oven.

Cook for about 35-45 minutes and then drizzle another 1-2 tbsp. oil before baking for another 30-40 min.

Once the potatoes have a nice brown colour add the cheese slices on top and bake for a final 8-10 min. or until it has melted and it’s bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

 

 

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat CheeseFlavourful and quick pasta recipes always come in handy. To lighten up the calorie content of this pasta dish I have replaced part of the carbs with the zucchini. In the end I was quite surprised about how filling this dish was. Continue reading

In the beginning I wanted to make the zucchini spaghetti using my knife (since I don’t have a spiralizer) but then I found here a simple alternative using a grater that I thought worked well and was also faster. It was my first time making zucchini spaghetti and since I really liked them I now have a new item on my to buy list: the spiralizer. This quick fresh and light recipe turned out to be a tasty dish and surely one of these days this is a recipe I shall serve again… especially since the wedding is less than a month away and I want to keep my food on the light side.

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

 

 

Light Spaghetti and Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10-12 min

Cook time: 8-10 min

 

Ingredients

2-3 zucchini

8 sun dried tomato filets

240 g spaghetti

120 g hard goat cheese

80 g crème fraiche

Zest of 1 organic lemon

4 tbsp. dry roasted pine nuts

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Using either a spiralizer or a large holed grater or even a knife, make the zucchini noodles. As I only have a grater I used it by grating the zucchini through their whole length. The other option is to thinly slice the zucchini by their length and them cut each slice into spaghetti like shapes.

Roughly chop the sun dried tomato filets and grate the hard goat cheese.

Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water according to package instructions.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan on a medium heat and add the zucchini and the sun dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 min stirring once or twice. Add the crème fraiche, hard goat cheese and lemon zest. Lower the fire and cook until the sauce is dense but still a little runny.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce along with the pine nuts. Remove from fire, mix all together, correct taste if needed and serve.

Lazy Tomato Pasta Bake

Lazy Tomato Pasta BakeThe wedding preparations have been speeding up lately. Tonight we’re meeting the caterer and on Thursday we’re going to look for Mister’s wedding outfit. And last week we had our trial dinner where when we arrived they were not expecting us so we ended up being offered an enormous amount of food as it was taken straight from the menu and it wasn’t sampled. Continue reading

I managed to control myself but my fiancé still felt full the following day. Since time is short I made a recipe that would not take me too much time chopping, prepping and/or looking after the stove; hence this lazy tomato pasta bake. I don’t cook much with ricotta just because I often forget about this ingredient, but in this recipe it worked really well as it added extra creaminess to the whole dish. With a classic combination of tomato and basil, we really feasted on this pasta bake.

 

 

Lazy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake

 

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 55-60 min

 

Ingredients

200g cherry tomatoes

320g short pasta

Olive oil

2 tsp. finely chopped garlic

200 g ricotta

2 dl cream

Salt and pepper

140 g grated cheese

A small bunch basil leaves

Cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. breadcrumbs

(optional: a few flakes of butter)

 

Recipe:

Heat oven at 200°C.

Halve the cherry tomatoes. Grease a baking dish with olive oil and the tomatoes (cut side up) by spreading them on a single layer. On the sprinkle a tbsp. olive oil and season them generously with salt and pepper. Cook them for 35-40 min on the upper part of the oven.

Meanwhile cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions in salted boiling water. If the pasta is ready and you have time to let it sit there add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.

Finely slice the basil.

In a bowl mix together the ricotta, cream, 120g of the grated cheese, cayenne pepper to taste, the garlic, the basil and a little pepper.

Once the tomatoes are roasted take the dish out and add the pasta and the ricotta, cream, cheese mix. Blend all ingredients together evenly before sprinkling on top the remaining grated cheese, the breadcrumbs and eventually the butter flakes that will ensure a nice browning on top. Replace the baking dish on the upper part of the oven and cook for another 20 min.

Springtime Pasta

Springtime Pasta Because asparagus season always seems too short so I wanted to take advantage of it at least once more. Continue reading

For this quick and easy dish I dressed the pasta with a creamy goat cheese sauce filled with tasty and healthy greens. These will provide two of the five portions of fruits and vegetables one needs a day. And since after almost eight years I’m still trying to get my fiancé to improve his diet, this is a good way to trick him 😉 .

Springtime Pasta

 

 

Springtime Pasta

Recipe for 4

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 10-15 min

 

Ingredients:

320 g pasta (fusilli, farfalle…)

320 g fresh peas (frozen ones are fine too but make sure they are at room temperature)

320 g fine asparagus

160 g fresh goat cheese

2 tbsp. olive oil

3-4 tbsp. cream

Zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper

 

Recipe:

Chop the asparagus into 2 cm pieces (I cut mine a little too big).

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a low-medium heat. Add the chopped asparagus and the peas with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tenderstirring occasionally, about 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot filled with salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Once the vegetables are done add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook for another half minute before reducing fire and adding the cream and goat cheese. Cook while stirring until the goat cheese has melted.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the vegetables and the goat cheese. Toss and serve.