Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Bento #363

I had some spaghetti and leek left over from dinner yesterday, so I made a frittata with egg and the leftovers.
Sides are boiled Einkorn wheat with a cherry tomato and some lemon balm, broccoli, mango chutney, an olive and a fudge candy for dessert.

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The main attraction of this bento is spaghetti with a roasted vegetable “bolognese” sauce, parmesan and some chopped fresh herbs.
Sides are mixed lettuce (and some basil leaves) from the windowsill, carrot flowers, a radish, babybel cheese and another easter candy.
(Another great thing about easter, all the candy on sale afterwards!)

The vegetarian spaghetti sauce was quite simple to make! Basically it was born out of what I had in the fridge, but that doesn’t mean it necessarily needs refining.
To begin with, I took:
1 large-ish carrot, cut lengthwise into strips
1-2 pieces of celery, same
1 red onion, cut into 8ths
1 small bellpepper, sliced into strips
4-5 large-ish champignon mushrooms
and some garlic cloves, tossed them with salt, pepper, a tablespoon of olive oil and some dried thyme, and set everything under the broiler to roast.
While it was roasting, I set the tomato sauce base to simmer. That was a teaspoon of butter, some red chili flakes, a 500g packet of pureed tomatoes, a splash or red wine, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of sugar.
When the veggies looked just about done, I pulsed them to a coarse texture in the food processor, mixed with the tomato sauce and done. Simple!

And quite delicious.

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Homemade gnocchi in tomato-bell pepper sauce (the smooth version of the recipe below) with parmesan and a basil leaf in the small container; Feta cubes (have to get some protein into me somehow), homegrown yellow and red cherry tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper and grated carrots in the big container.
Not the most inspired arrangement… I was tired. But it will be yummy! I’m also bringing a bottle of balsamic vinegar dressing for the veggies and feta but I forgot it until after the photo.

Remember these? When I posted about the gnocchi previously, I wasn’t quite happy with the recipe yet. I have filed on the recipe I had a little and it works better now:

Looks much better! (I left out the parsley this time. It looked good on the photo but really, it didn’t add much to the taste.)
Granted, a better quality potato might have worked even better. But this is Sweden and I have to work with what I have on hand…

To be honest, I was surprised at how simple the recipe actually was. If I had known that before, I would have made gnocchi much sooner! It was actually easier than making pasta.
The main problem, as I had suspected, was that the instructions to quarter the potatoes before boiling had been made for big baking potatoes. The ones I can buy here are small – only 5 cm max on the longest side. When boiling them whole and peeling them afterwards, the dough got much drier and stuck together nicely with half the flour.
The ingredients:
500g mealy potatoes, boiled and peeled
100-150g wheat flour
2 egg yolks
1 Tsp. of olive oil, Salt to taste
Mash the potatoes and make into a sticky dough together with the rest of the ingredients. Roll into finger-thick sausages and cut off gnocchi. Boil in portions in salted water until they start floating. As simple as that!

I still have cherry tomatoes ripening and since they’re so good, they deserved to be used reverently. Luckily, this sauce does them justice.
You will need:
about 2 handfuls of homegrown cherry tomatoes
1 red or yellow bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
olive oil, salt, pepper and basil

Halve the bell pepper and roast skin-side up in the oven/broiler until the skin goes black and bubbly. Cool and remove skin. Cut the rest into thin strips and set aside.
Blanch the cherry tomatoes in hot water and de-skin them (cut a cross in the bottom if they’re not all ripe – mine just popped out of their skins without any help though!). Try not to eat all of them like candy before putting them into the sauce.
In a pan, heat olive oil and garlic. Add the tomatoes and bell pepper and let them melt into a still chunky sauce. Season with salt and cracked pepper.

Serve with julienned basil leaves and Parmesan cheese on or tossed with the pasta of your choice.
It works just as well with spaghetti:

I’m submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Heather at Girlichef.

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This is a dish that I forget about way too often. It’s not that it’s not delicious – it is exceedingly so! – but it’s just not… fancy. There’s nothing involved that makes me think “Yes, this really is haute cuisine” or even “There’s cooking involved”.
And that is sad, because it’s absolutely delicious, wonderful comfort food and easy to make to boot.
So I figured I would write myself a reminder to make it more often by writing the recipe down.

Pasta with mangold, feta and onions

1/2 big bunch (or 1 small bunch) of mangold (Swiss Chard), or a packet of babyleaf spinach or similar.
1 cup of feta, crumbled roughly
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tsp. olive oil
Salt, pepper
1 large pan with a lid
2 portions pasta (I used Penne here)
Optional: Sundried tomatos, sliced

Cook the pasta.
Slice the garlic. Cut the onions into half moons. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions and garlic until the onions start browning – they should taste sweet. We really want them slightly caramelized to contrast with the rest of the dish.
Wash the leafy vegetables. If you’re using mangold, cut it into strips. Smaller stuff can stay whole. Put them into the pan with the onions, stir and put on the lid until the leaves have wilted. Take the lid off, stir to cook a bit more, season with salt and (lots of) crushed black pepper.
Put into the pasta pot with the drained pasta and the crumbled feta. Stir vigorously so that the feta can heat through and combine with the pasta. Optionally, add sliced sundried tomatoes, raisins or pine nuts.

Serve garnished with more crushed pepper.

I’m sharing this dish with Presto Pasta Nights, hosted this time by its creator, the lovely Ruth.

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I recently found those lovely, huge colourful pasta tubes. I love trying out new shapes of pasta!
The only problem is that a lot of said shapes come in sizes that are, let’s face it, designed to hold Bolognese sauce – and a lot of it. Conchiglie, Cannelloni and now these tubes – they are fun, but bring a tear to a vegetarian’s eye!

Lucky then that I finally found a vegetarian Bolognese recipe that I like!

The idea came to me in a Thai restaurant of all places. Trying their delicious peanut sauce I had the idea – why not use peanuts as a ground meat replacement for Bolognese?
After a few tries I’m now sufficiently convinced I’m on to something here. So here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian Bolognese sauce with peanuts
1 food processor (don’t do it without! Really)
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 carrot
1 red onion, peeled
1-2 stalks of celery
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red chili, chopped
Tomato concentrate
Olive oil and/or butter
Salt, pepper, herbs (e.g. Thyme, rosemary, oregano), sugar to taste
Optional: Mushrooms, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes for the sauce

I’m doing all the chopping for this recipe in the food processor. This saves me time but mostly it’s quite easy to get the right size for bolognese in that manner. I’m going for a random spread of particles of 0,5mm length in average. Some of it can be finer – that’s not a problem, it’ll all end up making a delicious sauce. But I want the peanuts and carrots to feel like “proper” bolognese, so I’m looking for something in between “pulverized” and “chopped”.

Start out by pulsing the peanuts in the food processor. Put them into the dry pan and roast them until they begin to smell – careful they don’t burn! Put aside.
Next, pulse or chop the onion. Fry with garlic and chili in olive oil.
Pulse the carrots, celery and optional veggies and add them. Fry for a bit.
Add the peanuts, herbs, water or tomato sauce and a good dollop (2-3Tsp at least) of tomato concentrate paste. Boil for at least 5-10 minutes, ideally at least 30 minutes, adding water whenever necessary.

Serve on al dente pasta with parmesan cheese, butter and wine. I’d recommend a nice red one, maybe a Cabernet.

This will be submitted to Presto Pasta Nights hosted this week by Theresa at The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine.

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Eggplant and feta roll pasta

I saw someone using eggplant and feta rolls in a bento recently and remembered that I had done a similar dish before. Which I promptly got a craving for, so I made it the following evening. (Yes, my finger is much better now, thanks mom! :P)

Looks elaborate, but is simple and delicious: *very* thinly sliced eggplant rolled around feta sticks, skewered to keep them from unrolling themselves and panfried. Then, I covered them in tomato sauce and cheese and baked them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Yes… it’s eggplant Burritos! :)
You can serve them on their own or as a side dish, but since I will be submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights #98 hosted by The Skinny Gourmet, I serve them on pasta.

Formal recipe
1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise into thin (very thin!) strips.
Feta cut into sticks
French herbs
Olive oil

Tomato sauce:
Crushed tomatoes
Chopped garlic
chopped chili
olive oil
or use your own favourite recipe

Salt the eggplant slices to draw out the bitterness somewhat and leave for 10 minutes. Dab them off with a towel, brush with olive oil and Fernch herbs (I skipped that step for less oiliness) and roll the feta sticks in them. Skewer them (single or in a line) to keep them from unrolling themselves in the pan.
If your slices are too thick, the eggplant will break during rolling. You can either try again with thinner slices or steam the eggplant a little to make it softer.
Fry in olive oil on both sides.
You can skip the frying if you want to save on fat; personally I think eggplant tastes a lot better fried. Likewise, you could skip the skewering if you squeeze them together tightly in the pan, but this is Presto Pasta Nights, not elaborately composed Pasta Nights after all!
After frying, put the skewers into an oven-proof pan and cover with the tomato sauce. Throw some melty cheese on top and stuff in the oven for 10 minutes.
While the eggplant cooks in the oven, boil the pasta.

Serve (on or off the skewers) with the tomato sauce on top of the pasta.

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I made homemade 4-cheese ravioli tonight!
It was the first time I made pasta from scratch – the baking bug has bitten me.

Making the pasta dough was pretty easy, despite it being my first try with homemade pasta! I used the recipe from my trusty allround cookbook for 6 portions of dough – 6dl flour, 4 eggs, a teaspoon of salt, a few tablespoons of olive oil and water.

The filling is made of 3/4 of a tub (150-200 g) of Ricotta, about 6 Tsp. grated Parmesan cheese, 150g finely crumbled Feta, about 50g of shredded Cheddar and some grated pepper.
When I last visited my mom, I saw those pasta shapers lying forlornly in one of her moving boxes – she had just moved house and a lot of things surfaced in her kitchen she had bought but never used. I thought they might be useful for making Chinese dumplings, and she was glad to get rid of them – a perfect trade! With the smallest shaper and the help of a round glass to cut out circles, it was no problem making a big bunch of ravioli in record time (though one person rolling and one stuffing the ravioli definitely helped most…)!

I let them rest for a bit to give the dough a chance to dry a little. Then I just boiled them portionwise in salt water for 2-3 minutes.
Instead of a sauce, I decided to go with browned salvia butter (just melted butter with salvia in it). At the last minute, I decided to also throw in some red and yellow cherry tomatos and melt them in the butter a little. And since I personally love vinegar, my portion was also drizzled with a little reduced balsamico vinegar.

The filling got really lovely and creamy when it boiled! Though I learned that half a teaspoon per dumpling was definitely enough – they got HUGE when they boiled and I was afraid I had overstuffed them. They were really filling too!

I made enough to pack two bento boxes and freeze a few for later.

They’re again tossed in salvia butter and cherry tomatos. More tomatos and some slices of zucchini as decoration (I’m going on vacation next week – not many greens in the house!). As dessert there’s some more of those lovely ripe strawberries.
The BF gets the same:

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Back to the pasta bentos – penne (actually girandole) with creamy sundried tomato sauce, pine nuts and rucola. Some more rucola and cherry tomatoes in the back, a fishy with balsamico vinegar and some grapes as dessert.

The recipe is stolen from a restaurant here – it’s one of my favourite dishes there.
You need (2 persons + bento):
300-400g penne pasta
ca. 3 sundried tomato pieces (I use those in oil)
Flour and cream for the white sauce
A few leaves of fresh rucola (rocket) salad
Salt, pepper, fresh parmesan cheese (if you only have canned, pre-grated one, leave it out. It’s not good.)

Chop the sundried tomaotes finely or puree them. Make a white (bechamel) sauce using the oil that the tomatos were pickled in as fat for the roux, drop the tomatoes in and cook for a bit so the sauce takes up the flavour.
Cook pasta al dente. Rinse and toss with the sauce for a bit.
Serve with dry roasted pine nuts, grated fresh parmesan (again: don’t use any if you don’t have fresh one!) and rucola on top. For non-vegetarians, the restaurant serves it with some slices of airdried parma ham.
Very simple and delicious!

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Guess what leftover I am using up today? *grins*

Devilled eggs on a salad leaf, baby plum tomato, sugar snap peas, pasta all’arrabiata with parmesan and chopped basil, chocolate easter egg.

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With a title like this, what do you think the main ingredients of this bento are? *grins*

The small container contains wholewheat pasta spirals with pumpkin seed pesto (from a dry mix) and some crushed pumpkin meat. Parmesan and thai basil as decoration.
The thermos contains lovely pumpkin cream soup decorated with a splash of cream, a splash of pumpkin seed oil and another sprig of thai basil.

This pumpkin cream soup is the Austrian style recipe as opposed to the asian-inspired one I have made previously, but it’s just as delicious!
I used up the rest of the pumpkin that hadn’t made it into the pie and risotto yet, about a pound or so.

Chop 1-2 red onions and sauté in a deep pot with some butter and olive oil. Add the coarsely chopped pumpkin meat and stir.
After a few minutes, add vegetable broth (I use an organic bouillon cube), a teaspoon of salt and some pepper. I also added some nutmeg and put in a glass of some dry white wine that I had in the fridge. Cover and steam the pumpkin until it is soft, adding more water if necessary (and depending on the thickness you want the end result to have).
When the pumpkin is soft and cooked, puree everything finely in a mixer. Add cream (or if you want it vegan, coconut cream) to it to smoothen the texture and taste.
Serve hot with some cream (or whipped cream or sourcream) and pumpkin seed oil on top.

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