Pasta Dishes
Get your pasta dishes here!

Linguine with Chilli Garlic Prawns, Lemon and Rocket
main fish pasta
Prawns go well with the tomatoes, chilli and garlic here. The lemon and the rocket give a nice zing to the finish.
Jesus - I sound like Jamie Bloody Oliver!
You can use fresh or frozen prawns or shrimps - just make sure they're thawed. You can use cooked ones too if you like.
You can use fresh tomatoes, tomato purée, sundried tomatoes or any combination you fancy.

Serves 4-6

Bring a large pan of water to the boil then start cooking your pasta.
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the dried chilli if using, allow to sizzle, then the finely chopped garlic and allow to colour slightly.
Add the fresh chillies if using, then the tomato purée if using and cook a little.
Add the halved tomatoes. Cook until they begin to crinkle.
Add the prawns, stir for a minute, then bubble off the white wine if using.
Add chopped sundried tomatoes if using.
Stir in the lemon juice and heat through. Add pasta water if necessary to loosen.
When ready to serve, season, stir in the grated lemon peel and the torn rocket and pile on top of your pasta.
Tasty combination.

Using the dressing from this Celeriac Soup
Pasta with Walnut & Parsley Pesto
main meat pasta
Serves One

Make the pesto:
Purée the walnuts and the garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, add the parsley and then gradually add the olive oil while processing.
Add oil until the pesto is sloppy probably sloppier than mine, then add the lemon juice and season to taste.

While the pasta is boiling, gently fry a small amount (about a tablespoon) of quite small cubes (a couple of millimetres) of chorizo in a dry pan.
Drain the pasta and serve topped with a grating of cheese, a couple of tablespoons of the walnut parsley pesto and the chorizo.
Good combination. Don't overdo the chorizo, or make the cubes too big.
You can serve cheese mixed through the pasta before adding the toppings, or even make the pesto with the cheese added in.
Obviously a vegetarian version would just skip the chorizo.

Pasta Primavera
Pasta with spring vegetables
main meat pasta
Spring pasta is just an excuse to throw in a load of spring vegetables, lots of Parmesan, and a binding of cream, and call it something Italian so it sounds fancy. Which makes it a little odd that so much fuss has been made of the dish, although this version of Sirio Maccioni's original as served at New York's Le Cirque restaurant is admittedly (and to my mind unnecessarily) complex, incorporating as it does every single vegetable in the grocer's shop.
Shrimp is quite a common modern addition, and crème fraîche often replaces the cream. The original pasta was spaghetti, but the shape really isn't especially suited to the chunky ingredients, so something with a little depth or substance to it might be more appropriate - I used conchiglie.

The chilli in the original recipe seems an odd choice to me, and I notice that it doesn't contain the eponymous onions, but anyway I went with a very much simpler version. Though I did add some pancetta. As any fule kno, every dish is improved by the addition of bacon!

Serves 2

Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch the asparagus and peas separately (just dip them into the water in a sieve) until cooked but still firm. A minute or two for asparagus and fresh peas. Only long enough to bring frozen peas to the boil. Immediately run them under cold water and set aside. Bias slice the asparagus spears, discarding the woody ends.
Bias slice the spring onions.

Add the pasta to the pan and cook until still firm. Drain.

Meanwhile heat a generous quantity of butter and olive oil in a frying pan and fry the pancetta strips until shrivelling, add the garlic and cook until it begins to colour, add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to wilt, then add the tomatoes for just a few minutes.
In a pan large enough to hold everything, heat a few tablespoons of butter, add the cream a little stock would go well too and most of the grated cheese and, stirring constantly, cook gently until smooth.
Add the pasta and toss to coat then add all the other ingredients and mix. Season well.
Serve with added Parmesan.
I would have added some torn basil if I'd had any. You'll need plenty of cheese because otherwise the dish doesn't have a great deal of flavour.
Though some stock would have helped.

Spaghetti Carbonara
main meat pasta
A very traditional version of the carbonara recipe, well except for the optional cream or peas or mushrooms or chilli...
I suppose the only thing everyone can agree on is the need for pasta, pancetta, eggs, cheese and black pepper.

Personally I think a mature cheddar cheese can work every bit as well as Parmesan and I like to throw a few slices of garlic into the pancetta once it's crisping, then add a dollop of double cream and bubble that down before stirring in the pasta to coat.
I'm always amazed at the amount of cheese this dish requires. I've seen recipes that us tiny amounts of cheese, tiny!, but I'm never satisfied with less than an astonishing amount, a good 2 oz. Adjust to your taste I guess.

I think you can't do worse than follow Roman wannabe Rachel's cooking instructions. It really helps if you use a wok to fry the pancetta in then add the pasta and the egg. This gives you plenty of room to move the mixture around and get the consistency just right.

You need about 1 whole egg per person plus a yolk - it's nice to have that extra richness.

Serves 1

Cut a block of pancetta into cubes, or slices of pancetta into strips. or replace with salmon if you like.
Beat the egg and yolk.
Slice garlic if using
Chunk your mushrooms if using
Grate a lot of cheese.

Set your choice of pasta to simmering in a large amount of boiling water.

Meanwhile, in a wok ideal for mixing in the pasta fry the pancetta in a little olive oil (butter being generally disapproved of) until it just begins to crisp. Add garlic slices if using and fry to colour.
Add chilli flakes if using.
Add mushrooms if using.
Either add the cream now if using and reduce it, so as to stop the frying process, or beat the cream into the eggs and arrange for the pasta to be ready to add at this stage.

Scoop a cup of pasta water from the boiling pot and set aside, then drain the pasta while it is still slightly undercooked (it will finish in the sauce).
Add to the wok and stir well to coat.
Add the egg and optional cream mixture and the grated cheese.
Add frozen peas if using.
Add lemon zest if using.
Stir over a very low, or no heat, until the egg thickens and coats the pasta in a shiny, waxy sauce. Add enough of the reserved pasta water to thin the coating slightly or prevent from over-cooking.
Stir in a very generous grating of pepper.

Serve dressed with more grated cheese, pepper, and nutmeg or paprika if using.
I quite like mine with peas - so sue me!

Orange-Lemon Orzo
staple pasta
Orzo is a rice-grain-shaped pasta (italian for barley). The orzo should absorb just double its volume in liquid and be perfectly tender.

Serves 2

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo; toss to coat.
Add the chicken stock and salt to the pan; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to the lowest you can, and simmer for 17 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally to stop the grains sticking.
Stir in parsley, lemon and orange rind.
Surprisingly delicious!
Even though I used one of those Knorr chicken stock pot dissolved in boiling water.

Red Kale Pasta with Chilli and Anchovy
pasta fish main
I made this using red kale, but the original recipe is just for kale, so I'm sure any kind will be just fine.

Serves 2

Boil the pasta. While it's cooking, heat a generous amount of olive oil in a saucepan or deep frying pan. Gently sizzle the chilli, garlic and anchovies. Add the kale, then cook gently for 30 minutes or until tender, adding a drop of water if needed.

Drain the pasta, reserving a few tbsp water, then toss the pasta and water through the kale, adding the rest of the olive oil, the lemon juice and most of the cheese. Serve scattered with the remaining cheese or Parmesan shavings
Very tasty (with blue cheese, anyway).

Lime, Capers and Black Olive Chicken Pasta
main fowl pasta
Quite a nice chicken pasta dish made from leftovers that needed using up.

Slice the red onion quite thinly and fry gently in pumpkin oil until it begins to crisp around the edges.
Add thinly sliced garlic and grated lime zest and cook until softens.
Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to collapse.
Add white wine and reduce, then the stock and reduce, then add the quartered black olives, capers, and chicken.

Serve over pasta, dressed with a little crumbled blue cheese or grated Parmesan. If you like.
Rather tasty, especially if you have the stock from one of Simon Hopkinson's roast chickens.

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Sauce
pasta main veg meat fish sauce
This is an excellent base sauce for making a variety of pasta dishes. Sour cream certainly works well as a lubricant, and I've tried buttermilk and cream too, which was alright.

Blend most of the sun-dried tomatoes and capers with the garlic and the cream/sour cream/buttermilk/yoghurt/milk.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Stir in some extra whole capers and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
Cook the pasta and drain, reserving a little water.
If you like, now you can heat some olive oil (or butter) in the pasta pot and fry up some chopped bacon, prawns, chilli, diced tomatoes, sliced smoked salmon, chicken pieces or etc.
Throw the drained pasta back in the pot. Mix in sliced basil or spinach if using, and add the sun-dried tomato paste. Warm gently, adding a little of the pasta water until the sauce warms and emulsifies to form a rich, glossy pasta coating.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
Decorate with crumbled blue cheese or alternative grated cheese.
Very good, actually. I should think you could enhance this sauce in any number of ways - with other vegetables, chicken, seafood, bacon etc.
I've made it with:
  • fresh tomatoes, basil and blue cheese
  • fresh tomatoes and grated lemon peel, smoked salmon, basil and a little grated mature cheddar.
All good!

Pasta with Garlic Chilli Prawns
pasta fish main
I made this before realising I have an almost identical recipe above. The basil in this version really makes a difference to the final flavour though. I guess this too would most classically be served over linguine.

Serves 1

Cook the pasta.
Meanwhile heat the oil until shimmering then add the chilli flakes. Allow to sizzle then add the pressed garlic until it begins to colour.
Add the grated lemon peel then the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomato softens.
Add the prawns and cook through.
Add the rocket and basil until they begin to wilt.

Stir through the cooked pasta with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, a drizzle more of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Not bad, though it can be a bit underpowered in the flavour department so be sure to season generously. The mixture of rocket and basil is nice, perhaps a drizzle of soy sauce would help too.
Parsley might make a worthy substitute though.

Pasta with Tuna, Philadelphia and Horseradish Cream
pasta main fish
Since horseradishes are enormous you'll need plenty of recipes to use up what's left after you've finished making whatever you bought it for.

Feeds 2

Cook the pasta. Stir through the chopped parsley and the cream cheese.
Break up the tuna with a fork and mix with the horseradish sauce and the minced onion if using,. Spoon over the pasta and serve.
Easy. And not half bad either.
Capers make a nice addition too.