It’s easy to see why so many of us are turning to pasta right now. Panic buyers – you’ll find no judgement here. Pasta is the food of holiday memories and what we cook to relive the flavours of our travels. It’s dumping a handful in a pot as we rush in the door, knowing it’s the easiest thing to cook in the house. Or the simple joy of grating the final flourish of parmesan onto a heaped platter of bolognaise, hungry anticipation on faces around the table. With friends and family largely absent right now, I’m grateful for a lifetime of pasta memories. There’s a pasta for every day and more importantly, every state of mind.
For an easy recipe that will use up the dregs of your fridge, I suggest pasta with chopped ham, brocolli, nutmeg and rocket. It is satisfying, substitute-able and delicious. If you want something slightly more refined, keep reading.
The best way to cook spaghetti… probably.
Carbonara is a doddle to make; providing you don’t scramble the eggs of course! But I have a tip to easily avoid this. On the effort to results ratio, it scores highly and for a greedy person like me, this is important. Using only a handful of ingredients that you probably have in the fridge, you can knock up the best of Roman comfort food in less than 15 minutes.
Three of the best carbonara recipes
From bacon (or guanciale if you want to be a real Roman) to sausage to a lemony courgette version, take your pick from the best carbonaras below.
Pasta with vongole / Spaghetti with clams
Everyone’s favourite. You’ll find the recipe here.
Making fresh pasta at home
I suspect we all have a disaster story when it comes to fresh pasta. It looks so easy when they make it on TV, until the night you have friends coming over and you’re watching the clock while wrestling a dough thick enough to insulate your external wall. Yet, making pasta from scratch is one of the most satisfying things to do in the kitchen. You just need to be kind to yourself and set low expectations. With time and patience comes enjoyment and let’s face it, if we are going to have time to make pasta, it’s now.
Time with professional pasta makers (ie. Italians) confirmed my suspision that you don’t need a pasta maker. It’s also possible to make good pasta at home from just flour (semola, specifically) and water. Pasta made with eggs is still my preference though.
Using eggs and 00 flour (preferably, but noone will admonish you for using regular flour), you can create your own pasta and kill some time too! No machinery required, just strong hands, a rolling pin and patience.
Find the recipe here.
You can also make pasta without eggs. This pasta made from a flour called semola (different to semonlina FYI) which has excellent bite and is perfect for rich, hearty sauces. To do this, just replace the eggs with water when you make the dough with semola flour, it is that simple.
When the weather is cold, a warm stew is a small but tangible moment of joy. If you manage to get a head-start on the evening, this stew cooks in 2 hours, which is doable to eat that same night. Otherwise it keeps very well when reheated the next day. The liquid of choice in … Continue reading Beef stew made with German beer
Originally designed as a large traybake, this recipe cuts into small squares and is perfect for sharing. I reduced the quantities to fit a standard square cake tin which seems to be a more manageable size in these times of confinement, but hey, I’m not judging! Carrots and walnuts make fine partners when the weather … Continue reading Carrot cake with walnut oil and a buttercream icing – gluten free
This is a flan that originates in Brittany. It’s very typical of the region and is popular throughout all of France – you’ll find a version in most patisseries. I ate many of these in Paris before realising what it was and how easy it is to make myself. The prunes (or pruno – pruneaux … Continue reading Flan Breton