Pine nut & Pepper Pasta Perfection on a plate…oh, ok…in a bowl…

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Pine nut & Pepper Pasta Perfection on a plate..ok..a bowl

Right, just got a few minutes whilst I am poaching a chicken for supper and, before I do the rice,  to tell you what has been happening- well work has commenced once more, and yet with the sun still shining all is still fine soul-wise. So, suppers recently have been simple and of the ‘ok what have we got hanging out in the fridge variety’. Last night I just got out several items that nodded politely to me as I perused the cupboards…the general consensus was a pasta dish – and I wanted to do something around my standard courgette and lardon pasta dish that my kids love so much. Something a little more substantial still.

So.

I pan fried two diced courgettes with two cloves of chopped garlic, 100 gm of lardons and then in a moment of recklessness I threw in 75 gm of pine nuts and the chopped stems of several basil stalks. A dash of dried oregano too, then I added a red pepper cut into match stick slices and two mushrooms, very, very finely chopped – why? – my daughter doesn’t like them, so the smaller they are, the less she is likely to see them…and she didn’t! Then I sprinkled over some dried chilli flakes. This all combined pleasantly for about ten minutes. Once it looked just right – I drizzled on a little more good olive oil and waited for the rigatoni to cook. Then I drained it – added a portion to each bowl and spooned on a serving of the heavenly pine nut / pepper mix. And of course, we all shaved parmesan on it to our heart’s content – it was a marriage made in my kitchen!  It looked wonderfully colourful and it tested all the taste buds.

So, I have to head back to the kitchen now – pardon the rush!

Enjoy the coming weekend where ever you reside…and keep in touch!

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Basil, Pine Nut and Chilli Humdinger Hummus…

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Basil, Pine Nut and Chilli Humdinger Hummus...

Hot, hot day. Cat flat out on the flags. Just been sipping some cold, cold fizz, then fancied something to nibble before supper later. So, in from the sun and out with the ingredients for a home made hummus that just is so suited to such a lazy day as this.

Ingredients

1 400 gm can chickpeas – don’t you just love that name – chickpeas…conjures up images of hens shelling pea pods.
Bunch of Greek basil – though you could use ordinary
Glugs of Olive oil
1 garlic clove chopped
75 gm pine nuts – toasted lightly in a dry frying pan
Good handful of grated pecorino
1 red chilli deseeded and chopped
Salt and pepper

Pop all ingredients, apart from olive oil, into a blender and treat to a serious whizz. Then stop and add several good splashes of olive oil to start to loosen the mixture. Whizz again merrily for a mo. Add a grind of rock salt and a brief grind of black pepper.

Tip out into a bowl and adjust the olive oil to get to the consistency you want. Serve with warm pittas or grissini…and a glass of cold beer. Summertime…. and the eating is easy……

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Pollo basilico….

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Pollo basiico....

Well it sounds good…and it tasted good too! I fancied making some pesto, so I popped a big bunch of basil into a food mixer with 25 gm of toasted pine nuts, a chopped clove of smoked garlic, olive oil and a pinch of rock salt. Whizzed it round, then decanted it into a bowl – added a good few gratings of parmesan and a little black pepper – then adjusted the mix with more olive oil until it was the consistency I like. Then I remembered I had chicken thighs to use! Oh well – bang went the spaghetti in pesto sauce. I popped on some Van Morrison and I deboned the thighs with sharp scissors, flattened them out and spooned on a helping of pesto onto each. I rolled them up – held them together with a cocktail stick each and popped them on an oiled baking tray. Oven preheated to 200c – they went in for 15 minutes – then I basted them – back in for 5 minutes. Out again and I wrapped some parma ham around each one. Back into the heat for a final 10 minutes and they were looking luscious and inviting. I lightly toasted slices of sourdough bread – spread them each with the remaining pesto. I carefully removed the cocktail sticks from the chicken and popped a thigh onto each piece. I served it with steamed asparagus in olive oil and a few shavings of parma ham.

This is a really easy and tasty light supper – or it could be a starter too. Chicken and pesto – made for each other. and the asparagus chips in nicely with a fragrant crunchiness on the side. The family loved it and the silence as they ate said it all!