Tag Archives: pasta

Fluffy gnocchi with home-made pesto and spinach

11 Apr

There seems to be this universal level of panic when one separates eggs. The discarded yolks, the abandoned whites – what to do? What to do?

For no reason other than we had this dilemma, we decided to chuck in a couple of extra egg whites into our latest attempt at gnocchi. This made for a lovely soft, pillowy gnocchi. A word of warning, leaving the excess gnocchi in the fridge does appear to involve that gnocchi turning blue – but after a significant amount of sniffing, we ate it and remain upright and healthy to this day.

Fluffy gnocchi (serves 4)

  • 500g potato (desiree)
  • 250g white flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 – 3 TBSP home-made pesto
  • handful of baby spinach

Boil then mash potatoes. Add flour.

Whisk egg whites until thickened and airy, fold in the whole egg and then add to the potato-flour mixture.

Roll teaspoon sized balls of the ensuing dough and then dust in semolina or fine corn flour.

Throw into boiling water for a few minutes. Test if cooked and then drain. Toss through pesto and spinach. Voila!

Estimated cost (including home-made pesto): £3.50

Musical accompaniment: Kings of Convenience


Spinach and coconut steamed wonton

2 Mar

Yum. Yum. This is Man Woman’s first foray into wonton-making. This is a homage to the amazing prawn dumplings at Isarn in Islington, but, well without the defining ingredient. These little dumplings are fun, light and fragrant. That’s all. Won ton, tonne of fun!

Spinach coconut steamed wonton (makes 12 wonton)

  • 1 C frozen spinach
  • 2 TBSP coconut milk
  • 1 spring onion finely sliced
  • 2 tsp grated galangal
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • Wonton papers

Defrost spinach. Heat in a pan with coconut milk, galangal and ginger.

Place about 2 tsp of spinach mix in the centre of each wonton paper. Bring together four corners and press close, like a cartoon bank money bag or some such. This won’t need you to oil or put any water on the wonton.

Steam for about 5 minutes.

Some of Man Woman’s wonton stuck to the steamer. A friend said lining the steamer with rice paper might prevent this, I imagine probably a bit of muslin cloth might also do the trick.

Estimated cost: £2

Musical accompaniment: Damien Jurado

Decadence in the evening: Truffle mushroom pasta

16 Feb

Having been emboldened to make more use of our truffle oil following our truffle scrambled eggs life lesson, and inspired to recreate an amazing dish at 500 in Archway, Man Woman gave this a shot. It took ten minutes.

I’m not lying. It was good.

Truffle mushroom pasta

  • Fresh egg pasta for 2
  • 150g oyster mushroom
  • 150g chestnut mushroom (or any mix of nice mushrooms)
  • 1 small shallot, finely sliced
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP truffle oil
  • Parmesan grated

Cook onion and butter in 1 TBSP of butter. Once largely cooked, add the extra butter.

Meanwhile cook pasta. Once cooked, drain and add to the mushroom mix.

In bowls, drizzle truffle oil and grate parmesan over the pasta.

Estimated cost: £3.50

Musical accompaniment: Billy Bragg & Wilco, Mermaid Avenue Vol. 1

Winter salad: Mustard roasted butternut squash & orzo

7 Feb

Orzo is such a fun pasta shape – almost like alphabet pasta shapes for adults. It doesn’t often  get a showing on Man Woman’s dinner table, but I think we might have turned a corner.

Mustard-roasted butternut squash & orzo salad

  • Two lady handfuls of chopped butternut squash
  • 1tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp agave nectar, maple syrup or honey
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 C orzo pasta
  • handful or two rocket

Heat oven to about 200C.

Mix chopped butternut squash, spices and agave and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Throw in the roma tomatoes into the baking tray and cook for another 10  minutes.

Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta.

Mix together with the rocket and serve hot or cold.

Estimated cost: £2.10

Musical accompaniment: Beirut, the Gulag Orchestra

Mushroom and Stilton (blue cheese) tortelli

22 Nov

The ownership of a pasta maker is a challenging thing. We’ve gone at least a year between making any pasta at home, because often the store-bought stuffed pastas are on sale and suffice for a quick mid-week meal.

But making pasta yourself does allow you to make some rather nice stuffings. Having been reminded of how much ‘fun’ (albeit time consuming) making and eating fresh homemade pasta is, we’ll probably be trying it again sometime soon and posting any decent results we come up with.

Mushroom & Stilton tortelli

  • 2 C mix of chestnut and portobello mushrooms diced (get wild mushrooms if you can. We couldn’t)
  • 150g Stilton or other blue cheese (we used Tesco’s Finest, which is really quite decent and very cheap)
  • 1 TBSP red onion, finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 3 TBSP creme fraiche

1/2 egg pasta dough recipe

Cook down onions and mushrooms (diced into small cubes) in a bit of butter in a fry pan, adding splashes of balsamic vinegar and salt. Drain excess liquid (but keep to use as stock within the next day or two) and mix in crumbled Stilton and creme fraiche.

To make the tortelli, cut large squares of pasta dough – about 10cm – and place a generous tablespoon dollop of the mushroom-Stilton mix in the centre of a square. Press down to remove any air bubbles.  Top with another (ideally slightly larger) pasta square and press down around the mushroom dollop, working from the top and around (see pic in the egg pasta dough recipe).

Boil for about 3 – 6 minutes.

You can, however, use this mix in any kind of pasta shape. We decided on big ones ’cause we’re lazy, also because they make a nice looking starter. For a starter we placed one large tortelli over a buttered portobello mushroom and drizzled truffle oil, creme fraiche and crumbled Stilton over the top.

For a main we lightly steamed some swiss chard over the boiling pasta, and served ourselves 4 or 5 tortelli each, topped with creme fraiche and black pepper.

Estimated cost: £6

Musical accompaniment: Woman’s playlist on Last.fm

Egg pasta dough

21 Nov

Man Woman stumbled upon an Italian pasta maker for a fiver in a charity shop a few years ago. Since then we’ve had friendly disagreements as to the correct way to work the machine. Man, for instance, believes cranking the machine very quickly will yield best results. Woman disagrees, vocally.

What follows is the recipe which brings the best harmony to the Man Woman abode.

Egg pasta dough

  • 1 egg per 100g pasta flour
  • Pinch of salt

(how easy is that? we used 3 eggs, 300g)

Sift flour into a bowl. Make well. Crack eggs into well. Combine. Knead. Continue kneading for about 10  minutes until dough becomes smooth, silky and supple.

Cover in plastic and leave in fridge for an hour.

Fix pasta maker to bench. Flatten dough so it is no more than 2cm thick and feed through largest setting. Fold in half and feed through again, then make setting smaller. Repeat until the dough is fed through the smallest setting.

To make any filled pasta, you don’t need any water. Just press closed the pasta firmly and emphasise the closure with a pressed fork (if desired).

Estimated cost (serves 2 – 4): £1.50

Musical accompaniment: Oh Mercy

Pierogi dough (Polish dumplings)

17 Nov

Oh no, not another Polish pierogi recipe, I hear you say. And you’ll be right. But also a little bit wrong. This is the Man Woman take on this Polish staple where we throw in a little bit of wholemeal flour and, you guessed it, yoghurt.

Pierogi (makes 36 pierogi, serves 4-6)

  • 2 C white flour
  • 2 C wholemeal flour (we used strong flours for both types)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C plain yoghurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 C warm water

Sift flours into large bowl. Combine all ingredients.

In batches, roll out dough until it’s about 2mm thick. Cut into discs with large cookie cutter (we used some odd egg frying shapers which we’ve never actually used for frying eggs). Our discs were about 8cm in diameter.

Place filling (whatever you fancy) in a small dense circular blob in the centre of the dough discs. Pinch closed.

Boil filled pierogi for 3 – 5 minutes in batches. Most should start to float. Then fry off with a knob of butter in a fry pan, turning after sides get browned (don’t be afraid of a few burnt patches).


Estimated cost: £1.10

Musical accompaniment: Glen A Richards, Glimjack

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