Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: pasta (Page 1 of 2)

Fish with orzo

This is a delicious way to serve any fillet or steak of firm white fish: bass, bream, cod, hake etc. To serve 4 people:

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 25g butter or 2 tbs oil

Saute very gently for 15 minutes to soften the vegetables, don’t let them go brown. It helps to keep the lid on your pan. Add

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped

Carry on cooking for another minute. Add

  • 1 sprig of thyme (or a tiny pinch of dried thyme)
  • 300g orzo pasta
  • 450ml vegetable stock

Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add more stock or water if it dries out or catches on the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, work on the topping and fish. In another pan, add

  • 25g butter
  • 50g blanched, chopped hazlenuts

Fry gently until coloured, then tip into a bowl with the melted butter to cool. Wipe out the pan and heat again.

  • 4 fish portions
  • dash of oil

Pat the fish dry, season and fry in the oil. Start with the skin side down and heat until the skin crisps and browns. Turn over and continue cooking until done, the timing will depend on the thickness of the fillet. Probably around 5 minutes. Now back to the orzo:

  • Large handful of washed spinach

Remove the thyme sprig. Add the spinach to the orzo pan and carry on cooking with the lid on until wilted. Stir it in. Now you are ready to plate up, and what follows is a master-stroke of deliciousness. Divide the orzo/spinach mixture between four warmed bowls.

  • 80g mascapone
  • 0.5 lemon, zested

In the centre of each pile of orzo put a dash of mascapone. Place the fillet of fish on top, sprinkle over lemon zest and the put the buttery hazlenuts on top.

Beer Mac’n’Cheese

The American classic. This is for two people as a main course, easy to scale up or down. It can also be served as a side like in American diners.

  • 10g butter or substitute
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped

Heat the butter in a flameproof pan (like a le Creuset casserole dish and gently fry the garlic

  • 50g spinach

Add to the pad and wilt

  • 400ml milk
  • 200ml pale ale
  • 170g macaroni, penne or curly pasta

Add to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer 20 minutes

  • 150g mozzerella cheese sliced
  • 100g cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 tsp cornflour in a little milk

Add to the pan and stir to thicken. Keep heating gently to melt the cheese. Place under a grill to brown the top if you like. Serve with crispy bacon!

Prawn Pasta

Very quick and tasty. For two people:

  • 170gm pasta of your choice

Get it boiling according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile…

  • dash of olive oil
  • Half a chilli deseeded and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove sliced

Add to a frying pan and saute gently for 3 minutes.

  • 100g chorizo, sliced (or bacon, or salami)
  • half tsp fennel seeds

Add to the pan, fry for one minute

  • 150gm cherry tomatoes, halved

Add to the pan, cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid, if it dries out add a splash of water.

  • 150gm raw prawns

Add to the pan, fry until pink (about two minutes)

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Chopped parseley

Add to the pan, stir in. Adjust any seasoning. The pasta should be done by now. Drain the pasta, stir into the sauce and serve.


Smoked Salmon Pasta

Great for Christmas leftovers. Serves 2. You can play with the quantities, this is just a guide.

  • 170g pasta (spaghetti is good)

Boil according to the pack instructions. Meanwhile…

  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml cream
  • 25g-50g parmesan cheese grated

Beat to a creamy sauce. When the pasta is cooked, drain, add the creamy sauce are return to a gently heat. Stir until the sauce thickens

  • 150g smoked salmon bits
  • 1 tbs parsley, chopped

Stir into your sauce. Adjust seasoning and serve.



Summer Meatballs

A lighter take on the meatballs classic, perfect for summer. Serves 2:

  • 1 courgette

Peel the outer into ribbons, grate the centre. Put to one side

  • One onion finely chopped
  • Olive oil

Fry gently until soft. Add

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Fry 2 minutes more. Tip into a bowl, add

  • 250g pork mince
  • Grated courgetter
  • salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsely

Mix and form into 10-12 balls. Add to the pan, with a bit more oil if required, and fry until cooked. Meanwhile, cook

  • 200g spaghetti until just al dente

Scoop the pasta into the meatball pan. Add a splash of cooking water and the courgette ribbons. Heat gently and stir around to coat the pasta with the pan juices. Add more water if needed. Serve sprinkled with

  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • grated parmesan
  • chopped parsley


Vegan Bolognese sauce

In my opinion as a meat-eater, this is very nearly as good as the beef version! This makes a batch good for 4 meals at least.

  • 400g dried green lentils
  • I onion, chopped finely
  • 2 carrots, chopped finely
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 litres vegetable stock
  • Oil
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper

First cook the lentils in the stock for 45 minutes. Add more water if it threatens to dry out.

Meanwhile chop the vegetables or if you have one, pulse in a food processor. You need to consistency fine not chunky. Now sweat in a pan with the oil until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, cooked lentils with their liquid and season. Cook another 20-30 minutes. Now for the clever bit. Use a stick blender or fork to mush half the mix into a paste and stir into the rest of the mix to make a thick gloopy sauce. If it is too dry add stock, if it is too runny, boil it away a bit with the lid off. Real vegans will add yeast powder to the mix.

Serve as a pasta sauce, or make a lasagne. The problem with a vegan lasagne is making the creamy topping. Vegetarians will be fine with a standard bechamel sauce and grated cheese! Vegans will have to improvise with tofu alternatives. Keep some back to use as an ingredient for vegan sausage rolls!


Salmon and Spinach Pasta

Super quick pasta dish. I like any pasta sauce that cooks in less time that the pasta! For two (easily scales up):

  • 2 skinless boneless salmon portions
  • 4 sun dried tomatoes, sliced,  and their oil
  • 175g pasta of your choice (I like shells for seafood)
  • 1/2 pack of fresh spinach
  • A blob of creme fraiche (optional)

Here’s what to do. Boil the pasta according to the instructions. Meanwhile, heat the tomato oil in a pan and cook the salmon and tomatoes until the salmon looks cooked and flakes easily. Add the spinach and put a lid on the pan for a couple of minutes until the spinach is wilted. At this point you can add the creme fraiche if you like, or just stir about to mix, and adjust the seasoning. Mingle with the pasta and serve.

Sausage and Broccoli Carbonara

Ingredients (for two) – easily halved

  • 4 chipolata sausages
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small head broccoli cut into small florets.
  • 175gm spaghetti
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 25gm grated parmesan cheese
  • Oil

Squeeze the meat out of the sausages and with wet hands make little balls about  2cm diameter. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the balls until they are brown and cooked through. Keep rolling them about. At the last minute add the garlic and keep cooking, but you don’t want the garlic burnt. Meanwhile boil water in a pan and cook the pasta. After 8 minutes boiling, toss in the broccoli. After another 5 minutes, drain the lot and put back in the pan with the sausage balls and garlic. Beat the eggs with the cheese and stir into the hot pasta. Add a dash of water or milk if it is too stodgy. Keep it on a gentle heat if the eggs don’t cook. After a minute all will be done and you can serve. Add more pepper and salt if you wish, it depends how seasoned the sausages were.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients (For One) – easily multiplied up for more people.

  • 85gms dried spaghetti
  • 1 egg beaten (or shaken in a jam jar!)
  • 1 garlic clove squashed
  • 2 rashers bacon
  • 25gms finely grated cheese (ideally parmesan but cheddar would do)
  • Tablespoon of sunflower oil for frying

In a frying pan fry the garlic gently. When it goes golden brown take it out and throw it away. Chop the bacon and fry until slightly crispy. Meanwhile put a pan of water on to boil and boil the pasta until done according to the packet. Take the pasta out and drop it in the frying pan. Don’t shake all the water off. Add the cheese and egg, and stir about over a gentle heat until the egg starts to set which will be very quick. It might need a spoon or two of the cooking water to make it more smooth and creamy and less dry and lumpy. Either way it will taste good. Adjust seasoning with a sprinkle of salt and pepper Enjoy.

P.S. for a vegetarian version use a handful of mushrooms instead of bacon.

Thai Pesto Noodles

A bit fusion but it works. Takes about 5 minutes. The photo above was taken in Thailand where we went to cookery school for a day. First we were sent on a shopping trip to buy authentic ingredients in the market! This recipe did not come from that school but I thought the photo was appropriate for the ingredients anyway.

  • 4 slabs of dried egg noodles
  • 400g raw prawns
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 75g peanuts
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 lime – zest and juice
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs olive oil.

Cook the noodles. Stir-fry the prawns in the olive oil. Blitz everything else except the sesame oil in a blender. Drain the noodles, stir in the sesame oil, stir in the prawns and pesto and eat.

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