These tasty little shepherd’s pies are made in a small gratin dish and are quick to prepare. The lamb is mixed with beans and a minted tomato sauce, and then covered with a creamy mash potato and topped with cheese and cherry tomatoes.
You will also need an ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4
Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) of lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Then leave for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.
Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.
Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. (It will not be fully cooked at this point.) Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and pour over the wine. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.
Now melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet, add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping is golden brown.
Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.
Simple to prepare, this tasty pasta dish gets cooked in one pan in just under 30 minutes. Lamb is cooked in a red wine, tomato and thyme sauce with farfalle (bow-tie pasta). Great served with a leafy salad, and crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Cacciatore) and this one I call Chicken Hunter’s Style. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.
Chicken Hunter’s Style – breasts of chicken are cooked with diced bacon and onions, sliced mushrooms and plum tomatoes in a seasoned tomato sauce.
You will also need a large sauté pan with lid and a medium-sized serving dish
Warm the serving dish in the oven.
Now heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and set to one side.
Put the bacon in the pan and sauté for 1 minute, tossing frequently. Then add the onions and mushrooms, reduce the heat a little, and cook until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Stir through the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Next stir in the wine and tomatoes, then return the chicken to the pan and sprinkle with the parsley and seasoning.
Cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through. Add the basil during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove the chicken to the warmed serving dish and pour over the sauce.
I have two recipes for chicken cacciatore. One I have already posted (see Chicken Hunter’s Style) and this one is called Chicken Cacciatore. We like both recipes although they are slightly different. As cacciatore means hunter in Italian, it seemed an appropriate way to be able to identify the two.
Chicken is sautéed and then cooked with chopped onions, sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes in a seasoned sauce. Rocket/arugula is then stirred through before serving.
You will also need a deep-sided sauté pan for this recipe.
Heat half the oil and half the butter in the pan, and when the butter starts to foam, add the chicken. Over a medium heat brown the chicken on both sides, about 4 minutes, then remove and put to one side.
Next add the remaining oil and butter to the pan, and once the butter starts to foam, add the onions and mushrooms to the pan. Reduce the heat and gently cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions begin to soften and the mushrooms turn a golden colour. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock, then add the oregano and bay leaf. Now return the chicken to the pan. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the bay leaf, then season well and stir through the rocket/arugula.
1 x 400g tin (or ½ × 796 ml can) chopped/diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
1tsp chicken bouillon, or 1 × organic stock cube, mixed in 300ml (10 fl oz) (⅔ cup) boiling water
1 tsp sugar
200g (7 oz) spaghetti
½ a small Savoy cabbage, finely shredded (or other green leafed vegetable finely shredded*).
*Savoy cabbage in Canada can be very pale and so I prefer to use something like kale. The dark green colour works well with the spaghetti, although it does sound an unusual combination.
You will also need a large lidded frying pan/skillet.
In a large bowl mix together the pork, breadcrumbs, beaten egg, lemon zest, finely chopped onion, half the garlic and half the sage, a pinch of the crushed chillies, and plenty of seasoning. Once everything is well mixed in, shape into 30 meatballs. Then refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Heat half the oil in the frying pan/skillet and add the meatballs. Brown over a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally to brown all sides. This may need to be done in two batches. Remove and set aside.
Now add the remaining oil to the pan, reduce the heat, and add the chopped onions. Cook gently for 5 minutes until they have softened. Then add the remaining garlic and sage and cook for a further minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée/paste, stock, sugar, a pinch of crushed chillies, and season. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 5–10 minutes until the sauce has reduced a little.
Return the meatballs to the pan, then gently simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted, boiling water, adding the cabbage or other green vegetable for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain.
Serve the spaghetti alongside the meatballs and sauce.
This is a lasagne recipe that I stumbled across many years ago and that has always been a great family favourite. The dish has three layers of pasta, a meaty tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese, topped with Parmesan.
For this recipe you will need a deep sided frying pan/skillet or sauté pan.
Also a 32.5 x 22.5 x 5 cm (13 x 9 x 2 inch) ovenproof dish.
*In the UK the prepackaged grated mozzarella cheese contains only cheese and anti-caking ingredients. In Canada it has more additives, so I buy the block mozzarella and grate it myself. Just pop it in the freezer for ten minutes before grating to firm it up.
A Caesar salad can be served as an accompaniment.
Brown the meat in the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, ⅔ cup water, and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Many brands of lasagne pasta require no pre-cooking but I have found they benefit from cooking for a short time anyway. A baked lasagne using uncooked pasta isn’t as moist.
So, bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a glug of olive oil. Drop 5 of the lasagne sheets into the water one at a time (crossing each one over the other) and boil for 4 minutes. They need to be cooked in two batches or they will stick together while cooking. Remove the sheets with a pair of tongs and rinse under cold water, then lay the sheets separately on a clean tea-towel. Repeat with the remaining four sheets.
To layer up the lasagne. First, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of the lasagne pan. Then layer 3 lasagne sheets, a third of the remaining meat sauce, and a third of the mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat layering the pasta, meat sauce, and cheese twice more. Finally sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.
Bake, covered with foil, in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving into portions.
Parmesan coated chicken breasts are baked in a tomato and basil sauce covered with mozzarella. They are served with tagliatelle tossed in chopped parsley and garlic butter and sautéed courgettes/zucchini.
2 courgettes/zucchini cut into 1.25cm (½ inch) slices
1 tbsp olive oil
You will also need an ovenproof dish large enough to take the four chicken breasts in a single layer
Preheat the oven to 200C/400°F/gas mark 6
For the parmigiana
Put the olive oil and garlic into a pan over a medium-low heat and, as soon as the oil starts to sizzle, stir in the tomatoes and tomato purée. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce a little. Remove from the heat and add the shredded basil leaves. Season.
Meanwhile, measure the flour into a plastic bag and season. Then add half the grated Parmesan and shake to mix. Spread out onto a large plate.
Tip the egg into a shallow dish.
Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, shaking off any excess egg while lifting them from the dish. Then coat with the flour and cheese mixture.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan/skillet and add the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side until they are lightly golden in colour. Transfer to the ovenproof dish and pour the tomato sauce around the chicken.
Lay two slices of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast then sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan.
Cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes until the cheese is lightly browned.
For the tagliatelle
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook for the length of time directed on the packet.
While it is cooking mix the butter with the garlic and chopped parsley.
Drain the tagliatelle, return to the pan with the parsley butter and toss together.
For the courgettes/zucchini
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Add the the courgettes /zucchini and toss in the oil. Sauté for 3–5 minutes turning frequently until cooked through and beginning to colour.
Lift the chicken breasts from the pan onto four serving plates and spoon the tomato sauce around. Garnish the chicken with the basil sprigs.
Serve with the tagliatelle and courgettes/zucchini.
Heat half a tablespoon of the oil in the pan and brown the beef, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set to one side.
Cut the bacon rashers into cubes and add to the pan. Once the fat starts to run and they begin to brown, remove from the pan using the slotted spoon and set aside with the beef. This will take about 3–4 minutes.
Now, reduce the heat and add the remaining oil to the pan with the onion, celery, and carrot. Gently cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes until they soften, stirring frequently.
Stir through the garlic and tomato purée/paste and cook for a further minute.
Then return the beef and bacon to the pan. Stir in the red wine and increase the heat to medium. Let the wine bubble away until it has reduced by half.
Next, stir in the beef stock and add half the oregano, nutmeg, bay leaf, and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer very gently for 45 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the remaining oregano and half the parsley.
Serve the spaghetti sauce over the pasta and scatter the top with the remaining parsley and some grated Parmesan.
Finely chop two thirds of the basil and mint and 2 lemon thyme sprigs, reserve the remaining third. Using a pestle and mortar, pound together the herbs, crushed garlic, and two tablespoons of the olive oil until a paste is formed. Or use a food processor. Put the chicken in a shallow dish and spread the herb mixture over the top of the chicken. Cover, refrigerate and leave for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Put the peppers, courgettes/zucchini, and potatoes in a bowl. Season and pour over the remaining olive oil. Toss together until the vegetables are well coated. Then add the tomatoes.
Lay the chicken pieces in the centre of the roasting tin/pan in a singe layer and then spread the vegetables around the outside.
Roast for 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
To serve, squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter over the reserved herbs.
Tinned/canned plum tomatoes can be substituted for the fresh plum tomatoes, just add them to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.