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3 great pasta recipes for tagliatelle, gnocchi and orzo

Chorizo and Mozzarella Gnocchi <i>(Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)</i>
Chorizo and Mozzarella Gnocchi (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

I read an article several years ago, whilst embarking on a mission to perfect my pasta making, where Antonio Carluccio described a simple dish of spaghetti, garlic and olive oil as his absolute ‘food of love’ and I must say I agree. The simpler the better for me when it comes to pasta, in fact that seems to be the case with most Italian food: find some incredible ingredients and let them speak for themselves. If you have the time, and inclination, I would encourage you to have a go at making your own pasta, for its therapeutic purposes if nothing else. This month I’m sharing some of my favourite pasta dishes, just as perfect for sharing as they are for piling into a huge bowl and devouring all by yourself!

 

Great British Life: Black Truffle Tagliatelle Black Truffle Tagliatelle (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Black Truffle Tagliatelle recipe

After a recent truffle hunting adventure, I had to include this recipe! Indulgent and rich with truffle, parmesan and butter, this dish is very simple to put together and must be made with (shop bought or homemade) fresh pasta. Here, I used shop bought fresh truffle pasta.

Ingredients (serves 2)

250g fresh tagliatelle

50g unsalted butter

50g fresh truffle

50g freshly grated parmesan

Sea salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta.

2. While the pasta is cooking (this should take 3 minutes) melt the butter in a pan, finely grate in most of the truffle and gently cook for 1 minute.

3. Add 1 ladle full of the pasta water to the truffle pan and stir in most of the parmesan.

4. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, season and serve topped with shaved truffle and the remaining parmesan.

 

Great British Life: Sausage and Fennel Ragu Sausage and Fennel Ragu (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Sausage and Fennel Ragu recipe

This is one of my favourite pasta dishes, I love the flavour that the fennel seeds add to the sauce. You can serve with any pasta you like, fresh or dried, here I have gone for cassulli as I like the way the shape holds onto the sauce. The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to four days.

Ingredients (serves 4)

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

6 good quality pork sausages, meat removed from skins

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Pinch dried chilli flakes

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

150ml whole milk

Sea salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

350g pasta

Parmesan for grating

Method

1. In a large, heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the sausage meat, crumbling it into the pan. Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes until starting to brown then add the onion, garlic, chilli and fennel seeds. Cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar and milk and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Add the pasta to a pan of boiling salted water and cook as per the instructions. Add a splash of the pasta water to loosen the ragu and drain the pasta. Season the sauce and add the pasta. Serve sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan.

 

Great British Life: Greek Style Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta Greek Style Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Greek Style Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta recipe

Manestra is a one-pot Greek dish of orzo and tomatoes, I love it topped with feta or grated halloumi and garlic yogurt. I often add some lamb mince in at the start but have kept this one vegetarian.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil (Greek if you can)

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Pinch dried chilli flakes

1 tbsp tomato purée

75 ml red wine

250g orzo

1 x 400g tin cherry tomatoes

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp sugar or Greek honey

1 ltr chicken or vegetable stock

Sea salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

To serve

200g feta, crumbled

2 tbsp Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic crushed

1 tsp dried dill

Method

1. In a large casserole pan, heat the oil, add the onion, garlic and chill flakes and soften on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée and red wine and cook until reduced for 2-3 minutes.

2. Stir in the orzo, cherry tomatoes, oregano and sugar/honey then top with the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Mix the yogurt with the garlic. Serve the orzo topped with the yogurt, crumbled feta and dill.

 

Great British Life: Chorizo and Mozzarella Gnocchi Chorizo and Mozzarella Gnocchi (Image: Sam Ellis-Cosgrove)

Chorizo & Mozzarella Gnocchi recipe

This upgraded pasta bake is the perfect warming comfort food, great for a midweek supper in the winter months. I love to make gnocchi with the children, but shop bought fresh is equally as good.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

120g chorizo, diced

1 tsp smoked paprika

Pinch chilli flakes

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

500g fresh gnocchi

Sea salt flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

125g mozzarella

Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Method

1. In a medium sized oven proof pan, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add the chorizo, smoked paprika and chilli flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar and gnocchi, season well and cook for 8 minutes.

2. Heat the grill (or oven to high). Tear up the mozzarella and place on top of the gnocchi. Grill or cook in the oven until melted and bubbly. Serve garnished with the fresh basil leaves.



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