I’ve always been pasta mad! In my mind, if you don’t love a bit of pasta there’s something inherently wrong with you, or you’re just not making it right. No offense intended.
Now you can either make your own pasta or you can buy some from your local supermarket. The supermarket stuff can be great to be honest and if your time poor it’s a great way of getting that pasta hit without the hassle of making your own. Although, I would say that with a bit of time management you can whip up some great pasta the day before and from there it only takes 10 mins to make a great spaghetti, tagliatelle or linguine. Either way I am not a snob when it comes to pasta. You choose what you like.
The other most important aspect of a great pasta dish is making sure you have a delicious sauce to go with it. There are so many to choose from and sometimes a simple sauce is all that’s needed. From a stay at home dad point of view, the quick sauce is usually the best and least ammount of effort at the end of hard day entertaining the kids. By the time the kids say they are hungry you know it’s too late and within minutes I know I am going to have hangry kids. This meal takes a maximum of 30 mins from start to finish. I am pretty quick at prepping as I have had plenty of practise. If you are better than me and have planned your time more effectively today and have fiven yourself time to get this dinner done, this dinner is low effort and great with a glass wine.
Recipe ( Serves 4-6)
One tin of cherry tomatoes (You can use chopped tomatoes here instead )
Half Onion – Diced
Half Aubergine/Egg plant – Sliced and diced in to small cubes
1 carrot – sliced and diced in to cubes
Half Large Courgette – Sliced and diced in to small cubes
1 Red Pepper – Sliced and diced in to small cubes
1 tbsp tomato puree concentrate
Salt and Pepper to taste
150g Bacon lardons (Can leave or replace to go vegetarian)
Mozzarella mini balls/ 1 large Mozzarella cut in to small pieces
Pack of linguine or homemade pasta of your choice
Herbs & Spices – You can be as simple or elaborate as you want – Here’s what I add
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp onion granules
1 tsp garlic granules (You can use fresh garlic here – 3 to 4 crushed and diced gloves0
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chives
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
- Prep the vegetables and start to boil a saucepan of salted water. Also, preheat a large frying on a high to medium heat with a tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil.
- Fry the bacon lardons until browning and crispy. Remove the lardons, keeping the oil in the pan. This will give the veg some flavour. When I do the vegetarian version, I replace the bacon with some quorn or mince and use some vegetable stock.
- Add the cubed and diced vegatables to the pan and turn down the heat to medium. Fry, constantly moving the veg, for about 5 mins until they soften. Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 mins making sure you get a even mix across the vegetables.
- the bacon back to the pan, along with with tin of cherry tomatoes. At this point add the linguine to the boiling salted water. These cook for about 9-11 mins if your using the dried, shop bought packs. Fresh pasta takes minutes to cook so adjust the time you put the lingiune on accordingly.
- Add the herbs and spices. If you want a more grown up version, or your kids can take a spice of spice, add some flaked chillis to the pan. Add the water and let the sauce simmer for the time the linguine is cooking.
- When the linguine is cooked, drain and add a bit of pepper. Put the liguine in the sauce and stir to coat the pasta with the sauce.
- Finally, add the mozzarella to the pan of pasta. Stir until the mozzarella is melted and stringy throughout the pasta.
Pasta for me isn’t complete without a bit on salty, tangy cheese on top. I used Parmigiano-Reggiano which has a great flavour to top this dish. This dish serves four hungry people of you can be sensible and serve a few normal size dishes to 6 people.