Updated: Gnocchi with Creamy Butternut Sauce, Browned Butter and Prosciutto Crumbs

IMG_1354.jpeg

As I stated in my November post – I think this dish is perfect for this time of year. Obviously the pumpkin fits well as it’s in season, but the creamy sauce and fluffy gnocchi is also like a big autumnal hug in a bowl, that one most definitely need right now.

The original recipe is great for weeknight comfort, but cooking for my boyfriend on a Friday night I felt it could do with some jazzing up. So this is the elevated Friday night (or  dinner party) version for when you want to impress but still keep it fairly simple.

If you can’t be bothered with my whole ensemble of extras, and only want to jazz it up in a simple way then just add the prosciutto crumbs, because they have the biggest impact! And the thyme for some freshness!

And the sage is slightly redundant in itself, but it gives a subtle flavour to that glorious browned butter; you don’t need to put the sage on the plate.

IMG_1369.jpeg

Gnocchi with creamy butternut sauce, browned butter and prosciutto crumbs, serves 2

1/2 butternut squash

olive oil

salt & pepper

approx 300 g gnocchi, cooked according to the instructions on the packet 

50-100 ml single cream

grated nutmeg

a few thyme sprigs

finely grated parmesan

a few sprigs of thyme 

4-6 sage leaves

50 g salted butter 

2 slices prosciutto

Peel the squash and remove the strings and seeds. Cut into even-sized pieces and place in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Stir to coat all the pieces with oil. Place in the oven and roast until the pumpkin is soft, approx 35 mins in 200C. 

Cook the gnocchi and keep it warm.  

Place the prosciutto slices on a parchment lined oven tray and bake until crispy for approx 5 mins in 200C. Let cool on kitchen towel. Chop coarsely and set aside. 

Purée the roasted squash with a stick blender. Add (cold) cream until you have a nice thick sauce. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and grated parmesan. Heat up the sauce in a non-stick saucepan while stirring, if needed.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the sage leaves. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen towel. Keep the butter on the hob until it’s browned. Remove from the hob when it smells nutty and has a brown (but not very dark brown) colour. 

Mix the gnocchi into the sauce and divide into bowls. Add the sage leaves (if using), drizzle with browned butter and scatter with prosciutto crumbs and thyme leaves. Serve with grated parmesan.   

Recipe: spaghetti carbonara with girolles

IMG_2410.jpeg

As we’re bang in the middle of the mushroom season (and it looks like a great mushroom year this year, judging from the bounty my foraging friends present) I thought it appropriate with a little homage to the lovely girolle. Which also happens to be one of my favourite mushrooms!

I think mushrooms and pasta go well together, and I have several great recipes on the blog already, but as I learned to perfect a proper carbonara I couldn’t help but experiment with it too. You see, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that the addition of girolles to the creaminess and saltiness of a carbonara would work really well, and so I tried it out on my favourite guinea pigs; my best friend, her husband and my boyfriend.

As I really wanted the girolles to take center stage I was afraid the salty pancetta would take over, but with the double amount of girolles compared to pancetta in weight, it worked really well. I also fried the mushrooms separately to the pancetta, adding plenty of butter, garlic and seasoning to really make them hold their own.

Hope you like my little experiment as much as I do. For me, this is just the perfect Friday night pasta, especially in autumn, obviously paired with a large glass of smooth red wine and great company.

Spaghetti carbonara with girolles, serve 4

6 egg yolks 

80 g parmesan + extra for serving

175 g good quality pancetta, diced

350 g fresh girolles, washed and patted dry

2 tbsp butter

400 g dried good quality spaghetti 

2 garlic cloves

olive oil

salt and black pepper

Put the egg yolks. in a bowl and grate the parmesan into the bowl. Add some pepper and mix thoroughly with a fork. Put to the side. Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente. 

Fry the mushrooms in butter and a little oil on medium-high heat. Finely chop a garlic clove and add it to the pan. Season well. Pour the mushrooms into a bowl and leave to cool a little. Fry the pancetta in oil on medium-high heat. Peel a garlic clove, crush it with the palm of your hand and add to the pan – remove it if it browns or when the pancetta is cooked. Drain the cooked pancetta on kitchen towel. 

Fill a mug or small jug with pasta cooking  water and drain the pasta. Mix the spaghetti with the pancetta and mushrooms and remove from heat. Pour everything back into the pasta pan, add some pepper and some of the pasta cooking water. Add the egg and parmesan mixture and mix well. Add more pasta water if the mixture is too dry. Divide into bowls and serve with grated parmesan and black pepper. 

Recipe: spaghetti with tomato, burrata and crispy parma ham

APC_0532.jpeg

Who else loveeees burrata? I’m a huge fan and I think it’s easier to find decent burrata than mozzarella in the supermarket these days. That makes me a little sad, as I think good quality buffalo mozzarella should be readily available but as I love burrata, I’m glad it has become more accessible. Still, get the best you can find as even though the supermarket version is decent there are better ones out there!

APC_0518.jpeg

APC_0520.jpeg

My favourite pairing with burrata is definitely tomatoes, as the natural acidity and sweetness in them just works so well with the creaminess of the cheese. I love a caprese style salad with burrata and that’s where I got the inspiration for this dish. With the addition of crispy parma ham for texture.

APC_0522.jpeg

Adding the tiniest amount of cream to the tomato sauce, like I’ve done here, really changes the flavours of it and I think it goes even better with the burrata this way. But only use a small amount of cream, as I think the tomatoes should still be prominent.

APC_0534.jpeg

Spaghetti with tomato, burrata and crispy parma ham, serves 3

400 g spaghetti 

6 slices parma ham

1 garlic clove, finely chopped 

1 tbsp light olive oil 

270 g cherry tomatoes, halved 

100 ml white wine

chopped basil

2 tsp caster sugar 

salt, black pepper

6 tbsp tomato sauce 

1 tsp herbs de provence

2 tbsp double cream

To serve:

1 burrata, at room temperature

grated parmesan

more chopped basil

Pre-heat the oven to 200C fan. Place the ham slices on parchment covered baking tray and put it in the oven for 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. 

Cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the packet. In the meantime, make the tomato sauce. Add oil to a medium sauce pan and put it on medium heat. Add the garlic and shortly after the cherry tomatoes. Let them soften and caramelise. Once mushy add the wine and basil and stir occasionally. Add sugar to taste.

For more sauciness, add 6 tbsp tomato sauce and the herb de Provence. Add the cream and lower the heat while the sauce is thickening a little. Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.  

Drain the pasta and add it to the saucepan. Mix throughly and divide between bowls. Top with the burrata torn into smaller pieces. Finish off with grated parmesan, chopped basil and the crispy ham.  

 

Recipe: open crab lasagne with white wine and tomatoes

IMG_9806.jpeg

Sometimes recipes, or recipe ideas – to be more exact, pop into my head without any context (or warning) at all. But then I do think about food an awful lot… This open crab lasagne happened just like that. I was thinking of what I could cook for the weekend and suddenly this idea formed of an open crab lasagne.

And it turned out really well! The white wine, cream and tomatoes compliment the crab beautifully without overpowering the seafood. I really wanted this dish to taste of fresh crab, although in a ‘pasta with a creamy sauce’ kind of setting. And I find it genius using lasagne sheets like this (obviously not my idea in the first place), as it puts the focus on the crab and not the pasta. I hope you enjoy this little dish of mine as much as I did!

IMG_9808.jpegIMG_9816.jpeg

Open crab lasagne with white wine and tomatoes, serves 2

4 lasagne sheets 

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp neutral oil 

approx 120 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half 

50 ml white wine

150 ml double cream

1/4 vegetable stock cube

100 g fresh crab meat (white and brown)

1/2 lime, zest only

dill, finely chopped + extra for serving 

parsley, finely chopped

salt & pepper

dried edible flowers for serving (optional)

Boil the lasagne sheets until soft in salted water. Heat up a non-stick frying pan, add butter and oil and when melted the tomatoes. Let them caramelise and soften for approx 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and let it boil for a minute or two. Add the cream and the stock cube and stir. Let it thicken for a few minutes. Add lime zest and season to taste. Add half the crab meat and all the herbs (apart from the garnish).

Place two low bowls or plates near the stove. Take one lasagne sheet at the time and place it in the frying pan to coat it with sauce. Move it to the bowls/plates and place one, a bit folded over, on each plate. Add a spoonful more of sauce on each plate. Place the second sauce-covered lasagne sheet in the bowls slightly overlapping the first one. Add more sauce and divide the crab meat. Decorate with dill and dried flowers. 

 

Recipe: orzo with bacon, mushrooms and parmesan

APC_0614

When I think of this dish an image comes to mind, of Nigella in her silk dressing gown, opening that famous fridge door to get herself a late night snack. The leftovers from this dish would be perfect for midnight snacking and all you need is a bowl and a fork. But it’s really nice for supper a regular week night when you want something fast, easy and filling on the table in 15 minutes flat. It does that and more.

The comforting flavours of earthy mushrooms and salty bacon together with the silky orzo pasta comforts you from within. And it’s that comforting feeling that is sometimes most important for me when I cook for myself on a day that just feels a bit meh. May it be from the incessant London rain, the fact that the weekend feels far away or a rubbish day at work – regardless of the reason you will feel better after a bowl of this. Promise!

APC_0597

Orzo with bacon, mushrooms and parmesan, serves 3-4

200 ml orzo pasta (the one that looks like rice)

1/2 stock cube, vegetable 

200 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

ca 120 g bacon, cut into small pieces

150 ml creme fraiche

plenty of grated parmesan

salt and black pepper

Cook the orzo pasta in plenty of water. Add salt and half a stock cube to the water for extra flavour. Cook until al dente (approx 10 minutes or according to the time on the packet). Drain and pour the pasta back into the pan. Stir in some oil or a knob of butter so it won’t become one sticky lump. 

While the pasta is cooking, fry the mushrooms in butter and oil mon medium heat and make sure not to crowd them. If you have a small frying pan fry the in batches instead. Add the garlic towards the end of their cooking time. Add salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Then fry the bacon pieces on medium heat until crispy and brown. Drain on kitchen towel. 

Mix the creme fraîche into the pasta, then add the mushrooms and bacon. Mix well and add in some grated parmesan. Season to taste. Serve in bowl and top with even more parmesan.  

Recipe: tagliatelle with prawns, tomatoes and mushrooms

IMG_2735.jpg

I made this pasta with prawns, mushrooms and tomatoes back in Sweden in August for my parents and I for supper and we all really enjoyed it.

It feels fresh and light although it has cream in it and the prawns work so well with both tomatoes and mushrooms.

And it’s actually the tomatoes that steal the show for me! Look out for those little bursts of juicy sweet tomato that comes with almost every bite. I had the luxury of using my mother’s homegrown cherry tomatoes in different colours (they were delicious!) but any small tomatoes in season will work just as well (I’ve made this dish a few times since August using store-bought on-the-vine British cherry tomatoes).

IMG_2742.jpg

Tagliatelle with prawns, tomatoes and button mushrooms, serves 3-4

500 g fresh tagliatelle

1-2 shallots, finely chopped 

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

plenty of butter and neutral oil for frying

200 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

50 ml dry white wine

150 g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

300 ml double cream

1/2 stock cube (fish or vegetable) 

400 g frozen Atlantic shell-on prawns, defrosted and peeled (or approx 250 g fresh ones) 

approx 2 tsp caster sugar

salt and pepper

chopped parsley

Fry onions and garlic in butter and oil on medium heat without browning. Remove from pan. Add more butter and oil to the pan and fry the mushrooms on medium-high heat until golden brown. Season and remove from pan. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the tomatoes and let them cook on medium geat for a few minutes. Add the wine and let some evaporate before adding cream and stock cube (no water). Stir and let the sauce thicken. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper (the sugar will balance the acidity from the tomatoes). You want the sauce to have depth and taste a lot as the pasta will dilute the flavours. Cook the pasta in a large pot and drain.  

Take the sauce off the heat and add the prawns. Stir and add the pasta. Mix properly so every strand of pasta is coated with sauce. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Top with chopped parsley and serve immediately.  

Recipe: proper spaghetti carbonara

 

IMG_0573a.jpg

Recipes are not protected by copyright law, probably as they are evolving all the time. And as much as I like to keep to tradition when it comes to certain dishes I love to experiment with others.

When it comes to pasta there is no reason to always stick to the traditional recipes, but I think it’s good to try to master them first.

Growing up in Sweden in the 1980s and 1990s, we had a lot of traditional Scandinavian dishes, usually including meat and potatoes. Italian dishes then, when the world seemed a bigger place, were often (very) bastardised versions of the real thing, and therefore not of great inspiration to me. Because I only had the school dinner version of lasagne to sample I thought for a long time I didn’t like the dish. But it turned out it was just that terrible (yes, terrible) version I didn’t like. It was the same with ravioli (and other non-Italian dishes); my reference points were bad. Whereas everything my mother (or grandmothers) cooked was always delicious, but more Scandinavian in heritage.

Now my relationship with Italian food is quite different. I have been to Italy a few times and tried the real thing, and also cooked proper Italian dishes at home. And the emulsion of water and Parmesan keeps fascinating me. First of all, it’s DELICIOUS, but also, once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult at all as this recipe proves. And once and for all, you do not need cream to make a creamy carbonara, just a little patience and using the method below. But I must admit I added one tablespoon of it during my first attempt, although it’s not needed. As always Gennaro Contaldo’s recipes are spot on. Grazie.

Spaghetti Carbonara, serves 2

Adapted from Gennaro Contaldo’s for Jamie Oliver recipe.

3 large free-range egg yolks

40g Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve

150g good quality pancetta, diced

200g dried good quality spaghetti

1 clove of garlic

extra virgin olive oil

black pepper

Put the egg yolks into a bowl, finely grate in the Parmesan, season with pepper, then mix well with a fork and put to one side. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.

Fry the pancetta in a little oil over medium-high heat. Peel the garlic and crush it and add it to the pan for flavour – remove if it browns or when finished cooking. Reserve some cooking water and drain the pasta and add it to the pancetta pan. Toss well over the heat so it really soaks up all that lovely flavour, then remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the pasta back to the spaghetti pan, season and add a splash of the cooking water, then pour in the egg mixture (the pan will help to cook the egg gently, rather than scrambling it). Toss well, adding more cooking water until it’s lovely and glossy. Serve with a grating of Parmesan and extra pepper.