Recipe: tagliatelle with prawns, tomatoes and mushrooms

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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).

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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.  

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London: amazing pasta at Sorella

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Some restaurants just has that little bit extra, that you can’t quite put your finger on, but that makes you like a place straight away. It’s a bit like clicking with someone on a first date; you can’t really pinpoint what you like about the person, but there’s something.

That’s the feeling I (and I think my dinner companion too) got when we walked into Sorella in Clapham. Something about the ambience felt nice, the staff was friendly and the food amazing.

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The menu consists of snacks and sharing plates as well as a few main courses, that are also perfect for sharing. To start off with we ordered some bread (much needed when you’re verging on hangry) and a starter to share.

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The restaurant made ricotta with the softest pea purée and a flavoursome oil was a delicious start. Smooth, soft and subtle but still with lots of flavour.

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Then we moved on to what we came here for; the pastas. The tagliatelle with a slow-cooked ragu was heavenly.

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But it was soon overshadowed by the dreamy linguine with morels cheese and heaps of truffle. IMG_6469.jpg

I still of dream of this dish, that’s how magnificently delicious it was. I hope this stays on the menu forever.

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After the pasta we had a little breather before getting started on the main course.

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We had perfectly cooked cod with Swiss chard and a lovely jus.

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And on the side the crispiest potatoes I’ve ever come across. Wonderful!

But what really stayed me were the pasta dishes. It’s hand to heart some of the best I’ve had.

Race you back?!

Sorella, 148 Clapham Manor St, London SW4 6BX

Pasta Bolognese in Bologna!

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After our pre-dinner snacks on the Saturday evening we had dinner at Drogheria della Rosa, a very old school restaurant in Bologna. When we arrived, we were shown to our table and after ordering water and wine a starter arrived. We hadn’t seen a menu or ordered anything, and we soon realised they gave everyone the same antipasti, we just didn’t expect it. But the tender guinea fowl vegetables and delicious buffalo mozzarella was lovely. I would never have thought to try this combination myself, but it really worked; I guess you can have mozzarella with everything.

After finishing the starter the waitress came and told us about the menu that day. As I said, old school.

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One of my food goals for this trip  was of course to have a proper pasta Bolognese when I was visiting the very city it’s from, and this place seemed to be a good bet to have just that. And it was. The lovely tagliatelle was coated sparingly with sauce but the flavours were amazing. It was just right and I’m so glad I had it here. Caroline, who doesn’t even like Bolognese, enjoyed it too and that’s probably the best praise you can get!

Her pasta with artichokes was delicious too! Plenty of flavours, quite salty and just yummy. I definitely recommend a visit here when you’re in Bologna.

As expected we were more than full after all the food this evening, so we declined pudding and walked to a bar by the main square and enjoyed a glass of wine outside under the heaters.

Drogheria della Rosa, via Cartoleria 10, 40124 Bologna, Italy

Bolognese sauce with red wine and bone marrow

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It is not as often as I would like, that I have time to stand by the stove and look after a casserole (thank god for the oven and slow-cookers), but one Sunday I found the time and enjoyed a few hours in the kitchen. Although made with mince this bolognese was done properly; starting with a soffritto, adding the best tinned tomatoes and tomato purée and eventually red wine and cooking slowly on low heat. In the meantime I prepared some tagliatelle and baked marrow bones to add bone marrow to the casserole towards the end.

The idea to have bone marrow in a bolognese sauce is entirely Massimo Bottura’s and I’ve been thinking about trying it since I heard him speak at Taste of London in June.

I loved the addition of bone marrow but I love it in all types of dishes. This is still a subtle way of serving it, almost sneaking it in, but the depth and umami it adds make wonders for the stew. But, if you don’t like the sound of bone marrow just omit it, the bolognese sauce is still delicious!

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Bolognese sauce with red wine and bone marrow, serves 3-4

500 g pork mince 

ca 3 tbsp sofritto on equal parts onion, carrot and celery 

400 g Cirio chopped tomatoes

200 ml water

1 tbsp Cirio tomato purée

1/2 garlic clove, presser

200-300 ml red wine

salt, black pepper

optional: rosemary and thyme 

1 marrow bone

Mix equal parts onions, celery and carrot in a food processor. Use 3 tbsp about it and freeze (or keep in the fridge for other stews) the rest.

Fry the mince in a knob of butter in a frying pan. Add a knob of butter to a casserole dish and fry the soffritto on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and water, tomato purée and garlic. Leave to reduce a little. Add the fried mince and red wine and leave to simmer for about 1 hour. Season to taste and add the herbs if needed. Preheat the oven to 200C and place the marrow bone on a baking tray and roast in the office until cooked through (i.e. not red/pink in the middle but see-through and a little brown at the edges). Scoop out the marrow and add to the casserole. Season to taste one last time then serve (with tagliatelle and plenty of grated parmesan). 

Homemade tagliatelle with mushrooms, garlic and parsley

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On Sunday my visiting friend Carina helped me make pasta, and it was a lot easier to have someone helping me roll it out on the pasta machine.

We were both tired and wanted something satisfying but not heavy, so instead of a creamy mushroom sauce I opted for fried mushrooms with quite a lot of butter (instead of a sauce), garlic, parsley and truffle oil served with grated pecorino.

This is a very simple dish, yet absolutely delicious. This certainly proves (yet again) that good produce is all you need to make good food.

Homemade tagliatelle with mushrooms, garlic and parsley, serves 2-3 

double batch pasta (made form 200 g flour and 2 eggs)

150 g fresh mini portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 handful mixed dried mushrooms (girolles, black trumpet and cepe), soaked in water and drained, kept whole

2-3 tbsp salted butter

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 handful parsley, chopped

salt, black pepper

truffle oil

grated pecorino

Make the pasta and cut into tagliatelle. Scatter on a platter or tray with polenta so it can dry out a little without sticking together. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. 

Melt half the butter in a frying pan and fry all the mushrooms on high heat. Add the garlic towards the end. Season and add the parsley. Keep warm. 

Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add the mushrooms. Melt the remaining butter and add that too along with a few drops of truffle oil. Mix well and plate. Serve with grated pecorino.