Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Italian inspired 2 course meal

Mmm, sorry but there are no photographs of this one as it got eaten too quickly.

For the first course (primi): Pasta with cheesy tomato and mushroom sauce.

I used pasta spirals for this. I put them on at the same time as the secundi (second course) - see below.

First, I prepared the sauce - chopped an onion and half each a yellow and green pepper and saute├ęd them while I chopped some button mushrooms. Added the mushrooms as the onion was just starting to brown and let them cook, then added one 500ml carton of tomato passata and one tin of chopped tomatoes. Then added a good shake of powdered garlic and some dried basil, brought to the boil then turned down to simmer.

Next, I put on the pasta.

For the second course (secundi): Herby chicken thighs with sweet potato wedges and basilly green beans.

I peeled and sliced the sweet potatoes into good chunky wedges, then put a little sunflower oil on them and put them in the oven with the chicken thighs, slathered in herbs, all in one tray, at about 200 degrees C.

Meanwhile I put on a pot of frozen green beans on to boil.

As that all cooked away by itself I prepared a salad to go with the pasta - a selection of leaves (mostly baby spinach and rocket), tomato, cucumber, chunks of red pepper and olives stuffed with little wedges of fresh garlic. Dressed with a splash each of Donegal rapeseed oil and balsamic vinegar.

When the beans were done I drained them and left them aside.

Next, I grated half a block of Burren gold cheese into the tomato sauce. Any cheese would do really! When the pasta was al dente, after draining and leaving it for a minute to soak up any last bit of water, I threw it in along with the sauce and grated a little more cheese into it, then served it with the salad on the side.


After the first course, I had time to heat a drop of oil in a frying pan, season it with plenty of basil and black pepper, and quickly stir fry the green beans in it to give them a lovely flavour. When the chicken and sweet potatoes were ready I just served them with the green beans on the side. The second course isn't exactly Italian the way the first was, but it is inspired by the Italian way of having a first course with pasta (or rice) and a second course of meat and vegetables on the side without a starchy carb.

We had just enough room left afterwards for a little ice cream. So it was pretty much a perfect dinner.

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