Semolina Gnocchi Alla Romana

I do really like gnocchi and have made the potato version a good few times. I’ve also made the cream cheese version from this book almost exactly a year ago! I had bought semolina for another recipe but decided to try this instead..

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Even though I was making this for the three of us I decided to half it, 4oz of semolina measured out seemed like quite a lot. I found that the minute I added the semolina to the milk it started to thicken. I was beating as best I could but it did all look a bit lumpy!

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I think the trick is to work quickly as it really does thicken fast and then feels like it’s about to set. I quickly added the egg and Parmesan..

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Once the egg and Parmesan has been beaten in it does look much creamier and softer..

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I did have a bit of difficulty spreading onto a tray as it really was thickening fast! I attempted to smooth flat but it kept sticking to the spoon!

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I left to cool for about half an hour and then I started to cut into squares. It did feel a bit soft and was thinking I should’ve left to cool for a bit longer. The wee squares did hold their shape ok but just didn’t look great..

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Then I topped with some butter and more Parmesan..

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After a few minutes under the grill is was looking nicely browned, maybe slightly more browned in some areas..

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I had made a pretty basic tomato sauce and poured that over the top..

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Then finally topped with more cheese..

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Well I thought this was great!! The gnocchi is lovely and soft and tastes great with the Parmesan and tomato sauce. The others in my house were a bit put off when I told them it was semolina but I think 3 clean plates is a good sign! It is very filling and half the full recipe was the perfect amount for the three of us.

Would I make this again? Yes, wee bit of effort but worth it

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Macheroni alla Carbonara (Macaroni with Ham and Eggs)

Am pretty sure you wouldn’t find this in many Italian restaurants! First I thought it was a spelling mistake and then I think it sounds like something that’s been made up, either by someone who wanted macaroni cheese but didn’t have enough cheese to make a white sauce, or by someone who fancied carbonara and had no tagliatelle!!

I did do a search and apparently the term maccheroni refers to all macaroni shaped pasta such as shells, tubes and twisted strands. So it is spelt wrong but not made up!!

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I had quick cooking macaroni so I only cooked it for 10 minutes. Then I was just using regular sliced ham for this, did think I should be using chunks of ham from a left over roast but don’t really think that’s too important..

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I opted to only use 2 eggs as they were quite large. Once added the pasta does look lovely and glossy..

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I really wasn’t sure how long to cook it for at this stage, so I kept going till I could see proper cooked bits of egg! It kind of looks like scrambled egg now!!

I added the Parmesan and just stirred that until it had melted..

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So including the cooking of the pasta this was ready in about 15 minutes.

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So I know it’s not much of a looker but this was actually rather tasty! It’s a perfect mid week dinner, easy to cook and ready in under 20 minutes.

Would I make this again? Yes, it’s a great macaroni/carbonara fusion!!

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Spanish Rice

Reading this title I’d maybe expect some chorizo or other Spanish sausage or meat rather than just bacon!

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The bacon, pepper and onion cooking together does create a great smell, and I think it looks quite nice!

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I have a set of cups that gives measurements for a full cup down to a quarter cup which is quite handy. Before I had that if I was using a recipe with cup measurements I didn’t have much success, think I was using mugs rather than cups!

I bought a mini bottle of tomato juice for this like the recipe lists. I was going to just use a can of chopped tomatoes but I found the mini bottle of juice in the supermarket and it was quite cheap.

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I think I had this cooking for over 20 minutes rather than only 15, and by then the liquid had been absorbed and the rice was nice and soft..

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We were just having this with some pan fried chicken.

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I know this isn’t a very exciting recipe and really not much to say but it does taste good! It’s simple to prepare and pretty low maintenance! Ideal for a Monday evening dinner!

Would I make this again? Yes, but would try with chorizo next time

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Macaroni with Tomato Sauce

This is two recipes, well if you can call the macaroni a recipe! I made the tomato sauce using a recipe from the sauces chapter..

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I made the sauce earlier in the day. Once I had added all the ingredients it was looking very pale…

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So I opted to add the tomato paste as suggested, and by the time it had simmered for 30 minutes it was much darker looking..

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I didn’t want to seive it as I didn’t want to waste the veg, so I fished out the clove and bay leaf and I blitzed the rest until smooth..

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I had to taste it at this point and it tasted brilliant!

I then started with the macaroni recipe, well I made some a macaroni and mixed it with the sauce! I made the full amount, but I had also made the full amount of tomato sauce and that was too much. So I have put the left over sauce in the freezer. As suggested we had with Parmesan on top and more on the table.

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This was great, a really delicious mid week dinner. The sauce is really really good and would be brill with any other pasta. I think when I mentioned to my family that we were having macaroni for tea they were disappointed that it wasn’t good old macaroni cheese!

Would I make this again? Yes I’ll be making the sauce again to have with pasta

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Spaghetti al Burro

The pasta and rice chapter of this book isn’t particularly big which isn’t surprising when you consider the era this book was written. I made one of my usual calls to my gran to ask her about spaghetti and she’s pretty sure it was at least the 70’s before she had spaghetti!!

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There really isn’t much to this recipe and is not normally something I’d choose to eat. I did weigh out the spaghetti and it seemed like hardly any! I was making for 2 adults and a child so I opted to cook the 6oz. When you compare this to the packet of current spaghetti it suggests 3-4oz of spaghetti per person, which is nearly double. Maybe that’s a sign of the times…

Anyway I cooked for 12 minutes and then added the butter and probably a handful of Parmesan, I guess you can add as much or as little as you like depending on how much you like the stuff. We love it (as long as it’s the decent stuff!) so I opted for more..

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Nothing much else to do but mix and serve, I wasn’t that excited by as this as it’s not something I’d normally make for tea, it just seemed a bit bland and dry for me..

Well what a pleasant surprise, this was great. Yes it looks bland but it’s simplicity is really appealing. The spaghetti was cooked just perfectly and I had used the right amount of butter and Parmesan to nicely coat the pasta. I did serve with even more Parmesan! I also had made a herby garlic bread to have with this and that was fab too.

Overall a great simple wee dinner that’s just great. Perfect with garlic bread and a glass of red!

Would I make this again? Yes, loved it

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Fried Rice

Needed a quick dinner for the others in the house tonight, and this fits the bill, on the table in just over 20 minutes..

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This is another recipe that I’m surprised to find in this book, so I had to make my regular call to my gran, and she does not remember having savoury rice dishes even back in the 1970’s. This probably is a recipe added in the later 1967 edition. She only ever remembers making rice pudding so will need to give that a go soon!!

This is quite a good recipe for using up those last bits of things in the fridge! I guess you could adapt and add anything else you have lurking about; peppers, celery, prawns, asparagus…

We do quite often have a stir fry or a rice one pot as I like to call them where I throw a bunch of stuff in the wok and mix with rice or noodles. I’ve never actually fried the rice, and I’ve never put an omelette into a stir fry. I know in the past I would have left the omelette out but am slowly getting over my egg dislike!

Nice and quick to make, I had quick cook rice so it was boiled in 12 minutes and then the rest only takes and about 10 minutes. I was serving this with some chicken that had been marinated in soy sauce.

I was halving this for one adult and one child, so when it came to putting the soy sauce in I didn’t think it was anywhere near enough, we all like quite a lot of soy sauce!! So I served the bottle on the table so they could add extra!

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This wasn’t actually for me but obviously I had to taste so I could give an opinion. All I can say is that I wish I was having this for tea! It’s a lovely quick and simple dinner that is perfect for midweek dinner. The other two loved it and plates were scraped clean!

Would I make this again? Yes, definitely

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Ricy Mince

This is a weird sounding recipe, when I looked this up to see if it is an actual recipe I only came across one reference to a random recipe where you just through anything you have in the fridge and cook it with mince and rice!! That’s pretty much what this is..

Ingredients

1 onion chopped
2 sticks of celery chopped
1 oz butter
2 oz mushrooms
1lb mince
6-8 oz long grain rice
15oz can of tomatoes (or 0.5lb fresh tomatoes) made up to 1.5 pints with stock
Seasoning
A pinch of dried herbs
Half a bay leaf

Fry the onion and celery in the butter for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the mushrooms, add the meat and fry until lightly browned. Stir in the rice and continue frying for a further few minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and stock and add the seasoning and herbs. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently until the meat is tender, the rice is soft and the liquid is absorbed. Serve with a separate dish of grated Parmesan.

The recipes does also give a few variations; adding 2 oz chopped bacon or half a green pepper. To be honest you could add anything you have!

This is really easy to make and it only requires one pot which I quite like. I used fresh tomatoes and topped up volume with beef stock. The recipe doesn’t actually say how long to simmer it for, think I ended up leaving it for 30 minutes, and by then the rice was cooked and all the liquid had been absorbed. I made the full quantity of this and it makes loads! Looks like we’ll be eating this all week!

Taste wise this is nice enough. It’s nothing wonderful but is a tasty mid week dinner. The Parmesan is a nice touch but to be honest I can think of better recipes with mince. I suppose it is a good recipe to use up the last of the veg, which is why I chose this to make tonight!! You could adapt this using whatever you have.

Would I make this again? Maybe…
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