Category Archives: Pasta Dishes

Beef Pastitsio

Beef Pastitsio | Gather and Graze

Pastitsio is a layered Greek pasta dish, in many ways similar to it’s rather delicious Italian cousin, lasagne. It works well with either minced beef or lamb, though my family unanimously prefers the beef version. If you’re unable to find the Greek Kefalotyri cheese, feel free to substitute with Parmesan. Hope you enjoy this gently-spiced pasta dish as much as we do! Continue reading

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A Little Broadway Lasagne with Beef and Mushrooms

Beef and Mushroom Lasagne | Gather and Graze It’s not even my type of music, yet I find the soundtrack to the Broadway Musical ‘Jersey Boys’ strangely infectious. It’s one of 3 musicals that I’ve seen ‘live’ in New York and I have incredibly fond memories of it, mostly due to the fact that I saw it on a fabulous girl’s weekend with a dear friend from Australia who was also living in the USA at the time. Continue reading

Fresh Pasta – The Bartolini Way!

Fresh Pasta | gatherandgraze.com

The feeling of failure in the kitchen has never been quite so great as when you go to the effort of making fresh pasta dough… kneading it… resting it… rolling it… cutting it… cooking it… and then realising that it’s quite possibly the most awful pasta you’ve ever tasted in your life. You’ve tragically also gone and put this on a plate for your family, who funnily enough are dodging eye contact with you for fear of having to speak and admit that what you’ve dished up is pretty much inedible. Aaaargh, all that hard work for nothing!

So, having attempted fresh pasta with my pasta machine a handful of times before, with little success, this was my first attempt using a recipe (along with a number of invaluable tips for technique and procedure) from John at ‘From the Bartolini Kitchens’. Continue reading

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs | gatherandgraze.com

There are some dishes that I hesitate in posting, as I feel that they’re probably not exciting enough for my fellow bloggers and readers who I know cook to such a high level and have their own tried and tested recipes. However, part of the reason for creating this blog is to provide a go-to guide and resource for my two young boys, so that eventually when they leave the nest 😢 (or even before then perhaps… when they feel inspired to cook up something for dinner for their parents! Yes, I did stress that word ‘perhaps’!)… some of their favourites will be there to  find easily.

This is a dish that I cook reasonably regularly and it’s most definitely one that puts a smile on everyone’s faces! Continue reading

Smoked Trout and Almond Linguine

Smoked Trout and Almond Linguine, Gather and Graze

With the slightly warmer weather enticing us to sit outside through to the early evening, it’s time again to bring out the nibbly platters. A little cheese, a few olives, some cured meats… all the things that go perfectly with a chilled glass of white or rosé! My current favourite is to include a fillet of smoked trout or salmon on the platter, from the ‘Eden Smokehouse’ (their beautiful smoked seafood products are available, I believe, throughout most of NSW and the ACT in Australia). Though I’m sure that in your part of the world, there will be something of a similar nature that will work just as well.

The other evening, I discovered that smoked trout also goes brilliantly tossed through with some pasta, and a few other simple ingredients. A quick, stylish dish, that requires minimal time cooking (something that will be much appreciated as it warms up even further throughout the summer months). The toasted almonds added at the very end, add a wonderful taste and texture to the dish, so be sure to have some on hand.

Smoke Trout and Almond Linguine | Gather and Graze

  • 400g Linguine (or other long pasta)
  • 15g/1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (finely sliced)
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Wholegrain Mustard
  • 250ml/1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 200g Fillet of Smoked Trout (or Salmon)
  • Handful of Chopped Italian Parsley (and/or Chives)
  • Large Handful of (Toasted) Slivered Almonds

Place a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

While you’re waiting for the water to come to the boil, place the cream, lemon zest and mustard into a small mixing bowl. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper, stir to combine and then set aside for the moment.

Flake the smoked trout and also set aside.

When the pasta water has come to the boil, stir in some sea salt and add the pasta, cooking until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, place a frypan over low/medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and when the butter has stopped foaming, add the garlic and fry gently for a couple of minutes. Now stir in the cream mixture and allow to simmer gently for about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the lemon juice and the flaked smoked trout and continue to cook for another minute or two, until the trout is warmed through. Check for seasoning and adjust with sea salt, pepper or lemon juice if required.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the sauce, stirring gently to coat each strand.

Place into bowls or a serving dish and top with the fresh, chopped herbs and toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

Perfect with a glass of white wine and a loaf of crusty Italian bread on the side.

Smoked Trout and Almond Linguine, Gather and Graze

Pasta con Pollo e Funghi | Chicken & Mushroom Pasta

Pasta Pollo Funghi | Chicken and Mushroom Pasta | Gather and Graze

‘Gather and Graze’ is not about preparing elaborate, complicated meals – that was never my intention. Mostly it’s about sharing food, recipes and ideas that bring both happiness and nourishment to our own small family. It is also published in the unwavering hope that it will reach those people teetering on the verge of discovering how wonderfully simple cooking can be… Continue reading

Comforting Chicken and Orzo Soup

Chicken Orzo Soup Gather and Graze

A few weeks ago when my children and I were unwell, I went searching for the ultimate in health-promoting, comforting and most importantly… delicious-tasting soups. It was a given that it had to be based around chicken, but when I came across this rather lovely recipe featuring leeks, garlic, lemon and a little pasta, I knew that I’d found exactly what I was looking for! It is a recipe that I’ve adapted (ever so slightly) from one of my favourite Neil Perry cookbooks, called ‘The Food I Love’.

I’m absolutely kicking myself that I didn’t discover this soup years ago… all those years that have passed when we could have been indulging and restoring ourselves through the colder months of the year. Therefore, starting immediately is our belated, but now completely embraced tradition of chicken soup to warm the body and soul.

Chicken & Orzo Soup | Gather and Graze

  • 300g Free-Range Chicken Breast(s)
  • 8 Peppercorns/1 Star Anise/1 Bay Leaf
  • 100g Orzo/Risoni Pasta (or any other small pasta shape)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Leeks (washed and sliced finely)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 Litre Good Quality Chicken Stock
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese to serve (optional)
  • A Handful of Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley (optional)

The first two steps of this recipe can be done well ahead of time if you like and then placed in the fridge until you’re ready to start cooking the leeks/garlic.

Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and add the peppercorns, star anise, bay leaf (or any other herbs, spices or aromatics that you desire). Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat completely. Place your chicken breast(s) into the pot with the poaching liquid and leave for about 2 hours. Remove to a bowl to cool, before shredding.

While the chicken is poaching, place a small saucepan filled with water on the stove and once again, bring to a rolling boil. Add some sea salt and then the orzo pasta, giving a quick stir to make sure none is stuck together and then cook until al dente (tender, but with a slight bite). When ready, drain the orzo and rinse gently with cold water. Set aside for later.

About half an hour before you want to serve dinner, place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil, along with the chopped leeks, garlic and a little sea salt. Allow to sweat for about 10 minutes or so, until the leek has softened. Then add the chicken stock, lemon zest and juice (depending on the size and type of lemon, you may wish to add half of the juice at first and then taste to see if more is required) and simmer for another 10 minutes.

At this point it’s up to you to decide whether to puree the soup or not. With one of my children averse to the sight of cooked vegetables in any soups or stews, I decided that a couple of minutes of whizzing the soup with a stick blender was the only way that he might enjoy it. It worked!

Now add the shredded chicken and orzo into the soup and stir gently to combine. When the chicken and orzo are warmed through, the soup is ready to serve.

This soup is lovely as it is, or perfect with some finely-grated parmesan cheese and some chopped flat-leaf parsley scattered on top… with some crusty bread on the side too!

Chicken Orzo Soup Gather and Graze

* Recipe slightly adapted from Neil Perry’s ‘The Food I Love’ cookbook

My kind of Fast-Food: Home-Cooked Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara Gather and Graze

On nights like tonight, after baking batches of muffins and cookies for children’s end of term parties at school tomorrow, a quick, easy pasta dish for dinner was all I had time for. I love that this recipe is cooked in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. It’s always a hit with the kids, especially when served with a little garlic bread on the side!

There are so many fabulous variations of Pasta Carbonara out there, but I still felt keen to document and share this particular version – it’s the one we’ve been cooking for years now and we still haven’t tired of it.

A quick post for a quick pasta!

Pasta Carbonara

  • Servings: 3-4 (enough for our family…)
  • Print

  • 300g (Dried) Pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 200g Diced Speck (or Bacon)
  • ¼ cup White Wine
  • 2 Free-Range Egg Yolks
  • 100mls Pouring Cream
  • A large handful of Finely Grated Parmesan (or Grana Padano) Cheese
  • A sprinkling of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • A little Sea Salt and Pepper

Place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a rolling boil. In a book I’m currently reading, ‘In Search of Total Perfection’, Heston Blumenthal recommends about 1 litre of water for every 100g of pasta.

While the water is coming to the boil, place the egg yolks, cream, parmesan, nutmeg and seasonings into a small mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Set this bowl aside for later on.

Once the water is boiling, add some salt (another Heston tip: add 10g of salt for every 100g of pasta) and give a quick stir before throwing in the pasta. Stir again gently to make sure none of the pasta is sticking together.

In a medium-sized frying pan over med-high heat, pour in the olive oil and when hot, add the speck. Fry until nice and golden. Turn the heat down a little and add the white wine, stirring to lift any little bits of speck stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to simmer for a few minutes until syrupy and then turn off the heat.

Keep an eye on the pasta and strain it in a colander as soon as ‘al dente’ (tender, but with a slight bite). Add the drained pasta directly into the frying pan and toss briefly in the oil and speck until all of the pasta is coated. Remove the pan from the stove (so that the sauce doesn’t curdle from the eggs coming in to contact with too much heat) and stir in the egg/cream mixture. The sauce will thicken slightly with this gentle stirring. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately.

Cooking Notes:

  • If you can find good quality Speck where you live, please give it a try! It has a slightly smoky flavour and a touch of juniper berry, that is really wonderful in this dish.