A colourful, mouth-watering Minestrone

IMG_1162

I love weekends filled with cooking. The house smells fantastic, the fridge and freezer fill up with beautiful meals that I’ll be enjoying in the following weeks. A spiced peach jam, lentil and eggplant sheperds pie, spanish lentil soup, clam and corn chowder, vichyssoise and this delicious minestrone. If I had more time, I’d document all I’ve done but sometimes you just want to get on with it!!! I’ll be running full steam ahead over the next weeks, I will start canning and pickling on top of cooking comfort food we all crave once the wearher cools. I can’t wait!

Minestrone has a flexible ingredient list according to what you have on hand and what’s seasonal. It checks all the boxes for me at the end of summer. Fresh ingredients, warmth and a hit of flavour with all those fragrant herbs from the garden. So any ingredient you see in this list can be switched to what suits your tastes and what you’ve picked up at the market 🙂

Ingredients

2-3 chipolata sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup fresh roma beans

1 of each green and yellow zuchini, quartered

1 onion, diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bunch kale, shredded

1 large tomato, diced

200-300 gr. fusilli or similar pasta

Sprigs of each fresh oregano and thyme

1 teaspoon each chili flakes and fennel seeds, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for cooking

1 litre chicken stock

Parmesan shavings and basil to garnish

Instructions

Heat a little olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add onions and sweat for a few minutes then add garlic until fragrant. Add sausage pieces then zucchini, stirring frm time to time. Whe sausage starts to colour add tomatoes and beans. Stir to combine and continue to cook until tomatoes start blistering, add stock, herbs, spices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to come to a slow simmer, then add kale and pasta and cook for 20-30 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente. Serve in large soup bowl topped with parmesan and granish with basil. Makes 4-6 portions, freezes for up to a month and keeps n the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

IMG_1164

Sunday Spaghetti & Meatballs with fresh pasta

Nothing says sunday night like fresh pasta with meatball sauce! I don’t exactly make mine like an italian nona, but I certainly love it! It’s simple, quick and super satisfying 🙂  And something about meatballs reminds me of childhood, what kid doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs? I have a vague memory of my cousin Dominic and I waiting for dinner and getting excited because we were having pasghetti…Lol, I can’t remember if it was he or I who couldn’t pronounce it 🙂  As far as the fresh pasta is concerned, I warn you, once you start, it will be hard to come back! Don’t be fooled, it looks complicated and time-consuming but it really isn’t, and you’ll love it every single time !

Recipes

Fresh pasta

1 cup semolina flour and more for dusting

1 egg

1/4 cup water

Dash of salt

Place flour in a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle, add water, salt and egg and mix well. Knead briefly until smooth and soft. The dough should be pliable. Cover and rest in the fridge for an hour or up to overnight. In the meantime make the pasta sauce.

Tomato sauce

2 cups canned tomatoes

1 cup chopped fennel bulb

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon olive oil

Heat olive oil in saucepan, add onions and stir until soft and translucent. Add garlic, then fennel seeds and stir. Add fennel bulb, stirring to combine and add tomatoes. Simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make meatballs.

Meatballs

75 g. each ground beef, pork and veal

1 onion

1 cup mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Place onion, garlic and mushrooms in a food processor and process until ground like the meat. Place in a mixing bowl with the meat and seasonings and blend well. Make meatballs the size of your preference, the larger they are, the longer they will have to cook. Transfer sauce into blender and blend on high until smooth. Return to saucepan and add meatballs. Cook for 30 minutes or more until you’ve reached the desired consistency.  Make the pasta: using a pasta machine, flatten the dough in increments until thin enough to pass through the spaghetti blade. Do this by passing it first through the first increment, folding the dough in two and passing it through again a few more times until the dough is smooth, dusting with flour as needed for the dough not to stick. Now pass it through into the second size and continue until you reach the fourth or fifth size. The dough should now have lengthened and thinned. Now pass the ribbon through the spaghetti blade. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, drop pasta into boiling water and loosen with a fork if needed. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and plate with pasta sauce and meatballs. Shave parmesan ribbons on to the pasta and decorate with basil leaves.  Makes 2 portions. Enjoy!