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Baked Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta

Last night was busy,  I finished work late and I hadn’t bought the chicken so I needed something quick, tasty and easy to prepare.  You can always rely on pasta – and the ingredients are very simple you may already have them in your fridge. If you don’t have mozzarella, replace it with cheddar cheese.  This meal got a thumbs up from everyone in the family.

  • tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 150g mushrooms sliced (I added these in they weren’t part of the original recipe)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes (5-6 fresh tomatoes and blended)
  • 45g small black olives,  pitted (I used 200g prosciutto which I had in the fridge)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300g cooked short pasta (such as fusilli or penne)
  • 75g fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces (or grated cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 6). Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and cook the onions, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the olives (or prosciutto if using), season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Stir the tomato sauce through the cooked pasta and spoon into a casserole dish. Dot with the mozzarella cheddar and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.

This recipe is from Everyday by Bill Granger

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Oven Baked Mushroom Risotto

Serves 4 

  • 10g/(1/2oz) packet dried porcini
  • 225g(8oz) fresh dark-gilled mushrooms or any mushrooms of your choice
  • 60g(21/2oz) butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 175g(6oz) risotto rice (Aborio)
  • 150mls (5oz) dry Maderia or dry Sherry
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan, freshly grated
  • Plus 50g extra, to serve
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • You will also need a 23cm shallow ovenproof dish 1.5litre capacity appoximatley 5cm deep 

Preheat the oven to 150C(300F/Gas 2). 

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour 570 ml (1 pint) boiling water over them and leave to soak and soften for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile chop the fresh mushrooms into 1cm chunks – not too small, as they shrink down quite a bit in the cooking. 

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the onion and cook over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, then add the fresh mushrooms, stir well and leave to one side while you deal with the porcini.  After 30 minutes place a sieve over a bowl, line the bowl with a double sheet of absorbent kitchen paper and strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Squeeze any excess liquid out of them, then chop them finely and transfer to the pan to join the other mushrooms and onion.  Keep the heat low and let the onions and mushrooms sweat gently and release their juices – which will take about 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the dish in the oven to warm. Now add the rice to the mushroom and onion mix and stir making sure the rice gets a good coating of butter, then add the Maderia or Sherry, followed by the strained mushroom-soaking liquid. Add a level teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper, bring it up to a simmering point, then transfer the whole lot from the pan to the warmed dish. Make sure it is evenly distributed in the dish and place in the oven on the centre shelf without covering. Set a timer and let it cook for 20 minutes.  

After 20 minutes, gently stir in the 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan , gently stirring the rice.  Cook for a further 15 minutes. 

Serve with a green salad and garlic bread. 

This recipe is from Winter Collection by Delia Smith

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