Archive for the 'Pasta' Category

How to cook with truffles

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Go to the recipe for Pasta with white truffle
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On “schoolnights”, when everything happens at helter-skelter pace, it’s always a rush to get home from work, throw a meal together and do the day’s housekeeping before crashing into bed. If I’m lucky Waz has been on an early shift and we can share the evening duties.

So on the weekends we really like to give a lot more time and attention to creating lovely meals that we can enjoy eating at a slower pace.

I thoroughly respect the ideology of the Slow Food Movement – begun in 1986 to celebrate and enjoy local and regional cuisines. So when time permits I love to create meals that embody the Slow Food philosophy of creating the simplest of dishes, with the highest quality ingredients.

Chef Michelle and I recently treated ourselves with a whirlwind weekend trip to the centre of the white truffle universe – the Alba truffle festival in Piemonte near Turin, Italy. We ate a fantastic truffle meal at a Slow Food restaurant with some luscious local Barolo wine. We couldn’t believe our luck the following day when, while roaming the Alba hills, we ran into a local truffle hunter who sold us some white truffles that his little dog had just dug out of the ground. Continue reading ‘How to cook with truffles’

Classic bolognese


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Spaghetti bolognese – it’s an old standby, and as such has become one of the most used and abused recipes under creation. Outside of its hometown of Bologna in Italy, bolognese has become a catch-all name for any meat-and-tomato sauce quickly slapped together and served over pasta, which is almost invariably spaghetti.

But start investigating bolognese and you’ll find out some interesting things. In traditional Bolognese cooking, ragu alla bolognese is rarely served with spaghetti (usually it goes with tagliatelle); it contains very little tomato (eschewing the pound can or two of tommies that many people dump into the saucepan); there are no herbs in it (so rack off home with your shaker of dried oregano); and one of the key ingredients is time (not the herb – the stuff in your wristwatch).

Most surprisingly of all – to me, at least – the key to a lovely rich bolognese is a goodly portion of milk.

Continue reading ‘Classic bolognese’

Pasta fire extinguisher


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I’m always on the lookout for really quick, nutritious dishes that can be knocked up in about 20 minutes after I get home from work. This “herby pasta” fits the bill.

If you have a few herbs in your garden, then you can probably make this without even having to make a trip to the shop. Your store cupboard, or “pantry” to Anglo-Australasians, will have just about everything else you need.

For this dish it’s important to use what I call “soft” or “wet” herbs. I don’t know if these are accepted cookery terms, but I include such herbs as basil, parsley, mint, coriander (cilantro), marjoram, tarragon and dill in this group. Continue reading ‘Pasta fire extinguisher’

Ready, steady, spaghetti: Puttanesca pronto

Every Saturday I sit down to the task of writing out the weekly grocery shopping list. It starts off easily with the staples: bread, milk, fruit, white truffles …

But then comes the tricky part: what to eat for dinner for the next seven days. Sometimes inspiration hits and I easily come up with seven tasty, nutritionally balanced dishes with a combination of ingredients that’s both affordable and at least slightly adventurous. And that yields just the right amount of left-overs to pop into a plastic container for tomorrow’s lunch.

Other times I enter into a flight of fancy that Waz might have some ideas for the week’s dinners: “Waz, can you suggest something for dinner this week?” Typical reply: “Twice smoked duck’s liver on a bed of wilted sea kale with smoked maple dressing.” Or, alternatively: “Fish.”

Yeah, thanks Waz. Continue reading ‘Ready, steady, spaghetti: Puttanesca pronto’

Your sausage habits exposed

Click here to view the videoI was doing some web research after our sausage excursion to Calgary and was disturbed at the extent to which the corporate sausage machine has been keeping an eye on our snag tastes.

I’ll elaborate, but first a little on this episode of CTK. We prepare a simple dish that for want of a better name I call “sausagey pasta”. We hadn’t cooked it for a while, so our memories were a little fuzzy on the exact list of ingredients. A bit of Googling and some head-scratching, though, and we came up with a recipe.

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But back to the sausage evil empire. This company called Devro has broken our habits down to pie charts and line graphs. Apparently 31% of us want our sausages straight, but 66% don’t care whether they’re straight or curved. Of more concern, 55% don’t know what’s on the outside of a sausage – natural casing made of gut, or that synthetic stuff we mentioned in the last post. Continue reading ‘Your sausage habits exposed’

We Did It All For The Gnocchi – Again

Click here to view the videoWe’ve decided to reprise a couple of our classic episodes – mostly for our iTunes audience, and others who find it easier to view our new MPEG4/QuickTime formats.

Here’s the first episode we posted, known amongst our small but dedicated fan base as “the one with the orange”.

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What we put together here is home-made gnocchi with a very simple, classic pesto. Hope it gets your juices flowin’! Continue reading ‘We Did It All For The Gnocchi – Again’