Haven’t cooked for some time so I have been naturally aching to scratch that creative “itch”. Last week, I so happened to catch up with a good friend of mine who also happens to be a culinary aficionado. Admittedly, he is way more refined than me when it comes to the palate; at least he has experienced firsthand what it is like to work in a 3-star michelin restaurant. “Priceless experience”, he would say. He was kind enough to share with me two ‘secret’ recipes (well, not so much of a secret any longer after I publish it on KitchenMess) that will take no longer than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. One is the lazy man’s guide to a tasty ragout which I am about to share with you right now. INGREDIENTS (serves one):
- 1 sausage (I used lamb, hence the name “lazy lamb ragout”)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes in sauce (~411g tin)
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of worcester sauce
- 1 chopped small onion/shallot
- 1 bunch of torn basil leaves
- 1 cup wholewheat penne uncooked
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan (optional)
1) Heat saucepan, add a knob of olive oil and then throw in the diced shallots. After 1-2 minutes, open the can of diced tomatoes and pour all the contents in. Low boil for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Add 1 teaspoon of worcester sauce and a squirt of tomato paste (~ 1 tablespoon). Season with salt and pepper. Stir until dissolved. 2) While tomato sauce is brewing, de-skin the sausage. Simply use a small knife to peel off all the skin.
3) Mash the sausage content with a fork and sprinkle with some black pepper. 4) Now to cook the pasta. Boil pot of water, add some salt and throw in one cup of dry penne pasta (I used wholewheat here to boost my overall fiber content for the day). Cook according to package instructions (roughly 10-11 minutes for al dente).
5) In the meantime, add the minced lamb mixture into the saucepan with the tomato sauce and with the aid of the fork and slotted spoon, quickly break apart the meat inside the sauce so that it more or less resembles a ragout. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until done.
6) By now the pasta should be ready. Drain the pasta in a colander and pour cooked pasta into a serving bowl. Pour the tomato lamb ragout sauce mixture on top of the pasta.
7) Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese if desired. And there you go, a 30 minute hearty ragout. Serve and enjoy.
I think this is quickly becoming one of my signature dishes (well, at least in my mind it is). A play on the fast-food Hong Kong style cha-charn tang baked pork chop rice for the plebs is my own revamped “classier” version of the dish for the bourgeois. Mind you, this dish does take a longer time to prepare and requires more ingredients than the usual mentions on this blog.
INGREDIENTS (serves 3):
- 3 pork chops with bone-in (cut ~1.5 cm thick)
- Bunch of chopped fresh rosemary
- Salt and white pepper, to season
- 1/2 pack of spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon of worcester sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup of ketchup
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1-2 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
- 1 brown onion, sliced into wedges
1) Wash and pat dry pork chops with paper towels. Marinade the chops with white pepper, salt, and the chopped rosemary.
2) Boil pot of water and add some salt in. Add in pasta and cook al dente (~10 minutes; read package instruction to be precise). Drain in colander then transfer to oven proof baking dish (I love using my pink Le Creuset stoneware). In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. 3) Pan fry pork chops on medium heat until browned on both sides (~2-3 minutes). Layer on top of cooked spaghetti. 4) Prepare the tomato sauce. Chop tomatoes and onions into wedges. 5) Heat pot on medium-high and lightly fry the onions until slightly browned. Then add the tomatoes and stir around a little. Pour in beef broth, ketchup, worcester sauce, tomato paste and boil until sauce thickens. 6) Pour sauce carefully all over the prepared pork chop spaghetti dish and generously sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan. 7) Stick dish in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese all melted. Serve immediately with vegetable sides.
What to do with an overripe avocado? An instinctive response would be to “mash it”! On that note, I decided to make a quick, healthy and fulfilling lunch that took no longer than 20 minutes. Whole wheat penne with mashed avocado dressing mixed in with a tomato salsa and garnished with parmesan shavings.
- 1 Avocado
- Wholewheat Penne Pasta (2 cups cooked)
- 1 tomato (diced into cubes)
- 1 garlic clove (grated)
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper (as required)
1) Boil a pot of water and add pasta in. Cook according to package instructions (roughly 12 minutes for whole wheat penne if you are aiming for ‘al dente’ texture). In the meantime, mash avocado in a bowl. Squeeze juice of one lime and sprinkle pepper and salt. Grate some garlic into the mixture and mix well with a fork. Adjust taste according to personal preference.
2) Add chopped tomatoes into the avocado paste and mix together with the fork. 3) Drain cooked pasta in a colander and pour into bowl. Combine avocado tomato mixture with the pasta and toss to distribute evenly. 4) Garnish with more chopped tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan before serving.
- Mixture of mushrooms of all sorts (oyster, chanterelle, shitake, swiss brown, portobello)
- 1/4 cup bacon bits
- 1 red onion, sliced
- black pepper
- knob of butter
- olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup whisky
- shaved parmesan cheese (if desired)
1) Wash mixture of mushrooms, wipe dry and slice.
2) On low heat, brown onions and bacon with a knob of butter and add some olive oil and the assortment of mushrooms. Slowly cook and add the whiskey, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Continue to stir until a mushroom sauce is produced (about 40 minutes).
3) In the meantime, cook pasta till al dente according to instructions. Add cooked pasta to the mushroom sauce and stir together.
4) Serve with shaved parmesan if desired.