Tagliatelle with Chicken from the Venetian Ghetto

The title is classic Nigella (a little cheeky) and the taste is just as fabulous. Use a rotisserie chicken if time is an issue and we are instructed, “No cheese, please.”

3 lb. chicken
2 tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
1 tbs. finely chopped rosemary leaves, 2-3 sprigs
50g sultanas (soaked in warm water for 30 minutes) (1/3 cup)
100g toasted pinenuts (3/4 cup)
1 lb. tagliatelle
2 tbs. freshly chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 350°F. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting tin and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours until well browned and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced. Take the chicken out of the oven and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Take the meat off the bone, keeping the skin, and cut or tear into pieces.

Put a large pot on to boil.

Pour all the juices from the roasting tin into a saucepan. Add the rosemary, sultanas and pine nuts, then simmer gently while you cook the pasta. Salt the boiling water well and cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes. Drain and toss with the chicken and sauce. Serve in a large bowl topped with chopped parsley.

Serves 6

 

Fresh Tagliatelle

Dust off that old pasta maker from the 90’s and try this easy, fun and delicious tagliatelle.

400g OO flour (2 2/3 cup)
1 fat pinch of salt
4 large eggs

Either put the flour and salt in a bowl or on a clean work surface. Form it into a mound and crack in the eggs into the mound. Work with your hands or a spoon until the mixture comes together in a claggy mess. Knead for a few minutes until smooth and satiny. Form it into a ball, cover with a tea towel and leave for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Have more OO flour at the ready and begin to roll out the pasta.  Cut the ball into strips and feed through the pasta maker as directed. Nigella recommends repeating the no. 1 setting several times, folding the dough in half each time. Pass it through up to no. 5, then put through the tagliatelle cutter. Toss immediately with OO flour and leave to dry a bit.

Cook in plenty of boiling, salted water for just 1-2 minutes, or until tender. Toss with your favorite sauce.

 

Courgette Fritters

These are special due to the addition of feta cheese and the use of both fresh and dried mint. The perfect side dish or veggie main course.

4 medium courgettes
6 scallions, chopped
8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
small bunch fresh mint, chopped
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. dried mint
1 tsp. paprika
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
olive oil, to fry

Coarsely grate the courgettes and wrap the gratings in a tea towel for 20 minutes to reduce the moisture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients except the olive oil. Season well.

Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat, then brush on some olive oil. Drop small mounds of the courgette mixture onto the pan and cook until browned on the bottom. Flip over and brown on the other side. Serve warm.

Serves 4

Mexican Lasagna with Avocado Salsa

Add chicken to the filling for a heartier meal.

For the sauce:

1 tbs. garlic flavored olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 green chilis, chopped with seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbs. finely chopped cilantro stalks
2 x 14oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 tbs. ketchup

For the filling:

2 x 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 x 15 oz. can corn, drained
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
8 10″ soft, flour tortillas

For the avocado salsa:

2 avocados, halved and cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 scallion, thinly sliced
3 tbs. chopped green jalapenos
salt, to taste
1 tbs. lime juice
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Heat the oven to 400°F. slipping in a baking sheets at the same time.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions, peppers, chilis and salt. Cook gently for 15 minutes and, once soft, add the cilantro stalks. Stir in the tomatoes, then rinse out one can with water and add this too. Add the ketchup and let everything simmer while you make the filling.

Mix the beans, corn and most of the cheese together in a bowl.

Start to assemble by spooning about one third of the sauce in an round, ovenproof dish and smearing it about, then layer on 2 tortillas so that they cover the sauce overlapping slightly, like a Venn diagram. Add a third of the bean mixture, then about a quarter of the remaining sauce and 2 more tortillas. Repeat.

Finally, add the last layer of beans, nearly all the remaining sauce and the last 2 tortillas. Spread the last bit of sauce on top and sprinkle with the reserved cheese.

Place on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing it like a pizza. Serve with the avocado salsa.

For the salsa, stir together all the ingredients and check the seasoning.

Serves 8

Japanese Shrimp

According to Nigella, this quick and delicious meal makes her feel, “smug and holy”!

2 tbs. water
2 tbs. sake
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbs. lime juice
1/2 tsp. wasabi powder or 1 tsp. paste
2 tsp. garlic flavored olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
8 oz. shell-off large shrimp (fresh or frozen)
salad leaves, rice or noodles
fresh cilantro, to serve (optional)

Stir together the water, sake, salt, lime juice and wasabi.

Heat a small wok or skillet and add the olive oil and scallions. Stir about for a minute or two, then tip in the shrimp. Cook for 3 minutes or until they start to turn pinkish.

Add the liquid mixture and bring to a bubble, then cook for another 3 minutes stirring the shrimp in the sauce until completely cooked through. Serve over salad, noodles or rice with fresh cilantro, if using.

Serves 2

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

Paired with New Orleans Cole Slaw, this is THE PERFECT picnic!

12 chicken drumsticks and/or bone-in, skin-on thighs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, skins removed and bruised
1 tbs. crushed peppercorns
1 tbs. kosher salt
1 ts. maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cumin

Place the chicken in a large freezer bag and add the remaining ingredients except for the 2 tbs. of oil. Squish it all together and marinade for at least 30 minutes. However, chilled overnight is better.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Shake the marinade off the chicken and place in a foil-lined roasting tin. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. Alternatively, you can BBQ them over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes per side.

Serves 6

 

New Orleans Cole Slaw

This is the accompaniment of choice for Buttermilk Roasted Chicken.

1 head white or savoy cabbage, about 2 lbs. before trimmed
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbs. maple syrup
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup toasted and chopped pecans

Trim and shred the baggage. Place in a large bowl and add the carrots, scallions and celery. Whisk together the mayonnaise, maple syrup and vinegar. Toss with the cabbage mixture and season. Toss in the pecans to serve.

Serves 6

Lemon Risotto

This luscious risotto is delicately scented with lemon and a bit of rosemary adds just the right amount of earthiness.

2 shallots
1 rib of celery
1/4 cup butter
1 tbs. olive oil
1 1/3 cups risotto rice
4 cups vegetable stock
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 small sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
4 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle
4 tbs. heavy cream

Put the shallots and celery in a mini food processor and blitz to a fine mush. Heat half the butter and all the oil in a wide saucepan and add the shallots and celery. Cook gently to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, letting it get a good coating of the oil and butter.

Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan, then keep on low.

Pour a ladleful of the stock into the rice and stir until it is incorporated. Continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all the stock, or you might need more water from the kettle, depending on your rice.

Stir the lemon zest and rosemary into the risotto. In small bowl, combine the lemon juice, egg yolk, Parmesan and cream. When the risotto is ready, stir this in along with the remaining butter. Season well and serve with more Parmesan grated over the top.

Serves 2 as supper or 4 as a side

Spaghetti with Prawns and Chili

This simple pasta supper is bursting with flavor and color. Enjoy!

1 1/4 lbs. raw prawns
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 cup sunblush or cherry tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
8 oz. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

In a large pan, fry the scallions and chili flakes in the olive oil for a few minutes, then tip in the prawns and tomatoes with their oil. When the prawns are just opaque, add the wine or vermouth and let it bubble a bit. Toss in the arugula and stir until it slightly wilts.

Drain the pasta, keeping a bit of the cooking water, and add to the prawns. Toss everything together, adding some cooking water if needed to make a sauce.

Serve sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4

Beef and Aubergine Fatteh

Nigella describes these as “Middle-Eastern nachos”. It is a subtly textured, richly flavored arrangement of  toasted pita bread with a meaty topping of beef and aubergine and a garlicky tahini sauce. This is meant to be put in the center of the table and shared.

4 pita breads, split oven and cut into triangles

For the topping:

1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
5 tbs. tahini, at room temperature
3 tbs. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 sea salt flakes

For the beef:

3 tbs. regular olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 aubergine, cut into small cubes
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper or paprika, plus more for sprinkling
1-2 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 lb. minced beef

To sprinkle over:

1/2  cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 tbs. chopped fresh mint

Heat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the pita triangles on a large baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes until crisp.

Beat the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and garlic together. Add salt to taste.

For the meat, warm the oil in a heavy saucepan and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down and continue to cook until soft and golden, about 4 minutes longer.

Turn the heat up to medium, tumble in the aubergine cubes and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the cumin, coriander, Aleppo pepper or paprika and 1 tsp. of the salt. Add the beef and, breaking it up with a wooded spoon, stir until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Taste and see if you need more salt.

Sit the bowl of the yogurt mixture over a pan of just simmering water. Stir until it is slightly room temperature and has the consistency lightly whipped cream.

To assemble, place the pita triangles on a large platter. Top with the beef mixture, followed by the yogurt sauce. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and mint. Sprinkle with a little Aleppo pepper or paprika and serve.

Serves 4-6