Creamy Tomato Pasta

I am always wondering what to pack my husband for lunch:

 

Sandwiches become soggy

Curries are too smelly

Creamy pasta too often

 

So last week I ventured the pasta sauce isle for inspiration. I pick up a jar of creamy tomato pasta sauce and ready the back for ingredients. ”I can make that” I think to myself.. and it was a winner with my husband! A sure staple on our lunch menu.

For about 4 serves (500 gms pasta)

one can diced tomato ( I used one with olives because I bought it by mistake, but works great)

one medium onion – finely diced

two garlic cloves minced

oregano- 2 tablespoons (or any of your favourite herbs)

salt and a pinch of sugar to taste (sugar is used if the tomatoes arent very sweet)

1/2 cup cream

250 gm pasta

olives/sundried tomatoes (chopped- optional)

To make:

Saute onions of medium heat in some olive oil util soft. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients (except for cream) and cook on a low heat until completely cooked and softened. Add enough water to cook, but reduce when almost done as you do not want a soup!

The longer you let it cook (about 20-30 mins) the better the flavour. You know it is ready when the oil separates from the sauce.

Add desired amount of cream at the end, and olives/sundried tomatoes if you want to. Heat through and mix with your favourite pasta.

This sauce freezes well!

 

Creamy Pesto and Spinach Pasta

I always try to find some positive to an otherwise negative situation..

Yesterday my son was quite sick, so we spent a good portion of the day at the Children’s Hospital.

Long story short, we were told the wait to see a doc was 3 hours, so my husband and I went to the cafetria to have something to eat. I love looking at cafe displays and menus, so took the opportunity to learn something new.

My husband bought pesto and spinach pasta. I could see that it was incredibly rich, so I only tasted it.. It was really lovely and knew it would become a regular on our home menu. I am glad that I came across something new as I feel like I always packing my husband stirfry noodles or omlette for lunch 😀

Today I made some for my husband’s lunch for the week…

It was so tasty (and lighter than the one yesterday) that I couldn’t help but have a little myself.

You will need: enough for 1 kg of penne pasta

Approx 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour

Approx 2 tablespoons butter

Approx 1 L fullcream milk

half a cup of frozen chopped spinach

half a cup fresh basil (optional)

250 gms penne pasta

To make:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir over medium heat until lightly golden but not deepn in colour. You know you are ready to add the milk when the flour smells like biscuits 🙂

Add milk (preferably warm) one cup at a time. Whisking really well. Lower heat and add more milk , little by little until desired consistency is achieved. You might not use all the milk, or you might need more.

Season well with salt. Add spinach and cook through.

Add basil (you can whiz up with some olive oil for a richer dish). Add to sauce.

Cook penne pasta and stir through the sauce.

Enjoy with a generous sprinkle of good quality parmesan cheese.

Tips:

  • Whisk, whisk, whisk! Otherwise your sauce will be really lumpy.
  • Remember the sauce thickens as it cools.
  • Store any exrtra sauce and freeze for a quick midweek dinner or weekend lunch. Just cook the pasta and mix through heated sauce.

Pasta with chicken and mushroom creamy/cheesy sauce!!

Had 30 mins to cook up tonight’s dinner… and that’s all that i needed.

Pasta fans take note!

This is what you will need:

One chicken breast fillet: sliced into strips or small cubes

One medium spring onion chopped

One small clove of garlic minced

White pepper and salt for seasoning

Basil, dill or any other green herb you like to add to your pasta.

Small handful each of mozarella and tasty cheese (more or less to taste)

1.5 cups full cream milk

Approx 1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 large mushrooms (optional)

Approx 4 tablespoons cream cheese spread (kraft) More or less to taste.

You can use whatever cheese you like (for eg a bit of parmesan would boost flavour)

You can omit the chicken and have mushroom only and vice versa. This also works great with white onion instead of spring onion, and avacodos (choose a ripe yet firm one) instead of mushrooms.

Method:

Sautee chicken in a bit of oil until lightly golden.

Add spring onions and stir for a minute.

Add milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Make sure chicken is cooked through.

Add cornstarch (1/2 tablespoon at a time), garlic and any dry herbs (if you are adding some).

Add cheese and mushrooms.

Taste sauce for seasoning and add cream cheese last. Gently simmer until sauce is thickened (keep in mind that once off the heat it will thicken a bit more)

I added some chopped fresh basil at the end and served with cooked pasta.

Tips:

  • Dissolve the cornstarch in a bit of milk before adding to the sauce. This will prevent the sauce from clumping.

Pumpkin and sage pasta sauce

I am not a huge pasta fan.. but my husband is. He has been nicely hinting at the fact that he hasnt eaten pasta in a while.. so pasta it was.

This recipe was a definite hit at home, and super easy to make!

For the pumpkin sauce you will need:

Approx 3 cups of finely chopped pumpkin (I used butternut)

One medium onion finely chopped

5- 6 ladels of chicken stock (I use home made but you can use water and some chicken stock powder if you dont have fresh)

One medium tomato (finely grated)

A few tablespoons of oil

OPTIONAL EXTRAS:

1/2 clove of garlic (minced)

Some dry sage

50-100 ml light cream

1 tsp tomato paste

ground white pepper

Method:

Saute onions until almost cooked. Saute pumpkin until it starts to cook from the outside.Add tomato puree, lower heat and add some stock. Add a bit at a time and reduce. Stir occasionally to ensure it doesnt burn. Once pumpkin is cooked season to taste.

You made add the extras and cook until sauce is smooth. Add the cream at the very end (30 seconds before removing from  heat).

Add your sauce to your favourite pasta. You may grate some parmesan cheese and decorate with fresh basil or sage if you have them handy.

While my husband enjoyed this, I had an asianstyle chicken and veg soup.. my idea of comfort food!