Last night’s dinner was a summer pasta using leftovers – leftovers which happened to be packed with loads of good stuff – making this a super nutritious meal aswell as being very tasty too!
Butternut Squash contains tonnes of vitamin A which is great to keep the immune system on good form aswell as protecting cells with its antioxidant properties. The courgette is low in calories and a good source of potassium which is great for keeping blood pressure nice and regular. Basil is also great and is a wonderful source of Vitamin K which keeps our blood system working properly and keeps our bones healthy. Finally the ricotta is a great protein source also containing calcium and omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids helping prevent cancer and aiding body health.
2 servings Pappardelle
1/4 Butternut Squash – diced
1 Courgette – sliced
3 Cloves Garlic – minced
Salt & Pepper
4 tbsp Ricotta
12 Basil leaves – roughly chopped
Zest of One Lemon
Pop the pasta into some boiling water and cook as per instructions- once ready, drain and leave to one side, reserving the pasta water.
Now make the basil oil. Mix together the torn or chopped basil leaves with two minced garlic clove, lemon zest, salt, pepper and olive oil – leave to one side to infuse.
For the main dish lightly fry the squash with the remaining garlic until softened. Add some black pepper for taste. Once the squash is cooked, add the fresh courgette for 2 minutes – its needs to soften slightly but not cook through. Finally add the pappardelle and mix together. If the mixture looks dry add some reserved pasta water to loosen. Take off the heat and stir in the ricotta – it doesn’t need to fully mix through, i find the little clumps of ricotta lovely and fresh with the pasta.
Drizzle over the basil oil at the table and serve alongside a fresh salad – i made lemon cavolo nero and tomatoes with fried garlic oil. Simply massage lemon juice and salt into chopped cavolo nero, add the tomatoes. Slice 3 cloves of garlic and fry in olive oil until crisp – drizzle this over the salad and mix together.
New Year’s Day dinner this year was Ottolenghi inspired. Chicken Sofrito with Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad and Roasted Tahini Squash. I did lots of research for Sofrito and found that each region makes it differently and Sofrito axtually refers more to the cooking method – the meat is lightly fried in a little oil and is then left to cook slowly in a pan on the hob, in steam created from its own juices.
I used Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book as my inspiration for this meal but made a few changes – firstly I have kept the chicken whole for cooking, and, as im on a new year’s detox I ommitted any salt and sugar from the recipe. Elix announced she couldn’t tell as there is so much flavour from the marinade!
This meal was hearty and healthy – a perfect way to start 2017.
1.4kg Organic Whole Chicken
1 onion – quartered
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
a tiny drizzle of agave nectar (or 1/4 tsp sugar)
1tbsp Grapeseed Oil
6 Garlic Cloves
2 medium sized potatoes – peeled and diced
Fry the chicken, whole in a large pan so that it turns light, golden brown on the outside. Whilst this is frying, mix together the paprika, lemon juice, turmeric and agave. Remove the chicken and brush all over with the spice mix. Pop back into the pan with the lid on and leave to cook for an hour. If the bottom of the pan becomes dry, just add a little water.
After an hour, remove the chicken from the pan. In an oven dish, pour the chicken sauce with the onion, garlic and diced potatoes and place the chicken on top. Pop into the oven at 180 degs for 30 minutes, this will given enough time for the potatoes to cook, the chicken skin the crisp up and the sauce to infuse with the garlic and onion and become your gravy! Serve the chicken simply, carved for the table to share with the gravy and potatoes on the side.
I served my chicken with a couple of sides which were super easy and healthy.
Roasted Squash with Tahini – Half and slice a butternut squash and roast in the oven, scattered with ground cumin and drizzled with olive oil for 40minutes. Serve with 50g roasted pinenuts and drizzle with a dressing made of 4tbsp tahini, 2tbsp lemon juice and a grated garlic clove. To serve sprinkle 1tsp of za’atar on top.
Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad – chop half a cauliflower into tiny florets and roast for 30minutes. For the last 10 minutes add 30g hazelnuts to roast. In a sepearate salad bowl, slice one stick of celery diagonally and mix with a handful of parsley leaves and a handful of pomegranite seeds. Make a dressing of 1/2 tsp ground cinammon, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, 1tbsp Cider Vinegar and 1tsp agave nectar (or maple syrup). To serve, add the cauliflower and hazelnuts to the salad and mix the dressing.
Another Jamie Oliver Superfood recipe that i’m sharing because it was easy and delicious!
The squash is a healthy carbohydrate and a good source of magnesium, vitamin C and anti-oxidents. Both the squash and the seeds are a good source of fibre and the spinach is packed with vitamins and minerals helping with heart and bone health.
Slice the squash into crescent shapes, sprinkle with ground coriander and drizzle with olive oil and pop into the oven to roast for 45minutes. Keep the skin on, it softens whilst cooking.
Make the tomato sauce by lightly frying the garlic and chilli in a little oil for a couple of minutes and add the tomatoes and vinegar – add some water and simmer until the sauce is thickened. Season to taste.
Now construct the lasagne :
On the bottom goes the tomato sauce, cover with a layer of spinach leaves and then top with the squash. Sprinkle with a little parmesan and then top with the lasagne sheets. Repeat for 3 layers.
Whisk the cottage cheese and the milk together and spread this over the top of the lasagne with any remaining parmesan and sprinkle the seeds to finish for some crunch.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or so until browned on top and cooked through.
This would go well with a green salad or any green veg (we had green beans and broccoli).