Aubergine, Butternut Squash, Walnut and Spinach Pesto

Based on and inspired by this recipe. The perpetual spinach in the recipe is from the garden, I highly recommend planting some because it needs no care and attention and provides fresh greens whenever you want them.
20130603-185724.jpg
The sauce ingredients will make enough for at least eight portions, make enough pasta for this meal and freeze the rest of the sauce

Ingredients
2 small aubergines, stalks removed and cubed
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion in wedges
Handful of walnuts
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 big handful young spinach leaves, well washed – I used perpetual spinach from our garden
200ml water (approximately)
Dried Spaghetti

Method
Roast the butternut squash, onion and aubergine, with the oil for 45 minutes or until the squash is soft.
20130603-152111.jpg
Blend until smooth with the garlic, spinach and walnuts. Add water as necessary to help the blender, you want a smooth sauce that isn’t too wet. Don’t expect beauty!

Cook your pasta and toss it in a little of the pesto.

My husband found the spinach a little too strong, so reduce it if you feel the same. Personally I liked it…

Advertisements

Simple Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce

A simple sauce for pasta. Not exactly quick but taking very little active cooking.
20130527-131631.jpg
Ingredients
To serve 2-3
2 red peppers
1 medium onion
4 medium tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Big handful of pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil to garnish

Method
Preheat oven to 180c.
Cut the tomatoes in half, the peppers in little chunks and the onion in strips. Finely grate the garlic and toss all this in the olive oil.
Put everything on a baking tray, making sure the tomatoes all lie skin side up.
Roast for about 30 minutes, turning the peppers and onions every now and again, until the tomato skins have risen and blackened.
20130527-131624.jpg
While they are cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until browned on both sides. (This also be a good time to cook your pasta.)
Remove vegetables from the oven and take the tomato skins off – they should come easily.
For a chunky sauce you can transfer everything to a bowl and mash the tomatoes up a little. For a smooth sauce, use a blender.
Mix with your drained pasta and serve topped with pine nuts, black pepper and chopped basil.

You can freeze left over sauce for pasta or pizza.

Top tip: if you’re using frozen pasta sauce for pizza then allow it to defrost in a bowl. You should get some liquid and a more solid bit- pour off the liquid to thicken the sauce. If you’re having pasta then stir it in.

Ravioli with Aubergine and Aduki Beans, with a Balsamic Chutney

This is a bit of extra work but it looks lovely on the plate.
20130413-183256.jpg
Homemade Pasta Dough
To serve four with a substantial filling
Ingredients
400g flour
100g water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt

Method
Mix and knead, rest for an hour and use as you wish.

Roasted Aubergine and Aduki Bean Filling

1 aubergine, cubed- if you’re a loony like me then a smoked aubergine is wonderful!
200g aduki beans, soaked overnight, simmered for 45 minutes and drained, or one tin
2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus a splash
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 clove of garlic, grated on a microplane
1/2 stick of celery, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
6 cherry tomatoes

Method
Make the pasta dough first and let it rest.
Preheat the oven to 200c.
Toss the cubed aubergine, celery, garlic, herbs, tomatoes and the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast in the oven until fully cooked. The aubergine should have absorbed oil and be very soft and silky.
20130413-182854.jpg
Mash the mixture with the beans.
You should end up with a fairly thick paste.

Make the ravioli
Divide the dough and the filling into four each, roll out one dough ball at a time and cut out large circles using the top of a large glass (or big cookie cutter if you’re fancy!). Dividing it up in this way makes it easier to distribute the filling equally.

I get about 12 per quarter, or 48 in total.
20130413-183045.jpg
Put a small blob of filling on each and fold it over, sealing the edges with a little water.
20130413-183128.jpg
These can rest a while- boil them for three minutes when you are ready to eat. Dress with a little chutney, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and fresh basil.

Balsamic Onion Chutney

Ingredients
1/2 onion, sliced
100ml balsamic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoon olive oil

Method
Cook the onion in the olive oil, over a low heat with the lid on for about fifteen minutes. They will caramelise and soften. Then pour in the balsamic vinegar, tomato paste and paprika. Reduce to a thick sauce, add a little water or white wine if you go too far.

Penne and Meatballs

Popular with the smalls.

Tomato Sauce
Ingredients
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Splash of olive oil, and one of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Method
Sauté onions and garlic in oil, add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and dried herbs. Simmer for half an hour and let it sit till you’re ready to eat. Then heat.

Add the fresh basil just before you serve.

This benefits from resting time.

Baked Meatballs
Ingredients
200g frozen soya mince
100g vital wheat gluten flour
1 tablespoon home made onion marmelade, or 1 tablespoon of onion finely chopped and fried in a little oil
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Method
Mix well, form balls, bake at 100c for 1 hour.
20130325-161138.jpg

Eat immediately or allow to cool and refrigerate to firm up. Then fry or heat in the sauce when you are ready to eat.

Serve sauce and meatballs with pasta.