On the menu – cooking from Jamie Cooks Italy

Friday

This is an adapted version of the minestrone in Jamie Cooks Italy, I know it doesn’t look much like minestrone does it? It’s adapted, in that the recipe is for 6-8 people, (which is annoying, how many people regularly cook for that many people in the home environment these days?), I quartered the ingredients and only stuck to one main veg (courgette) but anyway, the recipe has risotto rice in it and I think that quartering the ingredients threw the soupy-ness off, as the rice absorbed all the stock, so essentially I got slightly wetter than normal risotto but it was still rather nice. To me, risotto is the perfect thing to potter about to, when making it, you can’t stray too far from the stove but you can get on with your kitchen chores whilst keeping an eye on it and giving it a stir. This recipe is similar but less work, as you pour the stock in all at once, so it’s a good recipe for when the thought of making proper risotto is too knackering (and yes, as risotto is pretty easy that equals very knackered). It’s a good recipe too, for using up veg. The recipe does include, by the way, instructions for a basil-less pesto, which you’re meant to put on top, I was not going to attempt to quarter the ingredients for that, so I used pesto from a jar.

Wednesday

This is Nonna Teresa’s Pasta from the Jamie Cooks Italy book, it’s basically pasta with chilli and horseradish breadcrumbs. It’s meant to have either dried red peppers (there’s instructions on how to make them from jarred peppers in the book) or sun dried tomatoes, as well. I was convinced that I’d recently bought a jar of sun dried tomatoes but couldn’t find them (and I’ve only just remembered that I do definitely have sun dried tomatoes in the freezer, duh me) and I wasn’t organised enough to make the dried red peppers in advance, so I ended up using jarred peppers instead, which was fine.

Anyway, I wasn’t totally sure about this when I took my first mouthful but this dish grew on me, it’s nice and garlicky. I may make it again but I don’t think I’d bother with the horseradish again and with the dried red peppers or sun dried tomatoes or jarred peppers as I used, any of them or none of them or something else thrown in from the cupboard or fridge would be fine.

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