Free and easy

Flexible, quick-fix pastas. Use gluten-free or regular. Swap the shapes. The satisfaction is in the improvisation…

SHOP ALTERNATIVE PASTA

 

A wide range of gluten-free pasta is available from Holland & Barrett, hollandandbarrett.com. For more inspiration, check out Dell’Ugo chilled fresh penne and fusilli, dellugo.co.uk; I Sea Pasta (sea vegetables harvested in Ireland), seamorefood.com; konjac noodles and spaghetti, betterthanfoods.com; and dried courgetti nests by UniqueItalia, uniquefinefoods.co.uk.

Food: free and easy

Linguine with triple pesto, roasted nuts & onions

SERVES 4

 

Ingredients and method

 

FOR THE PESTO In a food processor whiz 30g each mint leaves, basil leaves and flat-leaf parsley leaves with 1 peeled garlic clove until finely chopped. Gradually pour 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil through the funnel with the motor running. Add 50g freshly grated parmesan and some seasoning, whiz briefly and set aside.

 

FOR THE NUTS & ONIONS Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6. Chop 50g brazil nuts quite finely and spread on a nonstick baking sheet. Peel 2 red onions, slice across thinly, separate into rings, toss with a little olive oil and spread on a second baking sheet. Roast the nuts on a lower shelf for 8-10 minutes until they are pale, even gold, then remove. At the same time roast the onions on the top shelf for 35 minutes, turning halfway. When done, stir through 1 tsp balsamic vinegar.

FOR THE PASTA Crumble 120g medium-mature goat’s cheese. Cook 400g gluten-free (or regular) spaghetti or linguine according to packet instructions. Drain in a colander, leaving it on the wet side, then return to the cooking pan. Add the pesto and toss. Fold through the cheese. Serve with the onions and nuts scattered over.

Food: free and easy

Tagliatelle with roasted asparagus

 

SERVES 4

 

Ingredients and method

FOR THE ASPARAGUS Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas 6½. Peel and finely chop 2 cloves garlic and prepare 1 tsp finely chopped medium-hot red chilli. Trim 400g thin asparagus and cut into 4cm pieces. Arrange the asparagus in a crowded layer in a large roasting dish, drizzle over 2 tbsp olive oil, season and toss to coat. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, then stir in the garlic and chilli and continue to roast for another 10 minutes until really soft and lightly coloured.

FOR THE PASTA Towards the time of eating, cook 300g gluten-free (or regular) tagliatelle until just tender, according to packet instructions. Reserving half a teacup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta in a colander, then tip it into the asparagus roasting pan. Drizzle over 2 tbsp lemon juice, scatter over 50g freshly grated parmesan and a little more seasoning. Add the cooking liquid, place the pan over a gentle heat and stir constantly until the pasta is coated in a creamy emulsion. Stir in 2 handfuls coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Food: free and easy

Skinny mac & cheese fry-ups

SERVES 4 AS AN APPETISER OR 2 AS A MAIN

Ingredients and method

FOR THE PASTA Cook 50g edamame or soy spaghetti (or your preferred thin pasta) according to packet instructions. Drain in a sieve, cool under the cold tap, shake off excess water, return to the cooking pan and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil.

FOR THE FRY-UPS In a large bowl, whisk 2 medium eggs with 1 peeled and crushed garlic clove and plenty of seasoning. Fold in 1 tbsp finely chopped spring onion and 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, followed by 15g freshly grated parmesan and 50g grated comté. Fold in the cooked pasta until combined and evenly coated. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. Drop rounded tablespoons of the pasta mixture into the pan, flattening them into fritters with a spatula. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden and crisped. Drain on a double layer of kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven. Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding a little oil as necessary.

TO SERVE Toss 150g finely spiralised courgette with 1½ tbsp. olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Fold in a generous handful of rocket and serve alongside the fry-ups.

Food: free and easy

Miso noodles with prawns, sea veg & Asian greens

 

SERVES 4

 

Ingredients and method

PRE -PREP As with many Asian dishes, this is all about a last-minute flurry of activity, so read the recipe through and have everything weighed out, prepped and at the ready.

FOR THE SEA VEG & PRAWNS Place 15g dried arame (or other sea vegetable) in a medium bowl, cover plentifully with cold water, leave to soak for 15 minutes, then drain. Rinse 200g raw shelled king prawns (tails on or off), pat dry and toss with 1 tsp each sesame oil and groundnut oil.

FOR THE GREENS & NOODLES Place 200g vermicelli rice noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for about 3 minutes (or according to packet instructions). At the same time, heat a large nonstick frying pan over a medium-high heat, and add 1 tsp each sesame oil and groundnut oil and 200g sliced choi sum or other Asian greens. Stir-fry for a minute then add 2 tsp teriyaki sauce and cook for a minute longer. Stir in 1 heaped tsp toasted sesame seeds and transfer to a bowl.

TO FINISH Return the frying pan to the heat, add the prawns and stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until pink and firm and to your liking. Squeeze over a little lemon juice. Place 4 heaped tsp miso paste in a measuring jug and gradually work in 400ml boiling water. Divide the rice noodles among four warm bowls and scatter the arame on top. Pour over the miso stock. Divide the prawns and greens among the bowls and drizzle over about 1 tsp chilli oil (ideally Japanese) per serving. Scatter with some spring onion sliced into strip.

Recipes Annie Bell

Photographs Chris Alack

Food Styling Clare Lewis

Styling Sue Radcliffe