Sweet & spicy sun-dried tomato, basil & Parmesan sauce. I find I get better results from the grain packets that have been jazzed up a little bit, rather than the plain naked ones.
20g dried porcini mushrooms
2 x 250g packets of mixed cooked grains, ideally with punchy flavour
2 large free-range eggs
100g baby spinach
2 fresh red chillies
50-75g stale breadcrumbs
450g dried spaghetti
1 clove of garlic
1 bunch of fresh basil (30g)
20g Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
100g sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1. Cover the porcini with boiling water, leave for 5 minutes, then drain, reserving the soaking water. Place the grains in a food processor with the porcini mushrooms, eggs, spinach and one of the chillies. Finely grate in the lemon zest, then add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and whiz until sticky. Pulse in the breadcrumbs – packets of grains will vary, so use your common sense, adding just enough to bring the mixture together. With wet hands, roll into 30 little balls. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil into a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat, then add the balls and fry for 10 minutes, or until golden all over, turning with care – you may need to work in batches (keep warm, covered with tinfoil, if needed).
2. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving a mugful of starchy cooking water. Meanwhile, give the food processor a quick rinse, then peel and drop in the garlic, pick in most of the basil leaves, finely grate in the Parmesan and add the sun-dried tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of oil from the jar. Add the remaining chilli (deseed if you like), then whiz to a paste. Pulse in the reserved porcini soaking water, then toss with the drained pasta, adding a splash of reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Fold through the porcini balls and finish with the reserved basil leaves, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a fine grating of Parmesan.
3. Serve with a lemony green salad for added crunch and zing. It’s a winner!
TO MAKE VEGETARIAN Swap Parmesan for vegetarian hard cheese.
NUTRITION PER SERVING 628 kcal; 19.4g fat (3.8g saturated); 23g protein; 92.2g carbs; 6.1g sugars; 1.6g salt; 8.4g fibre
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