“Real Spaghetti Carbonara” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”


Kirstin: This is apparently the real spaghetti carbonara by Antonio Carluccio.

Tom: I like it.

Kirstin: It’s good and simple. Perfect for a summer day. No cream, just yummy Italian ingredients. I went to Lina Stores to get the pecorino in Soho.

Tom: Miles, you might find it easier to twizzle your fork with the pasta against a spoon. Like this.

Miles: Spoons are for the weak, I tell you! For the weak!

“Real Spaghetti Carbonara” from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube”

“Shortcut Sausage Meatballs” from “Nigellissima”

I made a variation of this once before. We had arrived at our holiday let late on a Friday night after horrendous London traffic and a delayed ferry journey. I had intended to make our family’s stalwart Sausage Sauce, but I didn’t have the time or the patience. So I ended up taking the sausage out of the casings and making meatballs from them, which we had with pasta.

What I didn’t do that night, and what Nigella has ingeniously included here, is a very easy tomato sauce that you add to the sausages to finish it all off. Yum.

This is the perfect weeknight meal: it’s easy, it’s relatively quick and it’s delicious. It doesn’t require any special ingredients. In fact, she says in the introduction that you don’t necessarily need to use Italian sausages– even English would do. (I would stick with Italians, but that’s just because our amazing butcher, Dring’s, makes a fine specimen of one).

Would I make this again? Absolutely. In fact, I’ve already made it twice this month. Typing this up is making me ponder the possibility that tonight may be time number three.

Shortcut Sausage Meatballs from “Nigellissima”

450-500g Italian Sausages

2 x 15ml tablespoons Garlic Oil

4 fat or 6 spindly Spring Onions, finely sliced

1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

60ml White Wine or Vermouth

2 x 400g Chopped Tomatoes, plus water to rinse 1/2 can

2 Bay Leaves

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Chopped Fresh Parsley, to serve (optional)

Squeeze the sausage meat from the sausages and roll small cherry-tomato-size meatballs out of it, putting them onto a clingfilm-lined baking tray as you go. Your final tally should be around 40.

Heat the oil in a large, have-based pan or flameproof casserole and add the meatballs, frying them until golden; as they become firmer, nudge them up in the pan to make room for the rest, if you ca’t fit them all in at first.

When all the meatballs are in the pan and browned, add the spring onion and oregano and stir about gently.

Add the wine or vermouth and chopped tomatoes, then fill half of one of the empty cans with cold water and tip it into the other empty can, then into the pan. The can-to-can technique is just my way of making sure you will out as much of the tomato residue as possible.

Pop in the bay leaves and let the pan come to a fast simmer. Leave to cook like this, uncovered, for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meatballs are cooked through. Check the sauce for seasoning, adding some salt and pepper, if you like.

During this time you can cook whatever you fancy to go with the meatballs, whether it be pasta, rice, whatever.

Once the meatballs are ready, you can eat them immediately or let them stand, off the heat but still on the stove, for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up a bit on standing. Should your diners be other than children who baulk at green bits, sprinkle with parsley on serving.

“Shortcut Sausage Meatballs” from “Nigellissima”

“Roasted fillet of beef rolled in herbs and porcini and wrapped in prosciutto” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Georgia: I think that Jamie’s first books seem a lifetime ago. So much has happened in food and our lives. I’ve slightly moved on and forgotten some of those recipes, except for this one which we still do regularly. This recipe is low effort, high impact food. It looks great, especially when you cut it open in the middle and yet you can prepare it hours beforehand and have it all ready and it takes just half an hour to do.

Continue reading ““Roasted fillet of beef rolled in herbs and porcini and wrapped in prosciutto” from “The Return of the Naked Chef””

“Roasted fillet of beef rolled in herbs and porcini and wrapped in prosciutto” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Tagliatelle al Vino Bianco on Funghi” from “Two Greedy Italians”

Tom: So you made this pasta yourself then, with white wine?

Kirstin: Yup….oh no, sorry. I had to do a million other things today. So that promise of making you pasta is on hold again. But I will do it. Honest.

Tom: Oh don’t worry about it. Making your own pasta is over-rated. We did it when we were young.

Kirstin: But now we have a special thing for the Kitchen Aid to make it easier. So I really do want to do it. I just need a time machine to add more hours to the day.

Tom: Good point. We really should try it again. Anyway, this sauce was good!

Continue reading ““Tagliatelle al Vino Bianco on Funghi” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Tagliatelle al Vino Bianco on Funghi” from “Two Greedy Italians”

“Pasta al Limone E Basilico” from “Two Greedy Italians”

How’s your Italian coming along, having read this blog this month? I made– but maybe you’ve deduced this already– Pasta with Lemon and Basil.

Maureen: So this is spaghetti with lemon, basil and tomatoes. What do you think?

Nicholas (8): It’s too sour!

Andrew (11): The lemon masks the taste of the other things, I think.

Maureen: It’s possible I did the lemon all wrong. The recipe said to take an unwaxed lemon “cut into small segments,” which I took to mean to slice it into sections as thinly as possible, including the skin. But now that I’m thinking about it, it probably meant to cut off all of the skin and then slice the remaining lemon up, like Nigella does for her green beans, which I make all the time. Sorry about that. You don’t have to eat the lemon slices.

Continue reading ““Pasta al Limone E Basilico” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Pasta al Limone E Basilico” from “Two Greedy Italians”

“Frittata di Maccheroni” and “Zuppa di Aglio” from “Two Greedy Italians”

Or, for those of you loathe to take out your Italian-English dictionary, Leftover Pasta Omelette and Garlic Soup. (Frankly it sounds better in Italian.)

Maureen: Tonight is the night we’ve been waiting for: the night where I try to recreate the truly magical dish of a spaghetti omelette, like we had at Bocca di Lupo.

Tim: Yes, I’ve been looking forward to tonight.

Maureen: (Bringing it to the table) This has got to be one the craziest things I’ve made recently. But I can’t wait to try it. I can’t believe it actually worked!

Andrew (11, laughing): This is just… I don’t know.. I’m at a loss for words!

Nicholas (Now 8! Happy Birthday to him): This is SO delicious.

  Continue reading ““Frittata di Maccheroni” and “Zuppa di Aglio” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Frittata di Maccheroni” and “Zuppa di Aglio” from “Two Greedy Italians”

“Spaghetti all Crudaiola” from Two Greedy Italians

Tom: Hmmm….this is kind of like a salad. It’s really nice. It’s very fresh and feels very healthy.

Kirstin: Exactly my feelings too. It was super easy to make. I prepared all the vegetables beforehand and then tossed with the pasta. I like the crunchiness of the pepper with the pasta.

Tom: There’s raw garlic in this too, right?

Kirstin: Oh yes! Of course.

Tom: Well, I can see us eating this on Summer evenings in Italy.

Kirstin: Too right. I keep finding capers in the tomatoes. I don’t even like capers, but with tomatoes they taste just great.

Tom: Yes, I don’t normally like capers either. But they add salt in this recipe.

Kirstin: So I’ll be making this one again then. Salad and pasta in one bowl.

“Spaghetti all Crudaiola” from Two Greedy Italians

“Risotto con Pecorino, Olio e Aceto Balsamico” from “Two Greedy Italians”

Or, for the non-Italian speakers amoung you, Risotto with Pecorino, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.

Tim: Did they advise you to use 25-year-old balsamic vinegar, like we had at the Museo del Balsamico Tradizionale in Spilamberto in Italy?

Maureen: No, they didn’t. But if they had, I’ll be that would have transformed this dish. This balsamic is just some Belazu balsamic, which is way too sweet, now that we know what the really good stuff tastes like.

Tim: You’re right. This balsamic is not that good.

Maureen: Now that we know why balsamic is so expensive [Editor’s note: It takes years for the best balsamic to mature], we should make an effort to get the expensive stuff. It’s like my Grandma always said, “Buy the best you can afford.” So what do you think of the risotto?

Continue reading ““Risotto con Pecorino, Olio e Aceto Balsamico” from “Two Greedy Italians””

“Risotto con Pecorino, Olio e Aceto Balsamico” from “Two Greedy Italians”

Cookbook of the Month, May 2011, “Two Greedy Italians”

Maureen: Our next book will be “Two Greedy Italians,” starring Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo. A month of Italian food! What could be better?

Kirstin: After a month of eating cakes…

Maureen: We’re going to be so fat. Maybe the next book should be, “Drinking Water and Eating Ice: How to make it taste better.”

Kirstin: It’s the warm weather. It brings out our love of Italian food.

Maureen: We can be two greedy Italian food lovers. But it doesn’t have to be warm for me to feel that way.

Kirstin: Really? As the soon as the sun comes out, I’m all about Italian food. I’m really curious about this book; it’ll be interesting to see if it will be new things, or old things done really well. And we both have books by both of these guys separately. Are there any recipes you are already eyeing up?

Maureen: It has a recipe for spaghetti fritatta!  I’ve been looking for a recipe for that ever since we had a delicious version of it at Bocca di Lupo for Tim’s birthday last year. Hopefully there will be some new recipes in there for us too. It’ll be interesting to see because it’s both northern and southern Italian cooking. I tend to favour the north. Also, there’s a TV series on the BBC starting this week so we can see how to do things.

Kirstin: I’m hoping for some new proper Italian recipes; not Jamie doing Italian or Nigella doing Italian, it’s Italians doing Italian, which should be good. Have you fancied any other recipes?

Maureen: I like the look of the antipasto recipies and lots of small dish recipes. I’m definitely looking forward to cooking up some nice things to sit out back and eat in the sunshine, which we won’t be able to do now until August.

Kirstin: Ha ha! You’re probably right! Still, we can but dream…

Cookbook of the Month, May 2011, “Two Greedy Italians”

“Spaghetti Puttanesca” from “Leon 2”

Tom: We’ve been talking about the origins of the name of this sauce.

Kirstin: Yes, because that’s why I don’t cook it normally.

Tom: Why does the name put you off?

Kirstin: It’s all that whore business.

Tom: So, our googling has revealed an interesting new possibility.

Kirstin: Oh yes?

Tom: I mean, the usual theory that most cookbooks don’t want to mention is that the sauce gets its name from the fact that it smells like sex. But oh, no. Most books can’t possibly say that. So they use words like “pungent”, mention anchovies and generally wave their hands. Pah. Anyway, that’s a plausible theory. Also, there’s the idea that this is a dish that could be whipped up quickly between, er, clients. But it turns out that there’s another theory that even the Victorians would approve of!

Continue reading ““Spaghetti Puttanesca” from “Leon 2””

“Spaghetti Puttanesca” from “Leon 2”