Beetroot Fettucini with King Prawns in Creamy Peccorino Sauce

Beetroot Fettucini with Prawns in Creamy Peccorino Sauce

Possibly my longest recipe title to date, and a very tasty one at that.

This dish is basically the result of getting inspired by the ever inspiring Anthony of Spiceblog. Whilst some cooks take simple homely recipes and tart them up into some kind of quasi-faux gourmet dish (ala Jamie Oliver), I tend to do the reverse. That is, find recipes that are original and inventive and then find a way to bring them down to my level :)

So while Anthony used grated fresh beetroot in his version, I substituted a can of beetroot slices in juice to get the dark purple colour that so often stained my fingers as a child. This was actually the main reason I made the dish, because I was hunting in the back of the pantry, came across the can of beetroot and thought a) what the hell is this doing here ? and b) what can I do with it ?

A quick check of the internet and it was go time. I had some nice ’00’ rated pasta flour and picked up some prawns and few fresh herbs, and it was all good to go.

So… Ingredients:

* Beetroot Slices (Or fresh if you’re not inclined to use anything that comes in a can)
* Pasta flour
* 2 Eggs
* King Prawns – Shelled, Deveined
* Cream
* White wine
* Cheese (Anthony used Gorgonzola, I substituted Peccorino)
* Basil
* Cracked Pepper
* Red Onion

The directions are pretty simple. If you like, you can go and look up some websites that tell you how to make fresh pasta, I won’t be offended… My procedure is pretty simple, so you may want some other options.

Basically take the pasta flour and make a mound out of it, make a hole in the middle and crack the eggs into it. Slowly work the eggs into the flour and when they’re completely worked in, add the beetroot. In my case, I blended the beetroot slices into a puree, which turned into a dark purple viscous concoction. Seeing as it has a lot of liquid in it, you won’t need any more water to get the dough to the right consistency. So at this point I started slowly adding the beetroot puree to my pasta dough, mixing it in slowly to take up all the flour. This was a pretty slow process as the puree was a lot wetter than I thought it would be, so I kept having to add flour to get it back to a nice firm springy level.


Once it feels right start kneading the ball to get some elasticity into the dough. Add more flour to the sticky patches as necessary. Then once you’re happy with how it feels, roll it out flat and work it through your pasta roller and cutter… No pasta maker I hear you say ?? Then just roll it as flat as you can with a rolling pin, or bottle, or vaguely cylindrical shaped object and then use a knife to slice strips off for fettucini.

And thats the pasta done.

For the sauce I fried the onion and garlic in olive oil until it was soft, then added white wine, let it reduce, added cream, let that reduce, added the prawns (which need no time at all to cook), added the peccorino, added the basil and some cracked pepper and let it all simmer away nicely for a few minutes.

Then cook the pasta (which also takes no time at all for fresh pasta) in salted water, plate it up, and cover with the sauce.

Then you can optionally fumble around for a few minutes trying to take a photo of it, and rave to your girlfriend/wife/significant other/pet at how well it turned out… as I did, or you can just eat it and let the creamy goodness work its magic.

Red is the new White

Chicken & Cherry Tomato Penne

This was a meal that Sharon made because I in a non-cooking mood. Yes it does happen sometimes, and she’s always there to step in and make something tasty for me. Malaysian style curry is her speciality, but she is a woman of many talents, and this simple pasta dish was just the thing for a quiet night in.

Cherry Tomato & Chicken Penne with Basil


* Chicken breast
* Cherry Tomatoes
* Red Wine
* Tomato Passata (is that a tautology ? I think passata is inherenty made from tomatos…)
* Basil
* Onion
* Penne
* Parmesan to serve

Directions are simple, slice the chicken into elegant strips, fry them in a little olive oil and some cracked pepper. Set aside when they’re almost done.

Then cook the onions, cherry tomatos, and whatever other vegetables you may decide to throw in. Reduce it down to a sauce, then beef it up with some redwine, basil, and the passata. Let it simmer for a while and reduce down further before adding the chicken back in.

Cook the penne until its just al dente and plate it up. Serve the chicken and sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little black pepper and parmesan to finish.

Total cooking time… me: 0 minutes ! Sharon: 10 – 15 minutes… Now who said fast food can’t be good…

Tasty Penne

Fettucini with Cherry Tomatos & Tuna

sharons-fettucini 001

Another pretty simple recipe. Sharon wanted to have a go at making pasta, so I did my best to impart the benefit of all my years of surfing the web and stealing other peoples recipes.

A simple set of directions would be:

Start with a mound of really fine flour ’00’ rated is good, add an egg, mix it in… add a bit of salt, mix that in… then gradually add water until you’ve got a nice firm ball of dough. Then roll it out… knead it for a while so it’s nice a soft and consistent… then put it through the pasta roller or roll it really flat with a rolling pin. Now you’re ready to turn it into whatever else you like. We put it through the cutter that comes with the pasta roller, and it made us nice fettucini strips.

So after about half an hour of “instruction” we had some nice freshly made fettucini.

Then we had to work out what we wanted to do with it… So this recipe was basically determined by what i like to call the refridgerator gamble ™ (actually thats the first time i’ve used that term, but it sounds catchy).

I opened the fridge, looked to see what could be used, what needed to be used, and what i wanted to use.

So what we found was:


* Cherry Tomatos
* Mushrooms
* Basil
* Garlic
* Red Wine (no this wasn’t in the fridge)
* Tomato Puree
* Tuna covered in Japanese Mayonaisse (left over from sushi).

The idea then was simple. Sautee all the ingredients together til there was a nice rich creamy sauce, boil the fettucini in a deep pan of water with oil and a little salt (fresh pasta cooks so quickly… probably only took about 3 – 5 minutes). Fold the fettucini into the sauce… Serve !

sharons-fettucini 004

I can’t say it’s the prettiest thing we’ve ever made… but it was tasty and healthy… and economical, and no animals were harmed during the making of this meal… unless you count fish as animals of course…

Fresh Artichoke Ravioli with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Fresh Artichoke Ravioli with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Feeling mildly adventurous, i decided to make some pumpkin flavoured/coloured pasta. So in thinking what i’d like to have with it i found some nice fresh artichokes. Then decided to use the artichoke in the dish, and fill the pumpkin pasta with
spinach and ricotta (as you do).

The sauce was then made up of left over pumpkin, cream, basil, white wine, and salt and pepper.
Basically the pumpkin sauce was made by boiling the pumpkin in salted water (although you could also roast it for a more intense flavour) until its pretty soft. Then pureed in a blender til it’s a thick gloopy consistency.

I then folded that pumpkin puree into the pasta to give it a pumpkiny flavour and colour, and used what was left in the sauce.

So that was simply adding the puree, cream, white wine, salt, pepper to a hot pan with a little butter. I’m not good with measurements because I generally cook by sight and taste… but say 100 ml of cream and 50ml of white wine.
Just reduce it down til the alcohol isn’t so strong from the wine, and til you get the consistency you’re after.
When it’s basically done you throw a little chopped parsley (flat leaf) or basil in, and then toss through the ravioli.

Stuffed and folded the ravioli, cooked them quickly… boiled the artichokes, then combined it all together. I was suprised it turned out pretty nice.

The artichokes were so tasty… must find an excuse to use them more often.

***updated with a few more details a year or so later… but hey, who’s counting :) ***

Home made pasta with Salmon & Spinach

Home made pasta with Salmon & Spinach

My first ever attempt at making my own pasta. I basically combined a bunch of different techniques i found on the web into my own style, and was really happy with how it turned out.

So for the pasta:

I happened upon some ‘0’ rated pasta flour by chance in Fresh Provision’s Mt Lawley while getting essentials… milk, bread, belgian chocolate etc. I thought to myself… it’s about time i try this homemade pasta caper out… and so the seeds were sewn.

Coming home, i did the perfunctory searches for “home made pasta” and came up with enough to whet my appetite, just enough rope to hang myself, and a few other catch phrases of less noteworthy quality.

So the pasta went basically like so:


200 g white flour
2 eggs

The quantites indicated are for four helpings. Pour the flour onto a flat cool work surface, preferably marble, into a mound shape a “fontana”. Make a deep dent in the top and break in the eggs. With your fingers or with a fork, gently mix in the eggs with the flour. When all the egg has been absorbed into the flour, knead the dough for 15/20 minutes until it is firm and tiny bubbles appear on the surface. Form a ball with the dough and flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. Using a rolling pin, start flattening the pasta out, then roll it out into a thin even sheet. Work slowly and rythmically.

In reality the dish served 2/3 people, probably because i didn’t roll it thin enough…. having only realised after I started making it that i didnt have a rolling pin. I ended up using a sturdy left over bottle of olive oil…which was actually quite good. I just made sure to keep adding flour to the wet patches, so it didn’t stick at all, and from a novices point of view, it looked pretty good.

I also didn’t have a pasta cutter or any other fancy type equipment, so when it was time to make some shapes i took my trusty Wusthof paring knife and sliced as thinly and evenly as i could into some fat fettucini/tagliatelle-ish strips. They looked pretty funky when they came out, the relative unevenness of my rolling and the little kinks in the slicing got accentuated after cooking into somewhat rustic (for want of a term Jamie Oliver would use to describe something crappy) looking patterns. It was however, rather satisfying that it turned out like actual pasta… it was also a lot fresher tasting, with much less starchy nastiness, and took about 1 minute to cook (!)

The rest of the dish was an afterthought to be honest.

I found some salmon that had to be used, and braised it in some white wine til it was just cooked on the outside.

In the meantime i made a simple roux and added to it some white wine, basil, rosemary, salt, pepper, and peccorino cheese.

Once the sauce was done, i poured it over the salmon, added the pasta, and then threw in the baby spinach on top… gave it just a minute to soften and then served it up.

So there you go. A simple meal in the finish, but very tasty. Bouyed by the relative success of this effort, i’ll definitely be giving it a shot again in the near future, with perhaps some more exotic variants and/or additions.

Let me know in the comments if you found this recipe vaguely interesting :)

Sadly, my skills as a photographer are not improving, but the food is still getting eaten…