Chicken Pesto Penne

Pesto is a great option for flavouring pasta when you feel like something light, flavoursome and healthy. The main ingredient is basil so it’s good for using up excess basil leaves from the garden during summer. The best thing about it is that everything except the pasta is raw – so you get the full nutritional value of all those green leaves, chopped nuts and garlic. A generous amount of fresh parmesan cheese provides the salty flavour that really makes this dish work. I also like to add a bit of chicken for protein but it isn’t really needed. The recipe I’ve taken to using is very basic and rather traditional. The final flavour will ultimately depend on the quality of the ingredients you  use and the type of basil.

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Published in: on January 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Curried Pasta Salad

This is a very simple and easy to make pasta salad with a tangy light curry flavour. I just used what I had in the fridge, which was red capsicum, purple heirloom carrots, spring onions and corriander. You can use anything you want to give it a little freshness and crunch. Snow peas, celery and cherry tomatoes are all good.

To make dressing for 500g of pasta, combine:

  • 1/2 cup locally-sourced olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp good quality curry powder

Toss together with cold pasta and finely sliced vegetables. You may wish to double the quantity of dressing or halve the pasta for a stronger flavour. The flavours will improve the second day. Store covered in the fridge to prevent drying out.

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm  Comments (2)  
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Spicy Paprika Pasta

I came up with this pasta dish a while back, during a bit of experimentation, and I fell in love with it. It’s probably not as original as I would have liked to think, but it is a bit different to your typical red pasta sauce. It’s slightly creamy, with a hint of spiciness and the smoky flavours of paprika. The paprika is very mild so most of the spice comes from thin slices of hot pepperoni. I usually add chicken as well for the protein and texture; it doesn’t add much flavour-wise.

The vital ingredient however, is Dolmio Spicy Peppers pasta sauce. I’ve raved before about my love of this particular pasta sauce. It’s so versatile; it’s fantastic with a little cream in a pasta sauce, good in mexican food, and it’s even great for pizza bases. It’s not really cheating if you just use it as a base, right?

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Published in: on August 23, 2011 at 1:39 am  Comments (6)  
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Chicken Fettuccine Carbonara

Pasta alla carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish which is based on eggs, bacon, cheese and pepper. Traditional carbonara is often made with spaghetti, but in Australia it’s more common to find fettuccine being used. I like to add cream, chicken and mushrooms to give it a little more flavour, but bear in mind these are not authentic ingredients.

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Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm  Comments (4)  
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Tomato and Bacon Pasta Bake

This is pure comfort food – pasta, cheese, bacon and rich tomato. It’s incredibly quick and simple and great on a cold night. It also makes a good summer side dish served warm or cold with barbecued meat.

Mmmm I can feel my arteries clogging


  • 500g of pasta (I prefer curls, spirals or shells)
  • 1 can of condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 onions
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • a decent amount of bacon
  • cheese – something melty like cheddar or mozzerrella plus something  flavoursome like extra tasty cheddar or romano (or whatever)

Cook pasta in salted water til al dente or just prior.

Fry finely chopped onion and garlic with sliced bacon until bacon is cooked and onion is soft. Season with salt and pepper if you like. Pour in soup, milk and a handful or two of melty cheese. Mix through until cheese melts and it becomes a deliciously thick cheesey hot mess. Stir in pasta immediately after draining plus a little of the starchy water.

Pour it all into a baking dish and sprinkle with other cheese. Bake at around 180C for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned – if you can wait that long. It is delicious served with a vinaigrette salad to help your palate cut though the fat, but it is equally delicious alone or perhaps with bread. I believe this dish would also be good with the addition of chopped tomato, mushrooms, chicken or a sprinkling of italian herbs. It could also be made gluten free with the right pasta.

Published in: on May 3, 2011 at 1:37 am  Comments (2)  
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