Chorizo, Tomato and Olive Pasta

Today, I found one of those packs of marinated green olives and manchego cheese in the reduced section of the shop. I decided to base my meal around it (because I couldn’t think what to make tonight!) and came up with the idea of a Spanish flavoured pasta dish.

The flavours are punchy and bright; just what you need on a miserable, cold, November day. It has the added benefit of being ready in 15 minutes, meaning it can warm you up almost as soon as you walk through the door.

You could also use a normal jar of green olives if you can’t find any of the marinated ones in the bargain bin of your local shop.

This will serve 4.

Chorizo, Tomato and Olive Pasta

400g fresh penne pasta

125g chorizo

220g cherry tomatoes

150g marinated green olives and manchego cheese

1 small glass red wine

Large handful chopped parsley

1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water, then drain.

2. Dice the chorizo s finely as you can and cook in a large saute pan over a medium heat and cook until golden and crisp.

3. Prick a small hole in each of the cherry tomatoes with a knife and add to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes until they are starting to soften, then crush each one gently wih your wooden spoon.

4. Add the olives to the pan (leave the manchego cheese to one side for now) then tip in the red wine. Allow to boil down, then add 150ml water.

5. Stir in the cooked pasta, chopped parsley and manchego cheese. Enjoy!

Gnudi with Tomato and Black Olive Sauce

I watched Jamie Oliver do a recipe for Gnudi on his Comfort Food series; before this I’d never heard of it before and I liked what I saw – it sounded delicious and so we’ve tried it as soon as possible.

Gnudi are essentially balls of ricotta which have been covered in semolina – the semolina dries out the ricotta to form a crust around the outside, which then makes the balls strong enough to withstand cooking in boiling water.

They’re a little tricky to make – you have to leave them for a long time, so I made mine last night ready to cook this evening, and they are quite delicate so you must be careful when cooking them. But you will be rewarded; they are scrummy!

Jamie served his Gnudi with a sage butter, which sounds gorgeous, but I decided to inject a bit of 5-a-day into mine and tried to make it a little healthier for a mid-week meal. Serve with crusty bread on the side, and enjoy!

This will serve 4, and takes 15 minutes each evening plus the time in the fridge.

Gnudi with Tomato and Black Olive Sauce

For the Gnudi:

1kg ricotta

50g grated parmesan

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Approx 150g semolina

For the sauce:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

180g jar of pitted black olives

6 anchovy fillets

1 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

1 small handful basil

1. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg well.

2. Take a tray and cover with a layer of the semolina. With your hands, form the ricotta into small balls about 1.5 inches wide, roll in a plate of semolina and place on the tray. Sprinkle over more semolina when you have finished; you want to make sure each ball has been covered well. Place in the fridge overnight.

3. To make the sauce, chop the onion and place in a saute pan with the olive oil. Cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the anchovy fillets and olives. Crush the olives with your wooden spoon, and continue cooking until the anchovy fillets have almost disintegrated.

4. Tip in the tomatoes, simmer for 5 minutes, then season and stir in the chopped basil.

5. To cook the gnudi, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Gently place the gnudi in the water (it is best to cook them in small batches) and boil for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

6. Layer gnudi in each person’s bowl and pour over the sauce. Bellissimo!