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Spaghetti bolognese and variations of it are one of Mr Rigg’s favourite meals.  I’m not so keen on spaghetti bolognese as we know it in this country, made with minced beef – I would rather make a sauce of slow cooked meat.

So whilst trying to be a good girlfriend, last night I used some leftover minced pork to make tiny meatballs to sit on a bowl of pasta and served with lashings of homemade tomato sauce.

I say they were ‘made up’ meatballs, because I just added bits and pieces as I saw fit.  The ‘bits and pieces’ included breadcrumbs, fresh sage, grated Parmesan, an egg and seasoning of salt and pepper.  I mixed this all together and started to make my meatballs.

I made them quite tiny – like a large marble size – and popped them on a tray and into the fridge to firm up for a bit.

Next I fried them in a little oil to brown them – and set off the smoke alarm…which is a regular occurence in our house – our neighbours must think we are terrible cooks!

Then the final stage of cooking them was to pop them into the oven covered with foil whilst the pasta cooked. 

I popped the cooked meatballs on top of the pile of steaming pasta and then ladled over some of my homemade tomato sauce.  Topped with a little grated Parmesan and plenty of black pepper for me, they were scrumy.

It is asparagus season and I’m planning on eating as much of it as possible!

Last night we made a sort of carbonara with asparagus and streaky bacon.  I say ‘sort of’ because we aimed to use eggs…and then discovered we had none. 

Instead, dinner was salvaged by a combination of creme fraiche and tallegio cheese.  Together with oven baked asparagus and crisp shards of streaky bacon it was a match made in heaven.  The tallegio provided a wonderful silky texture which was like that of egg yolk.

Asparagus and streaky bacon spaghetti

Feeds 2

Bunch of fresh asparagus
3-4 rashers of streaky bacon
Spaghetti for 2
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Piece of tallegio cheese, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

Snap the woody ends of the asparagus – they will break naturally.  Pop them into an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil, scatter over some salt and pepper and if you’d like some lemon thyme leaves.  Put them in the oven for between 5 and 10 minutes – remove when tender.

Meanwhile, put the spaghetti on to cook in boiling salted water.

Snip the rashers of streaky bacon into small pieces and fry in a hot pan until crispy.

Once the asparagus is cooked, remove and slice into smaller pieces. 

Drain the spaghetti, mix in the creme fraiche and stir well.  Add in the asparagus and crispy bacon, followed by the cubes of tallegio.  Mix well and eat right away.

So last night we made a(nother) Jamie Oliver recipe – Salami and Fennel Linguine (Jamie calls it Spaghetti with Salami, Fennel and Tomatoes).  It was yummy, with the delicate flavours of the fennel coming through a hearty tomato sauce and fatty slithers of salami.  This is my tweaked version of Jamie’s.

Salami and Fennel Spaghetti

Feeds two

spaghetti or linguine for two
a couple of thick slices of salami (I used Milano salami and asked my deli to cut it into thick slices rather than thinly sliced)
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
small bulb of fennel, finely sliced
feathery fennel tops
1 tin of tomatoes (I used tinned cherry tomatoes)
pinch of dried chilli flakes
chunk of stale bread, whizzed into breadcrumbs
sprig of rosemary

Take your slices of salami and cut them into matchsticks. 

In a pan, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil and add the salami, sliced garlic and crushed fennel seeds.  Stir over a low heat until the fat starts to cook out of the salami and it starts to crisp ever so slightly.

Add the sliced fennel and stir – cook for a couple of minutes until soft.  Add the tinned tomatoes and a pinch of dried chilli.  Cook on a low heat for about 25 minutes until the sauce has thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat a pan of boiling salted water and cook your spaghetti or linguine.

In a small frying pan, heat a glug of olive oil and add the sprig of rosemary.  As the rosemary starts to sizzle and release its aromas into the oil, add the breadcrumbs and fry until golden and crispy.  Remove the rosemary sprig and discard.

Drain the pasta and toss it into your tomato sauce.  You can either stir through the crispy golden breadcrumbs and serve, or sprinkle them over the top of your pasta once plated up.  Top with a few green feathery fennel fronds.

*Taken from and slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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