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Posts Tagged ‘tomato’

Side dishes are often the most neglected part of a meal.  I have a few friends who sweat their way through the production of a main course and a dessert for dinner parties. Even the thought of doing more anything more elaborate than open a packet of mesclun salad greens (and upending into a bowl. Voila!); or steaming a bit of broccoli can bring on a spasm.

An interesting side dish is a useful thing because it can compensate for a simple (and easy) main, and turn a meal into something special.

This particular side is one that I whip up quite a lot and generally serve with simply prepared meat such as a roast. A friend commented once that Jamie Oliver does something similar. This wasn’t amended from anywhere intentionally.

I add chilli flakes to it. Not enough to drown out the freshness of the beans but enough to give it a wee kick. Much approval from Lulu who furtively gnaws on raw chillies with whatever you serve her.

Don’t get precious about quantities. You can do this to taste. If you are doing a roast, have everything prepared and start the beans at the point you remove the roast from the oven to rest. Then everything will arrive at the table at the same time all nice and hot.

Beans and tomato with a kick

Green beans and tomato with a kick. Served fairly al dente here. More delicious than it looks...

few handfuls of green beans, enough for 4 people or so
couple of ripe (riper the better) tomatoes, quartered
3-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2T olive oil
1/2t chilli flakes

Top and tail. Or just top the green beans depending on how damaged they are at the ends. Heat the oil in a wok (preferred) or large pan, then throw everything else in. Toss around a few times and saute on medium. When the tomatoes show a bit of a sign of breaking down, cover the wok and stir from time to time but keep the steam in. The tomatoes will go into a bit of a mushy paste around the beans.

It is ready when the beans are at the level of cookedness that YOU like. I like them slightly underdone. Tip into a bowl and serve. There is no real need to salt but you can add a pinch of sea salt at the beginning if you like.

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This is one of my staple “throw it together” pasta sauces. Generally whipped up when I have a crisis moment peering into the fridge and pantry. The recipe was inspired by one from the River Cafe but I tend to ignore things like the added cream etc which aren’t necessary.

I made this last night in order to take a meal to my friend Sue who has recently given birth to twins and is still in hospital. I have been absolutely appalled by the hospital food which all seems to look like boiled brown airline stew with overcooked peas on the side. No matter what it says on their menu.

It freezes very well so I will also be freezing her a couple of portions to reheat when she gets home from hospital.

The anchovies add richness and saltiness – but don’t give this sauce a fishy taste.

Tomato pasta sauce with rosemary and anchovies

3-4T olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2T finely chopped fresh rosemary
6-8 anchovies, if you use the salted ones rinse them first
3-4 450g tins of Italian whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan, plus extra to serve
salt to taste – optional, depending on how salty the anchovies are you may not require this

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. Gentle saute the garlic on low heat till softened but not turning brown and crispy. Add the rosemary and stir for a minute to infuse the flavour. Add the anchovies and stir them around until they are melted into the garlic mixture.

Tip in the tomatoes and roughly chop with a wooden spoon. Leave to simmer on low until the sauce thickens. Maybe 25-30 minutes. Add the half cup of parmesan. Serve with papardelle and extra parmesan.

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