Tag Archive: Italian

  1. Paul Foster’s Carbonara

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    A few words from Paul…

    “Carbonara is one of the dishes that epitomises Italy’s cuisine. It’s simple, beautiful, and pure, but so easy to mess up.

    When I was young my understanding of a carbonara was any pasta, sliced ham, mushrooms, double cream, and cheddar cheese. It wasn’t until 2002 when I was 20 years old and picked up a copy of Heston Blumenthal’s Family Food and read his recipe. Whilst it wasn’t 100% authentic it changed the way I thought about this dish, and I wanted to find out more. I fell in love with the technique of creating the rich sauce through the egg, cheese and pasta water. There is skill and discipline in getting it just right. Too much heat and it’s scrambled egg, not enough and it’s thin and raw tasting without the gloss.

    The classic recipe calls for guanciale which is a cured pig cheek bacon that has a high ratio of fat. I get mine from Salt Pig Curing who are my favourite English charcutier company. Guanciale is hard to get hold of in this country so don’t guilt yourself if you have to use pancetta just get the best you can afford, and you will still produce a lovely dish.

    This dish will be quite tricky for novices, but stick at it as practice makes perfect. For professionals, you will notice a little difference in this dish. Whilst I have full respect for the original, this method is slightly tweaked to get a better sauce.

    I had read into this method and was inspired by visit my visit to Lucciano Cucina in Rome. Chef Luciano Monosilio is known as the carbonara king which is a very worthy title in my opinion. He uses the same ingredients apart from switching out some of the pecorino for grana padano, I agree that this gives a better flavour balance.

    The key difference is that instead of making a paste of the cheese and egg yolk he makes almost a hollandaise style sauce using the egg yolks and cheese then whisks in them and guanciale fat. It was without doubt the best carbonara I have ever eaten I was so inspired by this I have done a similar technique below. This gives a more of a custardy kind of feel to the sauce. I will never make it another way now.”

    We don’t know about you, but Paul Foster’s Carbonara is now our ONLY Carbonara!

    Serves: 4 (primi portion)
    Medium skill

    Ingredients for Paul Foster’s Carbonara

    • 280g dried spaghetti
    • 5 eggs
    • 30g Pecorino Romano (to finish)
    • 30g Grana Padano
    • 200g Guanciale
    • Black pepper


    Cooking Method for Paul Foster’s Carbonara

    1. Trim the dry exterior off the guanciale, cut into thick lardons around 2cm in width, and then spread them out evenly in a cool dry Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 24cm Frying Pan and heat slowly.
    2. Colour all over and remove from the heat, strain off the fat and keep warm so it doesn’t solidify.
    3. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.
    4. Whilst the pasta is cooking, put the egg yolks into a large bowl with a spoon of the pasta water. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk to a light fluffy sabayon.
    5. Finely grate the cheese and whisk it into to the yolks.
    6. Remove from the heat when the egg yolks are light, airy and leave a whisk trail when you lift it.
    7. Season with a twist of black pepper and slowly whisk in the warm guanciale fat.
    8. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauce, toss well and add the guanciale. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    9. Twist the pasta in a ladle with large tweezers and spoon into a warm bowl.
    10. Evenly spread out the guanciale and finish the dish with grated pecorino and a twist of black pepper.
  2. Spaghetti and Meatballs

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    This weekend the England Rugby squad take on Italy in their next match of the Six Nations Rugby tournament. We’ve created this Italian inspired recipe to enjoy while watching the game. To catch up on the previous recipes in this series check out our Côte de boeuf with herb butter which was created for their match against France and our Welsh Rarebit for their match against Wales last week, which if I might say was very exciting!

    This healthy but also quite hearty meal is perfect for everyone in the family. It’s a great way of getting children who don’t like eating vegetables to eat them as there are so many ‘hidden’ in this recipe. My daughter wouldn’t touch it if she knew what was really in it; she thinks it’s just tomatoes! We’ve used De Cecco spaghetti for this recipe which we love and you can find at most supermarkets in the UK.

    Image of Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe - ProWare's Family Favourites

    The 26cm Copper Base Sauté pan was just the right size pan for making the sauce, with it’s deep sides it kept everything in and when left to simmer reduced down perfectly.

    Written by Fiona

    Serves: 5

    Prep time: 15 minutes

    Cooking time: 45 minutes


    For the sauce:

    • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or substitute other oil
    • 2 onions, chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
    • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
    • 1-2 yellow or red peppers, chopped
    • 300g of baby plum tomatoes, halved
    • 700ml of chicken or vegetable stock
    • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stock
    • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
    • Salt and pepper for seasoning

    For the meatballs:

    • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
    • 1kg of beef mince
    • 300g brown bread crumbs (use a food processor to make these from brown bread)
    • 2 eggs
    • Half a beef stock cube
    • 400g spaghetti
    • Parmesan cheese, grated


    Cooking Method

    1. Heat the coconut oil in the sauté pan over a medium-low heat until it is decently hot (a few minutes). Add onions and cook until they are nearly translucent.
    2. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and slowly soften for 10 minutes.
    3. Add the peppers, baby plum tomatoes, stock, rosemary, thyme, turmeric and then season with salt and pepper.
    4. Cook the sauce for 20 minutes.
    5. While the sauce is cooking make the meatballs by mixing the beef with the breadcrumbs, eggs, and the crumbled half stock cube.
    6. Make meatballs to your desired size. We made ours around the size of a golf ball.
    7. Heat the rapeseed oil in the frying pan until decently hot and then brown the meatballs, add them to the sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
    8. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of fresh thyme.
  3. Roasted Vegetable Orzo Pasta

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    This Roasted Vegetable Orzo is one of my favourite dishes. Like this Fresh Tomato Pasta I have made it so many times it’s second nature now. What I love about it is all you have to do is prep the vegetables and leave them to bake in the oven, make the lemon garlic dressing, then boil the Orzo and mix everything together. I’ve made this recipe for a large crowd before which proved really easy due to the lack of hands on time and had many compliments. Orzo, if you’re not familiar with it, looks like rice in appearance but is really a form of short cut pasta and can be found at most supermarkets. It’s very versatile and great in pasta salads too.

    Image of ProWare's Roasted vegetable orzo prep

    We’ve been having some lovely weather this autumn. Luna, one of ProWare’s pooches, has been making the best of it soaking in the sunshine while I’ve been able to snap some photos outside using the fabulous light.

    Image of ProWare's Roasted vegetable orzo in roasting trays

    If you want to make this recipe vegan, omit the feta cheese and perhaps add in a handful or two of sliced olives. I often replace the feta in recipes with olives, especially when I have my vegan friends around for dinner. Olives have a very similar taste to feta due to the saltiness of them.  The garlic lemon dressing in this recipe really amplifies the flavours of the vegetables and brings a light citrus flavour to the pasta.


    Written by Corin

    Serves: 8 

    Prep time: 10 minutes

    Cooking time: 40 minutes 


    For the roasted vegetables

    • 1 medium aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes
    • 3 red, yellow or orange peppers, quartered
    • 4 shallots, quartered
    • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt and pepper

    For the Orzo

    • 400g Orzo
    • 400g Feta cheese, crumbled
    • 10-15g fresh basil, chopped
    • 10-15g fresh parsley, chopped
    • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

    For the garlic lemon dressing

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 garlic cloves pressed or finely chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon and more to taste
    • Generous pinch of chilli flakes
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste


    Cooking Method

    1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
    2. Arrange the aubergine, peppers and shallots between the two roasting trays, drizzle over 3 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
    3. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring them after 20 minutes and then adding the halved tomatoes to each tray then add a little bit more olive oil and seasoning. Return to oven to roast for the remaining 20 minutes. At this point bring water to boil in a large saucepan and add Orzo with about 5 minutes left on roasting time, stirring immediately to avoid sticking. Cook according to package instructions.
    4. Check and remove the vegetables from the oven when they are cooked and the tomatoes are tender and slightly wrinkled.
    5. Dry toast the pine nuts in a mini pan or other small saucepan/frying pan until slightly browned, remove from heat and set to one side.
    6. Once the orzo is cooked, strain water through a fine sieve or colander. Now place the orzo into your large bowl, adding the garlic lemon dressing mixing well. Next add the roasted vegetables, Feta cheese, pine nuts then lastly the fresh herbs. Mix well and check the seasonings. Add more salt/pepper and red chilli flakes if desired. Serve straight away.
  4. Chorizo Pasta

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    My 5-year-old must ask for this meal 2-3 times a week. I do try and vary mealtimes a little more than that, but his demands are met at least fortnightly, if not weekly!

    Image of Chorizo Pasta - ProWare's Family Favourites

    The recipe is so quick and easy to make, it is packed with the good stuff and is perfect for making the night before when I know we’re going to be back late from an after school club (usually football in our house!) – 10 minutes heating up while the pasta cooks and voila!

    Written by Rachel

    Kids in the Kitchen

    Chorizo – A challenge for little fingers, get your kids to try and peel the skin off the chorizo. This isn’t necessary though will make the chorizo more tender having removed it but may be fun for them to try and also may keep them entertained for a while.

    Pasta – Get out the scale and measure how much pasta you need. If each person typically eats 100 grams pasta and there are 4 of you altogether, how many grams is that in total! If they are into this you can have a more fun with the scale by weighing 10 or 20 pieces of pasta and work out how many pieces will feed one person and so on.

    Image of ProWare's Chorizo Pasta - Family Favourites

    Serves:  4
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cooking time: 20-25 minutes


    • 1 chorizo ring, sliced
    • 1 white onion, chopped
    • 1 red onion, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
    • 1 orange pepper, roughly chopped
    • A handful of mushrooms, chopped in quarters
    • 1 small tin sweetcorn, drained
    • 1 large jar passata (approx. 680g)
    • 400g pasta to serve
    • Parmesan to serve, grated


    Cooking Method

    1. Gently fry the sliced chorizo in the sauté pan over a medium heat. There is plenty of oil in the sausage so no need to add any extra.
    2. Whilst this cooks, chop the onions, peppers and mushrooms.
    3. When the chorizo has started to brown (5-10 minutes), drain about half of the oil from the pan and throw in the chopped vegetables. Fry for about 5 minutes.
    4. If you are going to eat immediately turn on the pasta at this point.
    5. Once the vegetables have softened, add in the jar of passata and the drained sweetcorn. Cook for a further 10 minutes to allow the flavours to fuse.
    6. Drain the pasta and serve topped with Chorizo pasta sauce and a dusting of grated Parmesan.
  5. Baked Salmon with Spinach and Basil Pesto Pasta

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    Have you ever tried making your own pesto? It’s so simple, quick to make, fresh and you can substitute so many of the ingredients to suit what you have in your cupboards. Below are the various versions I have made finally settling on the Spinach and Basil Pesto.

    Spinach and Basil Pesto ingredients

    Baked Salmon with Spinach and Basil Pesto Pasta in food processor

    Pesto Versions:

    Curly kale, hempseed, garlic, lemon and flax oil pesto (with and without adding a cup of basil) – This yielded nice results. Use the same amount of hempseeds as you would Pine nuts and 3-4 cups Kale. The hempseeds can be hard to find in UK supermarkets, but are very good for you and packed with protein. So if you’re interested in trying this, finding them online or at a health store is probably your best bet. Flax oil brings a lovely nutty flavour to pestos, but make sure not to heat any left over pesto made with flax oil because it should not be heated, however it will be ok if added to warm pasta.

    Cavolo nero kale, hempseed, garlic, lemon and flax oil pesto (with and without adding a cup of basil) – I found this type of kale quite bitter, which was refreshing, but not my favourite of all the different types I tried. Make sure to remove the centre rib of this kale before adding it to the food processor.

    Curly kale, Pine nuts, garlic, lemon and olive oil pesto – I found the pine nuts yielded a smoother pesto than the ones made with hemp-seeds as they seemed to break down more in the food processor.

    Spinach, walnut, garlic, lemon and olive oil pesto – Tasty, not much different to the full recipe below.

    Baked spaghetti squash with homemade pesto – This was absolutely delicious and a fabulous alternative to traditional spaghetti if you are going gluten free. A friend of mine brought a spaghetti squash over, we baked this in the oven (how to bake spaghetti squash) and mixed in some pesto. Since then I’ve looked everywhere in order to recreate it but can’t find them anymore, hence why this version didn’t make the final cut. Do keep your eye out for this squash next autumn though because they are a very tasty, low-carb alternative to spaghetti.

    Pesto Pasta Cooked and Ready to eat

    In the below recipe, I’ve used whole wheat organic pasta, wild salmon and limited the amount of Parmesan to a light sprinkling before serving in order to make this healthier.

    salmon ready to bake

    I’ve also added spinach to the pesto which ups the usual vegetable content of pesto.

    Written by Corin

    Baked Salmon with Spinach and Basil Pesto Pasta ready to eat

    Baked Salmon with Spinach & Basil Pesto Pasta

    Serves:  4 (Makes approx 1 cup of Pesto)

    Prep time: 10 minutes

    Cooking time: 15-20 minutes



    • 2 cups spinach
    • 2 cups basil
    • 1 large garlic clove (or 2 small)
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup Pine nuts
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
    • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1-2 tablespoons of water
    • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
    • 400g whole wheat pasta
    • 4 salmon fillets (preferably wild)
    • Salt and pepper for seasoning

    Cooking Method – Pesto

    1. Peel the garlic and blitz it in the food processor until finely chopped.
    2. Add the spinach, basil, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and chilli flakes (if using). Blitz again a few times, then gradually start to add the olive oil. After it is slightly mixed, open the food processor and use the spatula to scrape down the edges of the bowl.
    3. Continue to blitz the mixture until it is smooth. If you would like a more creamy pesto add 1-2 tablespoons of water and blitz until the desired smoothness is achieved.

    Cooking Method – Salmon and Pasta

    1. Preheat oven to 200°C and bring a medium to large saucepan with water on to boil.
    2. Put the salmon fillets on a foil lined baking dish or on a tray, skin side down. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Season lightly with salt and pepper then spread a heaped tablespoon of pesto onto the top of each fillet. Reserve the remaining pesto on one side for the pasta.
    3. Transfer the salmon to the oven and bake for approximately 10-15 minutes.  Salmon can cook quite quickly depending on its thickness, so keep an eye on it as it is done when it is easily flaked. At the same time, start your pasta in the boiling water and cook according to instructions on packaging.
    4. Strain the pasta when it has reached desirable tenderness and mix in the remaining pesto. Serve the pasta in pasta bowls or plates.
    5. Remove the salmon from the oven when ready and place on top of the pasta to serve. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

    I’m linking this recipe to:

    Pasta Please (Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes and Ren Behan) and Extra Veg (Helen at Fuss Free Flavours)

  6. Fresh Tomato Pasta


    This dish is a regular in our house since my father-in-law made it for my husband and me a few years ago. It’s based on a recipe from the Silver Spoon Pasta cookbook, if you haven’t heard of the Silver Spoon cookbook this review of their pasta book is worth a read. For this recipe I’ve increased the amount of tomatoes and pasta, because the tomatoes are my favourite part and we tend to eat larger portions of pasta than the original recipe calls for. We also added the Parmesan and Pecorino.

    ProWare's Fresh Tomato Pasta - prep photo

    Here is the tomato mixture ready to be covered and left to sit for 20 minutes.  This helps intensify the flavour in the tomatoes as well as infusing them with garlic.

    ProWare's Fresh Tomato Pasta - chopped tomatoes mixed with garlic and basil

    I usually serve this pasta dish with meat balls, but it is great on its own too!

    ProWare's Fresh Tomato Pasta plated and ready to eat

    Written by Corin

    Kids in the Kitchen

    Herbs – The basil leaves need tearing or slicing, so get those little fingers to work. Get them to count out the 10 needed and tear them into the bowl for the tomatoes.

    Tomatoes – One for the older children as slicing tomatoes can be tricky without a sharp knife. I find sometimes using a serrated knife can do the job really well so let them try this and make sure to supervise too.

    Grating – Grating, especially hard cheeses like the ones in this recipe are a great way to get kids of all ages involved. If you have a multiple sided grater, let the child choose what side they use or if you have a rotary grater too this can be a lot of fun and great for fine motor skills too!

    Serves: 4
    Prep time: 5 minutes (plus 20 minute wait time)
    Cooking time: 10-12 minutes


    • 600g Plum, cherry or any smaller tomatoes
    •  1-1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
    •  Freshly ground pepper
    •  2 cloves garlic, peeled and squashed using the side of a knife
    •  10 basil leaves, torn or sliced
    •  4 tablespoons olive oil
    •  400g linguine or choice of pasta
    •  80g of Parmesan or suitable vegetarian substitute, grated (Reserve 10g for serving)**
    •  70g of Pecorino, grated**


    Cooking Method

    1.  Slice the tomatoes into quarters by slicing from where the stem attaches to the bottom. Place in a bowl with garlic and basil, and stir in the sea salt, ground pepper and olive oil. Cover with a plate and leave to sit for 20-25 minutes, stirring once throughout the process.
    2. Cook the linguine in the sauce pan to desired tenderness. Strain the pasta through a sieve and return the pasta to the sauce pan, however the sauce pan does not need to be returned to heat.
    3. Add the cheese to the sauce pan and stir well until melted. Remove the garlic pieces from the tomato mixture then add the tomatoes to the pasta and stir well.  Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan and enjoy.

    *Make it vegetarian – find suitable vegetarian alternative cheese to grate into and over the pasta. Serve without meatballs.

    **Make it vegan – omit all cheese and add 5-10 grams nutritional yeast. Serve without meatballs.