Rigatoni with fresh broad beans and seasonal vegetables


‘a fresh pasta dish using broad beans, asparagus and seasonal vegetables.  It also makes an excellent pasta salad’

You willl need:

300g rigatoni
1 onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh mixed herbs
a pinch of dried mixed herbs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
150g fresh broad beans
12 asparagus
75g mushrooms
75g fresh spinach leaves
2 kale leaves, steamed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup yoghurt
Salt and pepper
a pinch of stevia
Pecorino cheese to serve

Prepare the vegetables by peeling the broad beans and keep aside.

Steam the asparagus and roughly tear up the spinach leaves.

Chop the fresh herbs finely and keep aside.

In a large pan saute the onion on low heat in a tablespoon of olive oil

Cook on gentle heat and add the dried herbs.  Slice the mushrooms and cook with the onions on gentle heat.

Use a hand blender to mix the yoghurt, mascarpone.  Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of stevia. Blend to a smooth paste.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.  Drain the pasta and keep aside a cup of pasta water.

Add the pasta to the pan with the onions and mushrooms.  Stir and add 4 tablespoons of the pasta water.  After 2 minutes add the blended mix of yoghurt and mascarpone.  Stir into the pasta on gentle heat and if the mixture is too thick, add some more pasta water, a little at a time.  Add the spinach leaves, half the asparagus, half the broad beans and half the fresh herbs.  Cook for another few minutes then remove from the heat.  Mix in the rest of the raw spinach and gently mix in.  Place the pasta on a serving dish and then arrange the remaining vegetables and steamed kale leaves on top of the pasta and garnish with the rest of the fresh herbs and spinach.  Season with salt and pepper again and serve with grated pecorino cheese.

Trade Enquiries:
Olio Costa D’Oro Olive OIl by J Calleja Ltd

I use fresh vegetables and herbs by Big Fresh Mosta

Pasta Aglio Olio with Vegetable Noodles

40. a Vegetable Spaghetti LGFE (Daniel Balzan)

Aglio Oglio with broad beans and vegetable noodles, tableware C&H Bartoli, photo Daniel Balzan

‘this pasta dish includes spiralized carrot and courgette noodles and is topped with fresh broad beans, ah so good’

You will need:
250g linguine
125g courgettes
125g carrots
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
A pinch of dried chili
Mint to garnish

Prepare a pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the oil,garlic and chili flakes in a large pan over low heat and cook gently for around 3 minutes. Add the parsley and mint to the pan and turn off the heat.

Use a spiralizer to make spaghetti with the carrots and courgettes. Drain the pasta and reserve one cup of the cooking liquid. When the oil mixture has cooled down add half a cup of pasta cooking water and reduce over medium heat by half. Add the pasta and stir. Add more pasta water a little at a time for the sauce to thicken until the consistency is how you prefer it. Add the carrot and courgette spaghetti and mix in with the pasta and sauce. Immediately remove from the heat and serve.

Tip: To use up any leftovers beat the remaining pasta with some eggs to make an omelette.

I use linguine by Pasta Rummo, vegetables by Big Fresh, spices and dried herbs by Schwarts, fresh potted herbs by Callus Garden Centre, and a spiralizer by Tescoma

Lemon Ricotta Linguine with Lamb’s Lettuce

22. Quick Lemon Ricotta Linguine LGFE (Illumina Media)

Linguine with ricotta, lambs lettuce and lemon [This photo was taken during a live tv show by Illumina Media]

‘This is a perfect light pasta dish for the summer prepared in the same amount of time it takes to cook the pasta’

500g linguine
salt for pasta water

For the sauce:
1 cup reserved pasta water
150g lambs lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
200g ricotta
75g parmesan
Lemon Pepper to season
To Serve: Freshly grated parmesan

Follow the instructions on the packet to cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water.

Reserve a cup of the pasta water when you drain the pasta.

Place the ricotta, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, half the pasta water and parmesan in a container. Add some lemon pepper. Use a hand blender to combine all the ingredients together until it forms a smooth paste.

Heat the rest of the olive oil on medium heat in a large flat saucepan. Add the blended ricotta mix. Add the linguine and stir gently then the pasta water little by little until the consistency of the sauce is creamy and coats the pasta. Add the lambs lettuce and garnish with more parmesan, lemon pepper and lemon segments. Serve immediately.

‘Lea’s tip: the starch contained in the pasta water produces a thick creamy consistency when added to the sauce without the addition of cream or butter. Omit adding salt to the sauce as the saltiness from the pasta water is usually sufficient.’

I use linguine by Pasta Rummo, ricotta by Zappala, lemon pepper by Schwartz, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh and parmesan and other cheeses by Experia the Deli.

A quick plate of pasta


A quick plate of pasta, photo CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

Preparing meals does not have to be complicated and making the most of fresh local produce enables us to cook quick meals in a few simple steps. Many of us enjoy the process of cooking in a relaxed way and pasta is the one dish that reminds me of being in my grandmother’s kitchen perched on a…

Source: A quick plate of pasta The Sunday Times of Malta

‘I use Pasta Rummo, only the best when it comes to pasta :)’

Pasta e Ceci

Pasta e ceci 8

Used a mix of fresh and dried chickpeas.  To add texture and heighten the flavor I cook half of the fresh chickpeas and add more during the last 5 minutes of cooking time and of course raw chickpeas are added to top the dish just before serving.  Tableware: C&H Bartoli

This dish is made with ordinary ingredients found in nearly every Mediterranean kitchen.

The fresh chickpeas [ciccri tal-qatta] are in season right now, a very short season. I use a mix of fresh and dried chickpeas and when fresh chickpeas are not in season, this pasta is just as delicious with dried chickpeas.

Pasta e ceci 1

Fresh chickpeas are sold in large bundles.  You need patience and time to shell them but it is worth it.

Use approximately equal amounts of fresh and dried chickpeas.

Cook the dried chickpeas in plenty of water.  If you have not soaked them, add 1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda once the water starts to boil, then lower the heat and cook until they soften.

You will need:
500g pasta
200g fresh chickpeas
200g  chickpeas (cooked and drained)
4 large tomatoes, chopped
70g pancetta, chopped
2 anchovy fillets
natural no-additive stock cube
1 large onion finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, grated
150g canned chopped tomatoes
a handful of fresh mint leaves
a handful of parsley
olive oil
salt and pepper
freshly grated pecorino cheese to serve

Drizzle some olive oil into a heavy pan and gently cook the chopped garlic and onion on low heat. Add the pancetta and anchovies, cook for 5 minutes.  Add half the cooked chickpeas, then half the parsley and mint. Add the stock cube and 400ml water. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and top with more water just to cover the pasta. Stir and add the tinned tomatoes and half the fresh chickpeas.
When the pasta is nearly cooked add half of the rest of the chickpeas and keep some aside to garnish the dish.
pasta e ceci 9
Drizzle some olive oil. Garnish with fresh mint and parsley, some fresh chopped tomatoes and some fresh uncooked chickpeas.  Season with ground pepper and serve immediately with grated pecorino cheese.

Sheep’s Milk Ravioli Bake

fresh sheep's milk ravioli bake 1

A good and very quick alternative to lasagne is a ravioli bake.  I use fresh sheep’s milk ravioli from the Farmers Market [Photos: Illumina Media & Mad Promotions, Accessories by Cabouxon]

For the sauce you will need:
1 medium onion
1 close garlic
a few fresh basil leaves
a pinch of dried basil
1 Kallo Natural Stock Cube
1 glass red wine
1 tablespoon tomato puree
500g fresh very ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil


500g sheep’s milk ravioli
1 eggplant, cut into slices lengthways and cooked or 200g sliced ham
100 g grated cheddar cheese
2 peppered gbejna cheeses
salt and pepper
100 ml mascarpone mixed with 100 ml yoghurt

fresh sheeps milk ravioli bake recipe

Incredibly quick to make, a fresh meal prepared in minutes (plus the baking time of course!)

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Prepare the tomato sauce by placing the olive oil in a large pan on low heat. Add the onion, garlic, fresh tomatoes, wine, seasoning, fresh and dried basil and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, add the tomato puree and cook for another 5 minutes, uncovered so that it reduces and thickens.

Prepare an ovenproof dish with a non stick baking spray.

Start layering your ingredients but covering the bottom of the dish with either cooked eggplant or if you prefer slices of ham to prevent the ravioli from sticking to the bottom.

Then cover with a layer of uncooked ravioli.  Next cover with tomato sauce, sprinkle lightly with a mix of chedder and peppered gbejna cheese and start layering again with the ham, then the ravioli, the sauce, the cheese.  Spoon over the mixture of mascarpone and yoghurt.  Top again with a mix of the cheddar and peppered cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes.  Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes and garnish with extra basil before serving.

Conchiglie Caprese

pasta caprese

‘the salad that originated in Capri is a classic and my pasta bake has the same ingredients.  It is lightly baked and then before it is served topped with more of the same fresh ingredients’

conchiglie caprese recipe 0

You will need:

500g Conchiglie (pasta shells)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
200g chopped canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
a pinch of dried oregano
1/2 glass white wine
3 tablespoons grated mozzarella

Cook the pasta shells according to the instructions on the packet but reduce 2 minutes cooking time as the cooking process will carry on in the oven.

Prepare a simple tomato sauce by gently cooking the garlic in olive oil. Do not allow it to brown and add the canned tomatoes and carry on cooking on a gently heat. As soon as it reaches boiling point add the wine and reduce the heat. Stir and add the tomato puree and dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

Mix the sauce with the cooked pasta shells. Prepare a baking dish with baking spray.  Place the pasta and sauce in the dish and sprinkle the grated mozzarella on top.  Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest before adding the rest of the ingredients.

After baking and just before serving:
150g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, sliced
250g fresh boccone di mozzarella
A spoonful of fresh basil
a few arugula leaves, washed well and dried, chopped
a pinch of dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
a few drops good wine vinegar to drizzle

Scatter the rest of the ingredients on the surface and serve immediately.

Ingredients are available for home delivery

Baked all-in-one Macaroni Cheese

all in one macaroni cheese

All-in-one Macaroni Bake as seen on TV, Photo Ian Noel Pace

‘I love all-in-one recipes, be it cakes, soups or anything. Baked Macaroni here usually includes a bolognese type meat sauce and the dish is sometimes encased in pastry to make a kind of pasta pie.  My recipe here is based on American macaroni cheese without the hassle of making the usual bechamel sauce, simply all-in-one, bake and eat !’

You will need:

500g pasta, I use fusilli 3 color
a pinch of smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon grain mustard
1 tablespoon flour
a grating of fresh mustard
250g mascarpone
100ml water
1 egg
1 small onion, chopped and cooked
a grating of fresh nutmeg
fresh ground pepper and sea salt
150g hard goats cheese
150g grated parmegiano

Cook the pasta following the instructions on the packet.
In a large bowl mix all the other ingredients together except for the cheeses. Use a hand held blender to bring it to a smooth consistency. Add half the cheeses.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Fold the cheese mixture into the pasta.
Prepare a dishes or smaller dishes with a baking spray.
Fill the dish/s with the pasta mix.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Bake for 45 minutes in the oven or until the top is golden.
Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Casarecce with Turnip Leaves and Burrata

#Casarecche with Turnip Tops and Burrata Photo Ian Noel Pace

#Casarecche with Turnip Tops and Burrata
Photo Ian Noel Pace

I met Michele Palazzo last week and we spoke about traditional recipes of Puglia. He certainly inspired me to try out some new dishes and here is the first of many to come.

We do not use the leaves of turnips (kohl rabi) here. They are simply discarded or used to feed domestic rabbits. And out of these scraps we made a most delicious pasta.

You will need:

500g Pasta, traditionally in Puglia you would use Oriechette, I used Casareccge. I love the way they hold their shape when cooked
leaves of 2 kohlrabi stems removed
6 cloves garlic
1/2 onion finely chopped
6 fillets of anchovy
3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino
a pinch of chili flakes and if you do not like chili leave out or use sweet paprika
1 tablespoon fresh breadrumbs
4 pan roasted walnuts, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh burrata

Nearly ready, an inspiration from #Puglia Photo Ian Noel Pace

Nearly ready, an inspiration from #Puglia
Photo Ian Noel Pace

Cook the pasta following instructions on the packet.
For the sauce, saute the onion and minced garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil on low to moderate heat. Add the chopped up turnip tops and anchovies. Add half a glass of white wine and half a glass of water. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chili flakes or sweet paprika, stir and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Drain the pasta well. Add the sauce and stir gently until it is covers the pasta consistently. Serve and top with fresh breadcrumbs, grated pecorino cheese and walnuts and half a burratina per person.

Amazing flavors

I use Pasta Rummo, fresh vegetables by Big Fresh, spices by Schwartz, cheeses at Experia The Deli, olive oil by Costa D’Oro, nuts by Good Earth and of course Burrata by Murghella.