Monday, 8 August 2016

Stuffed Fiorelli Pasta + Spinach with sauce of parsley, nutmeg and vermouth

This dish can be prepped and served in 15 minutes. It does cheat with ready-made stuffed pasta and sauce granules, but the finished dish is, I think, a real pleaser and great value too. The quantities given serve two, and various substitutions are easily made.

Ready, steady ...

I've used Waitrose goats' cheese & caramelised onion fiorelli (at time of writing £3, or 2 packs for £4), but also good would be Sainsbury's or Asda's cheese or mushroom tortelloni (about £1.50). I like Bisto vegetarian parsley sauce granules (just add boiling water), and the vermouth is a basic brand. Spinach is from the garden, and is optional here. Some black pepper was ground over the pasta to serve, just before the sauce was added, but then I've a thing about black pepper and it isn't a must-do, so it's not in the ingredients list.

I served also small side salads made from just halved baby plum tomatoes, rocket and sliced red onion. These can be knocked up while water is boiling for pasta and sauce, or just before starting pasta preps.

Ingredients
handful of fresh spinach leaves (optional), any thick spines removed 
4 tbsp parsley sauce granules
1 tsp finely grated nutmeg
2 tbsp dry vermouth
1 pack stuffed fiorelli pasta (to serve 2)
two small sprigs of parsley or basil (again, optional)

Method
Warm two pasta bowls or coupe dishes.
 
1  Put plenty of water in a medium pan and set to boil.
2  Meanwhile, shred the spinach (if using) and put in a small pan with a few drops of 
         water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3-4 mins.
3  Bring a kettle to boil with about 300ml water.
4  Put the parsley sauce granules and nutmeg in a small measuring jug and fill to 
         200ml with boiling water from the kettle. Stir well until it starts to thicken, then
         stir in the vermouth.
5  Put the pasta in the medium pan of boiling water, turn down the heat and simmer 
         for 3 mins.  
6  Meanwhile, lift the spinach with a slotted spoon and drain, then spread over the
         bases of the bowls. Lift and drain the pasta in the same way and spread in
         the bowls. 
7  Pour the sauce over the pasta, and top each dish with a herb sprig.


Yes, it's a fairly frenetic 15 minutes, but this is because the spinach, pasta and sauce should all be ready at the same time and each is very quick to cook!

Variations
As above, any filled pasta would work, and instead of spinach a few cooked peas could be scattered among the pasta. 

Packet sauces would be fine too, and Bisto does drums of plain white sauce granules which, like the parsley version (but not the cheese version) is suitable for vegetarians. The white sauce could be flavoured with grated vegetarian cheese or snipped soft herbs.

Dry sherry could take the place of the vermouth, and instead of a herb sprig to garnish, snipped coriander or parsley leaves could be sprinkled over the whole dish. 

This blog is not usually price-conscious, but the above recipe really is economical! Unless you serve it with a posh Italian red wine, that is.

 

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