Fresh Pasta Dough Recipe

You will need 100g pasta flour plus 1 egg per person.  The quantities below serve 2 as a main course, and 4 as a starter.


200g 00 pasta flour (or strong bread flour)
2 eggs
Semolina flour flour for dusting

  1. Place the flour in a food processor with the egg and whizz until it resembles cous cous.
  2. Tip out the dough and form into a rough ball shape.  Knead briskly for about 1 minute, reform into a ball, wrap in cling film and rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before using (but not longer than 3 hours).
  3. Cut the dough into 2 pieces.  Dust your work surface with semolina flour, then flatten each piece of dough slightly ready to put through a pasta machine.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter (Nick Nairn: Cook School)

(Extracted from: Nick Nairn: Cook School)
butternut squash ravioli
Ingredients (for 4)

1 x recipe pasta dough
1 medium butternut squash
1 whole red chilli, halved and deseeded
3 whole garlic cloves, skin on
3 tablesp. olive oil
1 teasp. chopped fresh thyme
25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
Semolina flour for dusting
For the Sage Butter:
150g unsalted butter
Approx. 20 fresh sage leaves
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper

  1.  Preheat the oven to 200 deg.C or Gas Mk 6.  Using a large cook’s knife, cut the butternut squash in half lengthways.  Scoop out and discard the seeds, then peel the squash and cut the flesh into 2cm dice.  Place in a roasting tin, add the halved chilli and whole garlic cloves, pour over the oil and season well.  Toss to coat, then roast in the oven for about 30 mins, or until soft and starting to caramelise.  Take out of the oven, pop the garlic cloves out of their skins and mash the whole lot together with a fork or potato masher.  Beat in the thyme and Parmesan and allow to cool.
  2. Now unwrap the pasta dough and cut into two pieces. Work with one piece, rewrapping the other half.  Using a pasta machine, put the pasta through the machine at least twice on each setting, stopping at 2 (but including 2).
  3. Lay the length of pasta on a work surface dusted with semolina.  Using a round cutter (around 10cm) cut circles along the length of the pasta, put scant teaspoons of butternut squash filling in the middle of each round.  Dampen the edges with a little water on a pastry brush and fold over to create a semi-circle, pressing in and around the mound to exclude air as you do so.  Lay in a single layer on a clean tea towel until ready to cook – no longer than 2 hours or they turn soggy.  Repeat the process with the second ball of dough.
  4. At this point, you can freeze the ravioli in rigid plastic boxe(s) trying not to overlap the ravioli and placing parchment paper in between the layers and keep in the freezer until needed.  Otherwise, place a pan of salted water on to boil ready to cook the pasta.  Drop the ravioli into the boiling water to cook until they rise to the surface. (The ravioli can be cooked this way from frozen).
  5. For the sage butter, melt the butter in a small pan and heat gently.  Add the sage, turn up the heat and cook the butter until it turns palest brown and the sage leaves start to crisp.  Do not over brown or burn the butter or sage.  Remove from the heat and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the sage butter over the cooked ravioli and serve with either grated Parmesan or shavings of Parmesan on the top.

What to do with left over salad? MAKE A SAUTEED SALAD PASTA!

I hate throwing food away – don’t you?  It’s criminal when there are so many others who are starving or survive on so much less.

I love morphing leftovers into a delicious meal.  Unless I own up to the fact, my friends and family seem none the wiser!

Just recently, I made some lunch for myself and Charlie  – a simple salad of lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and red onions that I had refrained from dressing until the last minute (otherwise the salad tends to “cook” in the dressing if left too long) to be had with some ham or some such other meat or cheese as I might have found in the fridge.  As it happens, Charlie decided he had to dash off somewhere and didn’t have time for lunch.  The salad was covered with clingfilm and put away in the fridge for later use.

We then went away for the weekend (I had forgotten all about the salad) and when we returned, I opened the fridge to discover the salad still sitting there – none the worse for its 3 day dormant habitat.  We needed a quick supper and so I decided to to cook the salad to dress up some penne!  Here is the recipe:

To serve 2:
Penne or other pasta – enough for 2.
Left over salad of:
Lettuce (in this case Romaine but any lettuce is fine)
Sliced tomatoes (at least two)
Sliced red onions (1)
Sliced Peppers (1)
Chopped Chilli (1/2 to 1)
Chopped (or crushed) garlic (1)
Fresh Thyme Leaves  (approx 3-4 sprigs) (I had some in the fridge but 1/2 teasp. dried will substitute)
Copious amount of extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper

1.  Get water on the boil for the pasta.
2.  Start by dropping a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy based pan or fry pan and under a medium heat start to fry off the chilli and garlic till soft.
3.  When the water in the pan is boiling drop in the pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
4.  Once the chilli and garlic look soft, drop in the salad (minus the lettuce – you will need to pick this out beforehand).
5.  Continue to cook over a low to medium heat until the tomatoes start to break down and the peppers soften.  Add more olive oil if you think it needs it.
6.  After about 5-7 mins, add the lettuce and continue to cook until the lettuce is wilted (a minute or two).  At this point take off the heat and keep covered if the pasta isn’t quite ready.
7.  When the pasta is cooked to “al dente”, drain and tip into the pan with the cooked salad.  Toss around, adding a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
8.  Serve immediately in warmed bowls, topped with some freshly grated parmesan.

Super Quick, Flavoursome Crab & Chilli Spaghetti (or Linguine)

I’m a strong opponent of ready meals.  They may seem an attractive option after a long day at work but they’re loaded with any number of additives, preservatives and chemical enhancers; they usually contain high levels of salt and sugar, and will undoubtedly work out more expensive per head, than a home cooked meal made from scratch.

Crab & Chilli Spaghetti is one of my favourite, inexpensive, “quick fix” meals, using store cupboard ingredients, which can be knocked up in just over 10 minutes. The following recipe serves 2:


225g/8oz dried linguine
15ml-1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
170g/6oz tin white crab meat
juice of 1/2 lemon and about 3 tablesp. extra virgin olive oil to serve

1. Place the spaghetti or linguine into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until soft, but with a slight bite (al dente).

2. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan or skillet, add the garlic, chilli, parsley and crab meat and cook gently for a couple of minutes.

3. Stir in the lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.

4. Drain the pasta and stir through the chilli crab sauce. Serve immediately.

So quick, no excuse to reach in the fridge for that ready meal!