Tag Archives: pasta

Spaghetti with zucchini, ricotta and chicken sausage

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Thanks to travelling, I had zucchini again. They can be found in Accra, but as those were imported and cost 17 cedi each (USD 3.45), they are just too expensive for me. This was an impromptu dinner, a cross between pasta con ricotta e salsiccia and spaghetti tossed with fried zucchini, garlic and cheese. A friend had chicken sausage, so we added that and hey presto, dinner!

Spaghetti with zucchini, ricotta and chicken sausage

300 gr spaghetti
2 tbs good olive oil
3-4 chicken sausages  (or other meaty sausage you like)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 zucchini, sliced into medallions  (not too thick)
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of chili flakes

to serve:
250 gr ricotta

Boil the pasta in salted water. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the sausages. I like to squeeze the meat out of the sausage casings, into bite-sized pieces. The chicken sausage was not very greasy so I added olive oil. Add chopped garlic. Once the sausage starts to be cooked through, add the sliced zucchini to the pan and continue to fry until they are cooked through. Add a little salt and pepper, and some chilli flakes. If you have some leftover wine, a splash would be nice.

Drain the pasta, keeping a little cooking water, then put it back in the pot off the heat. Spoon in ricotta, and stir through the zucchini and sausage. Add a little starchy pasta cooking water if it looks dry. Serve with grated pasta.

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And from Accra: the ex-Ghana Airways plane which is now a restaurant was painted white over the summer.

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Aiports, and pasta with radicchio and pancetta

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Airport shopping, Accra style. When you travel a lot, but do not have access to airport lounges, you tend have aiports you like and ones you try to avoid. Ones I like: Schiphol (poffertjes, good wifi, cheese, lots of seats) and Joburg (good wifi, interesting, food shopping, lots of seats) and ones more mediocre: Addis (chronically overcrowded,  but freshly coffee beans if you can find them among all the Chinese duty free – look for date stamp and gold foil packets), and CDG: fancy but meh. Most charging ports are broken. So we have been quite excited about the new terminal in Accra. The old terminal 2 was not bad, but this is much nicer. There is a chocolate shop, a shea butter shop, and a food court I have not tried yet as it is before security.

shea shop Kotoka

Anyway, back to food. We have a canteen at work, but I pack my own lunch. I love the bitterness of radicchio, and this came together very quickly while the pasta boiled.

Pasta with radicchio and pancetta

150 gr smoked pancetta (or bacon)
Half a head of radicchio, sliced and chopped
250-300 grammes of short dry pasta

to serve: grated parmesan or grana padano

Boil pasta in salted water until just al dente. In the meatime, fry the pancetta until beginning to crisp and then add the sliced radicchio to the frying pan. Toss with the pancetta until the radicchio wilts slightly.  When the pasta is done (I taste it – careful, it will be hot), then drain off the water and add the radicchio-pancetta mix to the pasta. Stir it through, and serve with some grated cheese.

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This was three servings. Here is the pasta the day after, just microwaved for lunch. Nice!

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A fire truck!  Hardly ever seen here. An ex-president lives in that compound, and there is roof building work there: they might have been using the ladder to help with that. Or there might of course actually have been a fire, but it was very calm there.

Making rotolo (stuffed pasta rolls)

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Back in Accra, and catching up with cooking and writing. As usual I came back with fresh food, this time some fresh pasta and ricotta. Fresh pumpkin and spinach I found here: it is so good to see more vegetables available in Accra. I’d seen rotolo mentioned in a Jamie Oliver article in the Guardian, then again in this blogpost which had a nicer recipe, I thought. It’s like a vertically rolled vegetable lasagna, really nice. Time to try it!

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Rotolo (stuffed pasta rolls)

500 gr pumpkin, boiled or steamed
250 gr ricotta
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
400 gr fresh baby spinach, washed drained and blanched

800 gr tinned tomatoes, chopped (I use kitchen scissors in the tin….)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

4 sheets fresh pasta 125 gr 20×40 cm – this one cooks in 15 min

Topping: 100 gr cheese of your choice, optional

There are various components to this: pasta sheets, topped with mashed pumpkin, with a dollop of steamed spinach mixed with ricotta. The pasta is rolled up, set vertically in a dish, with tomato sauce poured around the rolls, and baked. Cheese added last ten minutes. It’s not complicated but also not a quick dish to make, though I enjoyed making this.  Let’s see:

Pumpkin: steam, roast or boil it. Drain and cool a bit, and mash.

Tomato sauce: Chop onion and garlic,  fry gently in olive oil, tip in chopped tomato wirh salt and pepper, and let cook gently while you prep the rest.

Spinach: Blanched it quickly in the pumpkin cooking water. Drain, cool slightly  (so you can handle it). Squeeze out water (I used a kitchen towel) and roughly chop. Mix it with ricotta, nutmeg, thyme plus a pinch of salt.

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Lay out your pasta sheets, and slather on some mashed pumpkin. These pasta sheets were 15×20 min (for lasagna), a good size. Add a generous dollop of ricotta-spinach mixture in the middle of each, spread it across the middle parallell to the short  side. Roll up the sheets from the short end.  Cut each roll into three pieces  and set down in a baking dish. Pour tomato sauce into the gaps.

Cover in foil, bake 20 min at 180C. Then top with cheese and bake 10 min more, without foil.

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Before it went into oven… and as it came out, with slightly crispy pasta edges and melted cheese. Definitely something to make again.

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