Hosting for my in-laws at Christmas this year means there is a lot of thought going into a meal that will happen in 2 weeks time and I am frequently finding I have no idea what’s going to be on the table for dinner that night!
As the commitment levels increase through December, with all the shopping, shipping, writing and wrapping, dinner is beginning to be a bit of an afterthought, and for those who know me (or soon you will!). I love to eat a delicious dinner each day. So I’m all over cooking meals that are fuss free, fast AND fabulous, especially when it’s Friday and time to cash in some red wine tokens!!!
The other day, as I was dutifully checking things off my list and perusing the middle aisle in Aldi, (which can take a while at the moment!) my subconscious mind was saying, ‘but what’s for dinner? What’s for dinner?!’. I wondered if I could forage all the ingredients for a fuss free dinner from Aldi, rather than making an extra journey to the veg shop and butchers, as I usually would.
All ingredients foraged from Aldi
YES, was the answer! As pasta is fast, I decided to recreate a seasonal version of a Courgette Carbonara recipe we love, but to use Kalettes instead. But what are KALETTES, I hear you cry?!
A relatively new ingredient they are a cross between brussels and kale. These pretty green, almost flower like buds, sometimes called brukale, or petit posy, are bang in season and grown in Lincolnshire, so easy on the air miles. I’ve have noticed them in Lidl and Waitrose too.
This is a true fuss free meal and can go from fridge to fork in 20 mins; but if you want to make it fast and fuss free, then you could cook the bacon and prep the sauce ahead of time (steps 1 and 2). Then all you have to do when you get in is boil the pasta with the Kalettes steaming on top and dinner could be on the table in 10 mins!
Give it a try…..its a warm comforting hug on a December evening!
Fuss Free Food in under 20 mins
Serves 2 adults, double up for family size
1 bag of Kalettes
200g Tagliatelle pasta
125g (or about 6-7 rashers) Streaky smoked bacon
80g Creme Fraiche 40g Grated Parmesan
3 Egg yolks
Sprinkling of chilli flakes (optional)
1. Chop the bacon into small chunks and fry until crisp and golden. Set aside on kitchen towel to drain.
2. Prepare the sauce by separating the eggs into 2 bowls (keeping the whites for another time), then add the creme fraiche and parmesan to the egg yolks. Season with a twist of salt and couple of twists of black pepper. Set aside.
3. Cook the pasta according to the instructions (al dente) in boiling salted water.
4. Trim any tough bits off the stalks of the kalettes, but generally leave them whole; a few random leaves are fine. Steam over the pasta for 5 minutes, (using a bamboo or metal steamer) they are cooked when they are tender, not hard, be sure not to overcook as they will cook on after you take them off. Set aside.
5. Drain the pasta once cooked, but be sure to leave 2 tbsp of pasta cooking water in the bottom of the pan. This is going to help you make a silky sauce.
6. Put the drained pasta back into the pan. The next steps happens OFF the heat. The residual heat will cook the eggs and warm the bacon through.
7. Add the sauce to the pasta in the pan. Stir. Add the bacon and then kalettes. Stir gently. Then serve. Optional extras, extra sprinkling of parmesan/chilli.
FORGET THE FUSS….don’t let these things stop you having a go!!
- No tagliatelle? Use penne (better to try it with what you have rather than not try it at all!)
- No Creme fraiche? Use Greek yoghurt, normal yoghurt or cream
- No or not enough bacon? Slightly less (or more!) is not a deal breaker. Use what you have or use an extra slice if it means not leaving it to waste in the fridge. Pancetta is a great alternative too
- No steamer? When I’m on hols I stick a sieve on top of the saucepan and stick a lid on the top. Does the trick! I noticed metal steamers in Tiger today for £3!
- Forget to keep a bit of cooking liquor? Just add it from a boiled kettle