Tag Archives: pasta

Hangry-Five-Minute Pasta Sauce

I worked late yesterday. Which means by the time I left the office, I had missed yoga and was already deep into one of my scary “hangry” moods.

Actually, most of my bad moods are food-related (o_O”). When I was a little girl, if I was ever in a bad mood—which was often— my mom would ask, “Are you hungry?” This of course would make me even more mad and elicit a big, fat “NO!” reply from me—even if I she was right. (^_^#)

Anyway, lucky for me, I have all that home-made ravioli sitting in the freezer. And they take zip time to cook. So the only thing left to make then was a sauce and a salad to go with it.

The sauce I ended up making is one I saw Jamie Oliver make on his TV show Jamie at Home. It’s fast, requires minimal ingredients and still looks and taste better than anything store-bought.

Though this is a no-cook sauce, the acidity of the vinegar acts to break down the tomatoes and form a sauce; the addition of olives and olive oil at the same time balance the sharpness of the vinegar and tomatoes, giving the sauce a round, warm flavor.

Really yummy. And seriously good for all your hangry—and non-hangry—moments.


Hangry-Five-Minute Pasta Sauce (adapted from a recipe in Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef)

Serves 2.


1 medium tomato, seeds scraped out and flesh roughly chopped (Too lazy—didn’t do this.)

1/2 clove fresh garlic, very finely minced

8-10 kalamata olives, stones removed and flesh roughly chopped; plus 1 tbsp olive “juice”

1 tsp dried basil (fresh is always better—if you have it)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

a squeeze of fresh lemon or a little grated lemon zest

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients. Set aside, allowing flavors to combine and “marry”.
  2. Boil and cook your pasta. (I used my made-from-scratch ricotta-asiago ravioli, which took all of 3 minutes to cook.)
  3. Once pasta is cooked, turn off the stove and drain out the water from the pan. In the same warm pan, pour the sauce over the pasta. Toss until pasta is just coated.
  4. Plate and top with grated asiago or parmesan.

Pasta Project – Part I

If you want to be a foodblogger (I do! I do!) and if you consider yourself a true foodie (really, really want to be), there are a few things you should probably do (if you don’t already):

  • Check Tastespotting religiously
  • Look at food-porn (I swear, it’s totally innocent.)
  • Collect cookbooks with lots pictures
  • Rely on grams and kilos rather than silly teaspoons and cups
  • Bake your own bread
  • Make and prefer your own homemade muesli, pesto, salad dressing, pasta sauce, cheese, jams, etc.


  • Make your own pasta—plain and filled

Besides DIY pasta, that list is me to a tee.

Tastespotting is my source for learning about amazing blogs, up-and-coming bloggers and the latest foodblogger events (like Daring Bakers—maybe one day I’ll muster the courage to participate), not to mention it is also the ultimate source for outstanding food photography (i.e. food-porn).

As for cookbooks—they are one of my greatest joys, especially really fat ones with bright, colorful pictures that accompany every recipe (Jamie Oliver and Donna Hays’ are my current favorites).

And as for the final three:

  • I don’t trust the tsp-tbsp-cup system
  • If it weren’t for all the scary carbs which turn into sugar then fat, I’d always bake my own bread
  • And I get way too much pleasure out of making my own anything, especially jams and cheese (I once considered visiting a dairy, in order to get some free bacteria (i.e. rennet) to make my own mozzarella with. Actually, I still think about it…)

The final item on the list is pasta-making. I tried to make it once before. Disaster. I ended up with a big, watery mess of leaky ravioli that rotted within a few days.

This time around, I had Jamie Oliver’s help. His recipes, though not always the most authentic (every other recipe is some ‘bastardized’ version of something—his term, not mine), are easy to follow and result-wise, very dependable. Also, since my goal was to make pasta—and not gyoza—I felt pretty safe about relying on Mr. Naked Chef. (Actually, I’d say his Italian stuff is pretty spot on.)

So the recipe: starting with ingredients, Jesus, there are a lot of eggs in here—eight yolks and three whole eggs to be exact. This was fine by me; I really like the eggy-taste of fresh pasta—it’s what makes it taste, well, fresh….drr. I only made one change since I had no semolina; I used all strong flour instead (which Jamie said is fine).

As for prep, no issues to discuss, actually. I enjoyed the kneading bit the best; it always make me feel less gross and hungover after a night out (Fun & sangria this Sat. with L. in the Mission!!). Also, when Jamie says to let the dough rest, do it. I let mine rest for about an hour before taking it out of the fridge, quartering and letting it rest for another 10 minutes in saran-wrap and underneath a damp cloth. Another thing is be sure to keep the dough moist (i.e. don’t take too long rolling out; cover once rolled out); it dries out quickly.

For the filling, I went pretty traditional: whole-milk ricotta, two handfuls asiago, an egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

I am no Italian nonna, but my pasta turned out so pretty (^_^”) !! I ended up with about 40 good-sized ravioli (I used a cookie-mold to seal and cut), which I then portioned out into 10 single-servings (4 per sandwich baggy) and froze. I stuffed the remaining odd-pasta-bits into their own baggy and then also froze. One thought to add here: flour each ravioli well before refrigerating or freezing, in order to prevent sticking and sogginess.

This was the best Sunday project ever! And it’s only Part I. I can’t wait for Part II!!

AND—I have another BBQ to attend this Saturday. I wonder what I should bring? Not brownies—probably something that requires exactly nine egg whites \(^o^)/



Ricotta-Asiago Ravioli (from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef)

serves 4



250g/9oz strong flour

250g/9oz semolina flour (if unavailable, strong flour is fine)

3 large free-range eggs

8 egg yolks


400g/14oz whole-milk ricotta

1 egg yolk

2 handfuls grated asiago or parmesan cheese

1/4 nutmeg, grated

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place both flours on a clean surface. Make a well in the center, and add the eggs and yolks. With a fork, break up the eggs as you bring in the flour. Stir with the fork until you have a dough, which you can work with your hands.
  2. Knead the dough until you have a smooth, silky and elastic dough and a clean surface. Wrap the dough in clingflim and rest it in the fridge for a while.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and keep covered. Work with one section at a time. Then, flatten the section of dough with your hand and run it through the thickest setting on your machine. Fold in half and repeat this process several times, to give you perfect, textured pasta. Dust the sheet of pasta on both sides with flour before running it through the settings (ca. 4-5 times), dusting and moving the setting in each time until you have the desired thickness (ca. 1-2mm thick, depending on pasta type) and width (10cm/4in for ravioli). You can do this with a rolling pin, too. (I did; no problems.)
  4. Prepare the filling: With a fork, beat the ricotta, egg yolk and grated cheese together until light and creamy. Set aside.
  5. Fill and form the ravioli: (Work with one sheet a time; cover the rest with a damp cloth.) Lay your pasta sheet on a generously flour-dusted surface with a good heaped teaspoon of filling in the middle of the sheet at one end. Repeat this all the way along the pasta at 5cm/2in intervals.
  6. Using a clean pastry brush dipped in water, lightly, evenly and thoroughly brush the pasta around the piles of filling. This will stick the pasta together. Then, place a second, similar-sized sheet of pasta on top of the first.
  7. Working from one end of the pasta to the other, push the sheets together and around each mound of filling. Do this gently with the base of your palm, cupping and enclosing each filling in the pasta, making sure to extract all the air.
  8. Cut the ravioli to shape with a knife, crinkly-cutter or cookie-mold.
  9. Cook right away, refrigerate on a flour-dusted tray, or freeze.



Creamy Saffron and Basil Pasta

This recipe is the first for my blog. Though I can no longer remember where I found the recipe (I have a feeling it is a Swiss recipe from the Canton of Tessin), I believe the original used zucchini blossoms instead of basil.

More than just a simple cream sauce, this sauce is made unique through the additions of saffron and generous amounts of fresh basil. It’s rich and warming, yet at the same time aromatic and fresh. One of the first dishes I ever adapted, it remains one of my all time favorites to make!

Serves 4.


Creamy Saffron and Basil Pasta


1 cup water

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

olive oil, for frying

1-2 large handfuls basil, sliced chiffonade

a pinch of saffron

1 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper, to taste

16 oz pasta of your choice

grated parmesan cheese, to serve


1. Boil the water for the pasta.

2. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until lightly browned.

3. Pour in the water and allow to come to a simmer and reduce by one-third.

4. Add the basil and let cook down for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

5. Stir in the saffron.

6. Pour in the cream and then add a little salt and pepper to taste.

7. Allow to simmer slowly and thicken. (Tip: add a little grated parmesan to speed up the thickening process.)

8. Serve over pasta cooked al dente, and serve with grated parmesan cheese.