There’s a whole section of the bookstore dedicated to what I call the “30 minute meal myth”. You know, the kind of books that promise to show you how to cook an entire three-course meal in the same time as an episode of Girls. The kind that feature clean, fresh photographs of food  and recipes with lots of action verbs (“whiz!”, “zip!”). You get carried away by all the visions of food processing and multi-tasking, and rush to your kitchen, ready to conquer the world!

Two hours of prep later, your kitchen is roasting, your garlic is burning, and your husband is sneaking crisps from the pantry while you feverishly zest lemons and wonder why your potatoes aren’t cooked through. 30 minute meal my ass!

Well, tonight I found a good 45-60 minute meal, depending on your knife skills and if you want to make the breadcrumb topping and the side of roasted asparagus.

This is compliments of a wonderful subscription to the BBC food magazine GoodFood, which I received as a Christmas gift from my lovely mother-in-law. From it, I’ve been learning how to cook and bake using weights, instead of cup measurements. I also stumbled across this nice pasta dish, which I’ve seen elsewhere but never with the lemon bread crumb topping option.


I served this with roasted asparagus (I’m ready for it to be spring already!) and an extra shake of red chili pepper flakes. I bet it would be good with a drizzle of chili pepper olive oil too.

Orecchiette with Anchovies and Purple Sprouting Broccoli (or Broccoli Rabe)
From GoodFood, March 2014
Serves 2

200g/7oz orecchiette
4 tsbp olive oil
6 anchovy fillets in oil, chopped
1 tbsp oil from anchovies
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 red chili, thinly sliced (I used 2 dried red chillies)
zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of 1/2 of the lemon
50g/2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
200g/7oz purple sprouting broccoli, washed (I used regular broccoli but would strongly recommend a bunch of broccoli rabe, sliced into 2 inch pieces)

Cook the orecchiette following pack instructions.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the anchovy oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and chillies, and sizzle for 3-4 minutes until the garlic is just starting to turn golden. Add the anchovies and lemon juice, and cook for 1-2 mins more until the anchovies melt into the sauce. Put the remaining olive oil, breadcrumbs, and lemon zest in another small frying pan. Stir together and cook until crisp.

When the pasta has 4-5 mins to go, add the broccoli to the pan. When cooked, drain, reserving a cup of the pasta water. Then add the pasts and broccoli to the frying pan with the garlic and anchovies. Stir and cook over low heat for a further 2 mins, adding a splash of pasta water if it looks dry. Season with salt and pepper, then serve in pasta bowls with the lemony crumbs sprinkled over the top.

Roasted Asparaus

1 bunch asparagus, rinsed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Trim asparagus (you can do this easily by simply bending the asparagus at its cut end; the asparagus should naturally break where its too tough to eat). Place in a large bowl.

Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, and toss together with salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay the asparagus on top. Broil on high for 5-10 minutes, stirring halfway through.


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