Roasted Fennel, Tomato & Bean Pasta Sauce

Fresh fennel and tomato are made for each other, and for pasta. Fresh fennel is absolutely delicious raw, thinly sliced in salads. Its crunchy and sweet with a aniseed flavour which pairs perfectly with a zingy lemon dressing and lots of black pepper. But when you roast fennel, its a completely different thing. The sweetness caramelises, the aniseed flavour is still there but it’s muted, and the texture is gorgeous, it softens in the best way, a little like roasted onion. Mix with the richness of roasted tomatoes, lots of garlic and olive oil and you’ll be in flavour-heaven! Fennel and tomato pasta is a simple, rustic classic, often served with sausages, but we love it with butterbeans.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin butterbeans, drained
  • a couple of handfuls of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • extra virgin olive oil – to taste, we recommend at least 6 tbsp
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooked pasta to serve

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C. Chop up a fennel bulb and tumble into a wide roasting dish. Drizzle generously with 4 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes or so until softened.
  2. Remove the dish from the oven and add the tin of tomatoes, crushed garlic and the drained tin of butterbeans. Mix well.
  3. Scatter over the fresh chopped tomatoes, drizzle with 2 more tbsp olive oil and season again with salt and pepper. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or so until rich and bubbling.
  4. Meanwhile cook your pasta. Then drain the pasta, stir through the sauce and enjoy!

One Pot Broccoli, Lemon & Garlic Pasta

One pot pasta dishes are our favourites! Not just because of less washing up, but also because when you create a sauce in the pasta’s starchy cooking water, it is so luscious, silky and rich.

We have loads of amazing broccoli here on the farm now, we love it so much that we use half a head per person in this recipe (based on the traditional Italian broccoli orecchiette). The broccoli is deliberately cooked for longer than we would usually cook it, until it collapses into the sauce. We use a big dollop of miso (in place of anchovies) for complex depth of flavour and loads of gorgeous garlic and lemon to make this simple dish sing. Give this recipe a try for your next pasta night.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling on the bowls)
  • 6 fat garlic cloves, peeled & finely chopped
  • 2 heads of broccoli, finely chopped – stalks included
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • the zest and 1/2 the juice of a lemon
  • 400g pasta (any small shape you prefer)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chilli flakes and grated cheese to serve

Method

  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, sauté the garlic and finely chopped broccoli stalks in the oil until very fragrant and starting to soften – about 5 minutes or so.
  2. Season with salt, pepper, miso and lemon zest and then add the dried pasta and broccoli florets.
  3. Just cover with water, give the pasta a stir and put the lid on the pot to help the water come quickly to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, remove the lid and stir to ensure no pasta is sticking to the bottom. Cook until the pasta is soft. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt and pepper and the lemon juice.
  5. Let the pasta sit off the heat and rest a few minutes before serving. This will allow the sauce to thicken into the perfect texture. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of cheese and chilli flakes. Enjoy!

Creamy Cashew & Courgette Spaghetti

This simple pasta is very fast, very easy and very delicious. The perfect weekday supper. Courgettes are coming in thick and fast now so do enjoy them and use the search bar in the blog to find lots more courgette inspiration. You can substitute the cashew nuts in this recipe for sunflower seeds or any nut/seed you prefer. No need to be too exact with the ingredients, this pasta recipe is very easy-going, as all weekday dinners should be. Enjoy!

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 200g cashews covered in just boiled water
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
  • the juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 or 2 courgettes, thinly sliced
  • 4 portions of spaghetti, cooked in salted, boiling water
  • 1 large mug of the starchy water that the pasta was boiled in
  • a large handful of chopped herbs eg dill, parsley and mint

Method

  1. Soak your cashews and get a large pot of water on to boil. Thinly slice the courgette and find a wide pan.
  2. When the water is boiling, generously salt it and tip in your spaghetti. While it cooks make the creamy courgette sauce.
  3. Put a large pan onto a medium heat and add the olive oil and sliced courgettes. Season well with salt and pepper then sauté gently to soften and wilt the courgettes.
  4. Blend the soaked cashews in their soaking water with the mustard, garlic granules, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Scrape the cashew cream into the pan of courgettes and steal a mug of starchy pasta water from the pot. Add it to the courgettes and cashew cream to loosen and simmer into a gently bubbling sauce.
  5. Drain the pasta and toss it through the sauce. Serve with extra black pepper and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Spinach Pici Pasta

This is our new favourite way to eat spinach. Spinach is coming thick and fast out of our polytunnels now and we can’t get enough of this spring leafy green. Make your own easy pasta dough and marvel at the verdant green wriggly worms. It’s a fun recipe to make with kids over the Easter holidays too and if you have a fussy eater on your hands, this is a great way to get some greens into them. Serve with any pasta sauce you like – we love this with a simple buttery black pepper sauce, details below.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

for the sauce:

Method

  1. Put the flour, salt and spinach in a food processor with the S blade attachment. Blend into a green powder. Once it is evenly blended, keep the machine running and drizzle in the olive oil then a small splash of water. After a minute of blending the dough should form into a ball, if it is too dry and doesn’t ball up, add another small splash of water and keep blending.
  2. Tip the ball of bright, green dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for a few minutes. If your dough is accidentally too wet, add another sprinkle of flour and keep kneading until you have a smooth, soft green dough.
  3. Cut the dough in half and roll out to around 4mm or so thick. Cut the dough into thin strips then roll each strip into wriggly worms. You can cut them to whatever size you prefer. As you go, place them on a floured plate or tray and lightly dust with more flour to prevent them from clumping.
  4. Get a large pot of salted water on to boil then drop into the pici pasta and boil for just 4 minutes or so until tender. Drain through a colander then make the sauce in the pot.
  5. Place the butter, oil, cheese, lemon juice and black pepper in the pot and allow it to melt over a medium heat. Then give it a quick stir and tip the pasta back into the pot. Stir to coat the pasta in the sauce and serve with extra black pepper and whatever sides you like eg protein, salads etc.

Leek & Lemon Orzotto with Hazelnuts

Leeks are one of our favourite vegetables. They are so delicious, I like to make them the star of the show when I cook with them. This simple, one-pot, spring dish is all about those luscious, soft and sweet leeks offset by toasty, crunchy hazelnuts (we stock organic hazelnuts in compostable bags here) and tangy caramelised lemon. Orzo is just rice shaped pasta which I love to cook like risotto rice, we stock an organic bag from Irish company, Bunalun. We love their store cupboard staples so much. Top quality, organic and affordable. Add some Bunalun groceries to your next fruit and veg order with us here. We deliver nationwide.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 hungry people)

Method

  1. Find a large, deep, frying pan or pot. Start by toasting the hazelnuts in the dry pan. Just turn the heat to medium-high, tumble the hazelnuts into the pan and keep them moving around until they smell amazing and are deliciously toasty. Tip them into a bowl to cool a little then chop or crush into smaller pieces and save for finishing your dish at the end.
  2. Then, in the same pan, add the butter and oil. Place the lemons, cut side down, into the melted fat and let them cook until caramelised. Remove them to a bowl to finish your dish with later too. Caramelised lemon is so delicious. It makes the lemon softer, juicier and sweeter…and it looks pretty too.
  3. Tip the chopped leeks and garlic into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Stir fry until the leeks are starting to soften.
  4. Add the orzo and stock to the pan and simmer and stir until the pasta has absorbed the liquid and is cooked through. Taste and tweak the seasoning if needed with more salt and pepper.
  5. Stir the chopped parsley through, then serve in four bowls, each topped with a caramelised lemon half and a handful of chopped, toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!

Beetroot & Tofu-Ricotta Ravioli

Wouldn’t this pretty pasta be perfect for Mother’s Day? It takes a little more effort than our usual recipes but the ingredients are few, simple and affordable (using our ingredients at the time of writing this blog, this cost €5.64 to make 30 pieces).

Liz x

Ingredients (makes around 30)


~ pasta
• 300g fine flour
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 150ml water
• parsley leaves

~ beetroot tofu-ricotta
• 200g extra firm tofu
• 1 small cooked beetroot
• 1 clove of garlic
• the juice of 1/2 a lemon
• 1 tsp salt
• 5 tbsp olive oil

~ 1/2 jar of pesto to serve

Method

  1. Mix the pasta ingredients (except the parsley) into a shaggy, quite dry dough then knead it very well into a firm, smooth dough. This should take around 10 minutes of kneading. If your dough is too dry, wet your hands occasionally whilst kneading to incorporate just a little extra water. Rest the ball of dough in a bowl covered tightly with a damp tea towel.
  2. Blend all the beetroot ricotta ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or lemon.
  3. Roll your pasta dough out on a lightly floured surface. Once you have a large oval/rectangle, arrange some parsley leaves on one half and fold the pasta over. Now roll again into a very long strip, just over double the width of the size you want your ravioli. Get it as thin as you can – you should be able to read a paper through it.
  4. Space teaspoons of the pink ricotta along one side, wet the other side to help it stick, then carefully fold the pasta over the ricotta blobs and use your fingers to seal around each one. Use a knife or pasta wheel to cut the ravioli and save any off-cuts, they are just as delicious!
  5. Drop the fresh ravioli and off-cuts into boiling water, cook until soft but still with bite (around 3 minutes or so – test an off-cut) then scoop out with a slotted spoon, dress with pesto and serve!

Sprout Spaghetti

Brussels sprouts are in season and are certainly not just for Christmas Day. Have you been adding them to your boxes? What’s your favourite sprout recipe? I love sautéing them like this with garlic, herbs, nuts and citrus, then folding them through pasta. They’re also brilliant stirred through rice or another cooked grain like barley, quinoa, buckwheat etc for a gorgeous warm salad. Here’s my sprout spaghetti recipe, it makes a stunning mid-week meal and will only take as long as the time to boil your pasta. Quick, festive and delicious!

Liz x

Ingredients (per person)

  • 70-100g dry spaghetti (depending on appetite) or other grain/pulse of your choice eg quinoa, rice…
  • 1 heaped tbsp butter (I use our new dairy free Natruli blocks)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 7 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • a small handful of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste (it’s extra good with lots of black pepper!)

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, meanwhile chop your sprouts, garlic and hazelnuts.
  2. Generously salt the boiling water and drop in the pasta. Give it an occasional stir to prevent it from clumping or sticking to the bottom. While the pasta cooks, prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. In a wide pan, melt the butter, add the oil and sprouts, hazelnuts, garlic and rosemary. Stir fry for a few minutes then season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the zest and juice of the lemon when the sprouts turn bright green and are mostly cooked through. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasoning if need with more salt, pepper or lemon. Turn off the heat for now.
  5. Drain the pasta but reserve a mug or so of the starchy cooking water. Add the pasta to the sprouts and turn the heat back on. Add a few splashes of the cooking water and mix the pasta and buttery sprouts together. The pasta water and butter should create a delicious, light, lemony sauce. Taste again and you’ll probably want to add more black pepper.
  6. Serve in bowls and top with grated cheese or nutritional yeast flakes if you like. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pasta with Eyeballs

Well, it is that time of year when you can legitimately have some fun with your food. As well as putting pumpkin in everything, let’s make our food a little spooky too! This pumpkin pasta sauce is a doddle, just bake it in the oven while you get on with something more important – making an elaborate Halloween costume perhaps? Then either serve the pasta and sauce as they are, or if you want to go the extra mile, bake some meatballs (my plant based recipe is below) and top with sliced cheese and olives to make them into eyeballs.

I’ll be sharing some other Halloween food inspo soon, but I would love to know your Halloween classics. Let me know in the comments.

Liz x

Pumpkin Pasta Ingredients (serves 4-6 people)

  • 1/2 a kuri squash pumpkin (or butternut), gutted and diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic to ward off the vampires, peeled
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • Olive oil, salt & pepper to taste
  • 500g dried pasta

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Find a deep baking dish.
  2. Tumble the diced pumpkin/squash and peeled garlic cloves into the dish.
  3. Drizzle generously with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands then bake for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Remove the dish from the oven, mash the vegetables with a fork then tip in the two tins of chopped tomatoes. Season again with some extra salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir well then return the dish to the oven for another 20 minutes or so until hot and bubbling. Meanwhile cook your pasta in boiling water according to the instructions on the packet.
  6. Drain the pasta and stir it through the hot sauce. Enjoy as it is or with meatballs, cheese slices and olives (see below for my vegan meatball recipe).

Vegan Meatballs Ingredients (makes approx 40 small balls)

  • 50g nuts (walnuts are brilliant here but any fatty nut will do)
  • 50g pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 150g porridge oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 onion & 4 cloves of garlic, diced and fried in a little olive oil until soft
  • 2 tins of cooked lentils, drained
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. You will need a food processor with an S blade attachment. Pulse the nuts and seeds first until they resemble course flour.
  2. The add the remaining ingredients and pulse together, stopping to scrape down the sides occasionally, until you have a thick, rustic paste. Don’t over-blend, it’s nice to retain a bit of texture.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt, pepper or herbs.
  4. Then form the balls by squishing a small amount of the mixture together using your cupped palm and fingers. Gently roll between your palms into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
  5. Toss with a little vegetable oil and bake until hot. Around 20 minutes at 200C is sufficient, these veggie meatballs can get a little drier than their meaty counterparts so be careful not to overcook. Turn the meatballs halfway through cooking. Serve in pasta sauce or with mash and gravy.

Lentil Ragu

This lentil ragu is a firm family favourite. It’s quick and easy to make, full of flavour and nutrition (lentils are a powerhouse of fibre, protein, potassium, iron and folate) and it can be frozen in portions to use on busy days. I use this as a ‘base’ recipe but often add or switch the vegetables with the seasons. For example, the carrots can be swapped with swede, beetroot or squash, the mushrooms could be replaced with aubergine or crumbled walnuts. We usually stir it through pasta or layer it up in a lasagne but it also makes a great cottage pie when topped with mash and baked.

You can also tweak the seasoning and turn this Italian-style ragu into a Tex-Mex-style chilli non-carne! Just use chilli, cumin, coriander, bay, oregano and smoked paprika in place of the herbs, and add a drained tin of kidney beans and peppers to the mix too. This adaptable lentil ragu recipe is just thing to add to your repertoire for hearty family meals.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • approx 10 chestnut mushrooms, diced
  • 1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1x 400g tin of green lentils, drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp each: fennel seeds, thyme and oregano
  • optional splash of red wine…
  • salt and pepper to taste (roughly a tsp of each)
  • pasta to serve (100g dried weight per person) we stock a range of organic wheat, wholegrain and gluten free varieties

Method

  1. Gather and prepare your ingredients and find a large pan to cook your ragu in. Get a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
  2. Sauté the onion with the olive oil for roughly 6 minutes over a medium-high heat until softening and starting to take on some colour.
  3. Then add the salt, pepper, fennel, oregano, thyme and garlic and stir for a minute to release and wake up the flavours.

4. Add the diced vegetables and sauté for 5-10 minutes until they start to soften and cook in their own juices. Then add the chopped tomatoes and bay leaves.

5. Swirl the juices out of the tin into the pan by filling the tin with water. Then add the drained lentils and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is rich and delicious. You may need to add a splash of water (or red wine) to loosen the sauce if it is starting to look a bit dry. (This is a good time to get your pasta into the now-boiling water).

6. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with more salt or pepper. Then stir through the cooked and drained pasta and enjoy! Serve with fresh basil leaves and an extra drizzle of good olive oil.

Roasted Fennel & Tomato Pasta Sauce

One of my go-to weekday dinner solutions, for those hectic days when the juggle between work-life and family-life has left you reeling, is to roast a big tray of vegetables and then while that’s cooking decide what to do with it. I usually turn it into pasta sauce or soup with the help of my handy stick blender and add some extra protein with a drained tin of beans or lentils. There is always the option to stir the roasted veggies through rice or add them to tacos or a make a warm salad by tossing them through a drained tin of cooked pulses (our organic range from Bunalun is so handy). Roasting vegetables makes them sweeter and more delicious and our farm grown fennel and tomatoes are just *made* for pasta.

Like most of my recipes, this is a flexible affair. Make it smooth or chunky, don’t worry too much about the ratios of the different vegetables. Make do with what you have and if in doubt, add a tin of chopped tomatoes. Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4 generously)

  • 2 fennel bulbs (roughly chopped, fronds kept to one side to use fresh as a herb)
  • 250g tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 a bulb of garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • optional extra vegetables like courgette, peppers, carrots…(roughly chopped)
  • olive oil for roasting – about 4 tbsp
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • optional drained tin of green lentils
  • pasta to serve
  • optional chilli flakes and extra virgin olive oil to serve

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C and find your largest oven tray.
  2. Roughly chop all the vegetables and scatter them onto the tray.
  3. Drizzle generously with good olive oil and season with salt, pepper and fennel seeds.
  4. Use your hands to mix the vegetables, oil and seasoning well, then pop the tray into the oven to roast the vegetables while you cook some pasta (we stock a range of brilliant organic pastas, including gluten free varieties, which you can add to your veg order).
  5. After 20 minutes, the vegetables should be soft and starting to caramelise. If you used a smaller tray then it will take longer and you should stir them occasionally to ensure they all catch some direct heat.
  6. Carefully tip and scrape the roasted vegetables into a deep container. I like to use a sauce pot so that I can easily re-heat the sauce if needed. Then using a stick blender, blend the vegetables into a sauce. You can make it perfectly smooth or leave some texture and chunks, however you prefer it is fine! Or add some vegetable stock to loosen the sauce into a soup?
  7. Add the chopped reserved fennel fronds if you like that fresh, aniseed flavour. For extra protein and fibre, add a drained tin of lentils or white beans to the sauce.
  8. Stir through freshly cooked pasta and serve. I always put extra virgin olive oil, flakey salt and chilli flakes on the table too with this dish. Enjoy!