Pasta dish

pateschotel

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 1h30 minutes

Don’t be misled by the ‘simple’ name, this is anything but a simple dish.

The Ingredients: for 4 persons

  • 500 g minced meat (half beef, half pork)
  • 6 tomatoes (at least 500 g)
  • 1 onion
  • 2,5 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 4 tbsp. flower
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ l milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
  • 75 g grated cheese (Emmentaler)
  • 250 g pasta (fusilli)
  • salt & pepper

The work:

Cook the pasta al dente in lightly salted water. Follow the timing instructions on the package. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to avoid that the pasta sticks.

Cut the onions into small blocks. Peal the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Cut the tomatoes in large portions.

Preheat the oven at 225°C.

Melt the butter in a pot, don’t let it brown, and mix with the flower. Add a third of the milk and bring this to a cooking point while stirring slowly. At the cooking point, add extra milk to get the correct sauce density. Turn down the heat a bit. Add the thyme and the bay leaf and cook the sauce gently for about 15 minutes. Keep your eye on the ballgame. Sauce on a milk base easily sticks to the pan or overflows, so don’t stop stirring, don’t leave.

Sieve the sauce and mix the grated cheese with the sauce.

Take an oven dish and put in a layer of pasta. Distribute the onion, the tomato and the minced meat on top. Season with salt and pepper. If the dish is not full yet, add the rest of the pasta and cover it with sauce. In case you have some leftover grated cheese you can sprinkle that on top.

The tip:

There are many different pasta kinds you can use for this: fusilli, spirelli, farfalle, penne, macaroni,…

We often replace the fresh tomatoes by canned tomatoes to save time and it has little effect on the end result.

All together this dish takes quite a while to cook. You wonder if it is really necessary to stir in that sauce for 15 long minutes. Believe me, it is exactly that herb-flavoured cheese sauce which lifts this dish from being ordinary to being incredibly fantastic.

If you do make the effort of cooking this on your busy week day, bear in mind that you can easily prepare some extra dishes and put them uncooked in the freezer for later use.

The secret:

I will confess that this recipe comes from a very old ­ actually our very first ­ cook book which came for free with our very first micro wave after we just got married. Because this is a recipe I never came across ever again I felt I should make an exception to my rule not to blog recipes from other cooks. Just to make sure it gets some extra exposure. I can’t leave it to disintegrate with the book.

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Trout ‘Sunny-Style’

P1000279

When preparing the trout like this, it just makes me feel i’m in a sunny country. So yes, i invented the name.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 20-45 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.

The ingredients: for 2 persons

  • trout (2 small or 1 big)
  • 5 tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • lemon juice
  • rosemary
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper

The work:

Preheat the oven at 200°C.

Peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds and cut them into small pieces.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the grated or pressed garlic for a short while. Add the tomatoes with pepper, salt and almost all of the rosemary. Leave just enough rosemary to decorate the oven dish later on. Cook until the tomatoes melt into a sauce. Pieces may still be visible; the sauce should not be overly done. Taste the sauce and add lemon juice and extra seasoning to your liking.

Wash the trout’s and put them in an oven dish. Add some salt on the fish’. Cover the trout(‘s) with the sauce.

Certainly working with winter tomatoes in our country, we sometimes boost the tomato colour & taste by adding some extra halved cherry tomatoes on top. Add the left rosemary on top of the fish.

P1000277Put the dish in the oven. For small trout’s you’ll need about 20 minutes. For a larger trout like our rainbow trout in the picture, you’ll easily need 30-40 minutes. You’ll have to keep an eye on them.

Once done, sprinkle the cut parsley on top of the dish to add extra taste and colour.

The Secret:

Only one secret here, my husband caught the fish this time all by himself.

The Tip:
Serve this with jacket potatoes, boiled potatoes or rice.

Anyway, this makes me think of summer in the sun.

Tomato-Paprika Soup

DSC00471Preparation time: 45-60 minutes

The ingredients: for 6 persons

  • 4 big red tomatoes
  • 1 green paprika
  • 1 red paprika
  • 1 white part of leek
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 small can tomato paste (70 g)
  • 2 cubes low fat meat bouillon
  • salt & pepper

The Work:

Peal the tomatoes, take out the seeds and cut them in pieces. Take out the seeds of the paprikas and cut them up as well. Cut the white of leak, the carrots and the shallots in small cubes. Put all these vegetables in a cooking pot. Add 1 L of water, the 2 cubes of bouillon and let boil.

Once the soup boils, turn lower the heat so that the soup boils softly for the rest of the cooking time. The paprikas will need about 45 minutes until they are tender. To strengthen the taste of the soup, add some spoons of tomato paste at the end of the cooking time and stir until the paste is melted in the soup.

Mix the soup using a mixer or blender and add some extra water if necessary, to give the soup the right consistency. Season the soup with salt and pepper.

The Tip:
To get velvety soup it is advised to peel the tomatoes. If you are pressed for time, you can skip this.

The combination of a green en red paprika gives the soup a bitter touch. If you rather have a softer taste, use 2 red paprikas instead of 1 green and 1 red.

The Secret:

This soup is really a diet recipe I got from my sister in law, but the flavours and the consistency are so rich that I’ve served it on family diners as well. Nobody every dared to assume this was zero calorie.

If your kids don’t like vegetables but they do like tomato soup with meat balls, then this is a perfect veggie boost in disguise… just make sure they never see you add all these ‘bad’ ingredients.