• The Italian job

    From lovingly layered lasagne to easy weeknight spaghetti, there’s nothing better to warm you up from the inside than pasta
    The Italian job

    Sausage lasagne

    Serves 4–6
    Prep time 15 min
    Cook time 1 hour

    INGREDIENTS

    Olive oil, to sauté
    2 onions, diced
    1 kg pork sausage, casing removed
    800 g (2 tins) chopped tomatoes
    1/2 cup red wine
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 tbsp butter
    3 tbsp flour
    450 ml full-cream milk
    50 g mature Cheddar, grated
    400 g lasagne
    100 g Parmesan, grated
    Basil, to serve

    METHOD

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a 20 × 30 cm baking dish.

    2. Heat a little oil in a pot and sauté the onions for 5 minutes.

    3. Add the sausage meat and fry for 5 minutes on high. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat as you cook it.

    4. Add the tomatoes, wine and garlic. Simmer for 5 minutes.

    5. Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, then slowly add the milk. Cook, whisking, until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Add the Cheddar.

    6. Layer  mince,  lasagne sheets and Parmesan. Repeat twice, ending with a layer of pasta. Pour over the cheese sauce. 

    7. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden on top and crispy around the edges.

    8. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve topped with basil and the remaining Parmesan.

    In a rush? Blanch the lasagne sheets one by one in boiling water for 4 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes at 190°C

    Mediterranean spaghetti

    Serves 4–6
    Prep time 15 min
    Cook time 20 min

    INGREDIENTS

    500 g spaghetti
    3 tbsp + 4 tbsp olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    500 g cocktail tomatoes
    300 g beef or lamb meatballs, cooked
    250 g mixed black and green olives
    Chopped parsley, to serve

    Method

    1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Strain it, reserving  cup of the cooking water. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tbsp oil.

    2. Heat the remaining oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic for 1 minute. Add the  tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes.

    3. Add the meatballs, olives and pasta water. Cook for about 3 minutes to heat through. Season well.

    4. Serve the spaghetti with the sauce, garnished with parsley.

    On a low-carb diet? Replace the spaghetti with lightly steamed baby-marrow noodles

    Burnt-butter carbonara

    Serves 4–6
    Prep time 5 min
    Cook time 15 min

    INGREDIENTS

    250 g rigatoni
    3 tbsp olive oil
    250 g bacon, diced
    60 g butter
    3 egg yolks
    Zest of 1 lemon
    Chopped parsley, to serve

    METHOD

    1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

    2. Heat the oil in a pan over high heat and fry the bacon until crispy. Remove from the pan.

    3. Lower the heat to medium and add the butter. Cook, continuously stirring, letting it gradually change colour and take on a rich, nutty smell. This should take about 3 minutes.

    4. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and slowly whisk in the butter.

    5. Add the bacon and pasta, and toss until coated. Season well.

    6. Serve sprinkled with lemon zest and parsley.

    For a vegetarian option, replace the bacon with mushrooms. This dish works with any typeof pasta if you can’t find rigatoni

    Smoked snoek orzo

    Serves 4–6
    Prep time 10 min
    Cook time 20 min

    INGREDIENTS

    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    1 garlic clove, chopped
    200 g orzo
    2 cups vegetable stock
    225 g mascarpone
    100 g baby spinach
    200 g smoked snoek fillets
    2 green chillies, chopped

    METHOD

    1. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 5 minutes.

    2. Add the garlic, orzo and vegetable stock. Simmer for 12–15 minutes, uncovered, to reduce the liquid and cook the pasta.

    3. Add the mascarpone and season with salt and pepper.

    4. Add the spinach, a handful at a time. Allow to wilt for 2 minutes.

    5. Serve the pasta topped with snoek and sprinkled with chopped chillies and ground pepper.

    Not keen on fish bones? Replace the snoek with smoked salmon

    Special occasion or casual night in? These reds have you covered

    Affordable

    Leopard’s Leap Merlot 2016

    Fruity and approachable, this is a medium-bodied wine with notes of plum and blueberries, as well as hints of nutmeg and toasted almond from wood contact (40% of it was aged for 12 months in French oak). Moderate 13.5% alcohol and balancing acidity make it a great match for any tomato-based pasta sauces.

    R55

    Mid-range

    Fairview Homtini 2015

    Sangiovese makes up 41% of this fresh, silky blend, with 37% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Shiraz. The wine was matured in mostly French oak for 16 months. Besides bright red-berry flavours, fynbos and black pepper notes make it a multilayered match for lasagne.

    R164

    Splurge

    De Toren Fusion V 2015

    Oozing fruitcake and dark choc, this wine is a blend of all five Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot). It is voluptuous, but has enough backbone for ageing – or serving with our carbonara for sheer indulgence.

    R454

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