Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pasta day...

Hi - I had a few comments on my first post and I'd like to say thanks for reading - I didn't think anyone would be bothered to tell the truth....So - now the pressure is on. 

It's been a busy week and, even though I've been off work for a few days, I haven't had much time to relax - holidays seem to be the only time we can get work done around the house as we both work (I've always wondered how other people do it?) and my daughter is looking to be entertained constantly.

So for last nights dinner I went with a simple pasta disk which only took 20 minutes to make (with a marinade 30 minutes beforehand)

BBQ Chicken with Pasta in a White Cheese Sauce (without the BBQ unfortunately)
This should probably have a better name but that's life......I should point out at this stage that the BBQ sauce came out of a bottle - time isn't always a friend.  This blog is more for the quick, simple and tasty Pasta Sauce, perfect for a weekday dinner - I promise I will do proper BBQ during the summer - it's one of my personal favorite ways of cooking

Chicken - I marinated 2 chicken breasts in "Newmans Own Sticky Rib Sauce" for 30 minutes and then grilled for 15 minutes while making the pasta (all the time basting the chicken with the rib sauce)

Pasta -  Cook your favorite Pasta according to instructions


2) Ingredients for the Pasta Sauce
1/2 oz Butter
1/2 oz Flour
300ml Milk (I use low-fat 2%)
1 small to medium Red Onion (finely diced)
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika
1oz Cheese grated (I use Mature/Sharp Cheddar)
Pinch of Salt and a few twists of fresh ground Black Pepper

P10100083) Making the sauce
Before you begin, heat a pan to medium and fry off the onions in a little oil for 5 minutes - This can be done beforehand but I would tend to start this when I start the Roux.

Now, first you need to make a Roux. This seems to frighten people but shouldn't - it's very simple and forms the basis of a number of classic sauces. 

a) Melt all the butter over a medium heat in a heavy bottom saucepan (a heavy bottom helps spread and maintain a constant heat and helps to prevent sticking and burning)
b) when the butter is melted add the flour, a heaped teaspoon at a time, whisking to incorporate all the flour before adding the next teaspoon - this needs to be done quite rapidly. 
c) when all the flour is incorporated, fry for 1 minute whisking continously (see above) - don't miss out on this step or the sauce will taste of raw flour - congratulations, you have just made a Roux.......

Once the Roux is made, start adding the milk a little at a time, whisking throughout to ensure no lumps (it may start a little lumpy but these will work out)
Add the Dijon Mustard and Paprika along with the salt and pepper to the sauce and continue to whisk.  At first it will be quite liquid but as the sauce heats up you will start to notice it begin to thicken. 

At the point you begin to notice it thicken there is only three or so minute to go - the sauce thickens much faster at this stage
The cheese gets added just before serving - add in in small amounts and stir for a few seconds whilst it melts.  You may not meed the full amount depending on the type of cheese used and it's strength so add to taste - Note that the cheese also adds to the thickening process.

Pour over the drained Pasta and serve with the Chicken.
I added a salad and french bread for texture.

The Basic White Sauce is Butter, Flour, Milk and Pepper/Salt - This is a great base to experiment with, be it Curry Powder and Coriander for an Indian twist, Fresh Herbs and Scallions/Spring onions or Shallots or Cayenne Pepper, Red Bell Pepper and White Onion for a Southern Feel.

Mixing the sauce with leftover Turkey and Ham can be used to fill Vol au Vent cases which served with rice makes a great way to use leftovers.  Look up white roux sauces for inspiration and have a go - let me know if you get any great mixes and I'll include them here.

'till next time

The Old Fella

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