As I’ve mentioned before, Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals is unfairly misunderstood. The Guardian’s had a pop and I can’t understand how they can get it so very wrong. It’s not “set your watch and in exactly 30 minutes you will have exactly this dinner”, it’s “look what is possible in 30 minutes”. If you have the same skills, prep and concentration as Jamie you’ll be laughing, but be realistic – if you know you don’t have enough pans for a meal and you’re going to have to wash up in between, it will take longer. If you know you dither a bit following a recipe, it will take longer. Why not drop an element of it? Cooking and recipes are all about inspiration, it drives me potty when people can’t see past exactly ½ teaspoon cumin and won’t think “I love cumin, I’m chucking 3 in”, or “I hate cumin, I’m not doing it”. Recipes are starting points, not doctrines.
Like in this one. I dropped the salad. There’s plenty of goodness in the sauce and very filling, so I was happy with just a bowl of pasta followed by dessert. I pretty much set my 10 year old son doing this, while I supervised. He did brilliantly. Dropping whole sausages in the food processor tube is enormous fun. The finished pasta dish itself is extremely tasty – entirely dependant on the quality of the sausage you use, so caveat emptor. The frangipane was a triumph, utterly delicious, nutty and fruity. They’re both corkers and well worth a try.
The link to Jamie’s original recipe is here, and I’ve almost recreated it entirely below.
PS. Some excellent Brighton-based food blogger friends have both posted about other 30 min dins: Feed et Gastro has tried the spinach filo and feta pie, and Graphic Foodie has turned her hand to quite a few! Do pop over and have a read. Also not the slightest bit of jealousy from me as they received free signed copies…!
Pregnant Jools’s pasta with frangipane tart:
For the pasta:
1 onion, quartered
1 stick of celery
6 good-quality sausages
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
500g dried penne
4 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
For the tart:
1 large deep shortcrust pastry case
100g ground almonds
90g caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
175g jar of good-quality blackcurrant jam
- TO START Get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Turn your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Fill and boil the kettle. Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Put the standard blade attachment into the food processor.
- PASTA Blitz the vegetables in the food processor. Add the sausages, 1 heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon of oregano. Keep pulsing until well mixed, then spoon this mixture into the hot frying pan with a lug of olive oil, breaking it up and stirring as you go. Keep checking on it and stirring while you get on with other jobs. Put a large deep saucepan on a low heat and fill with boiled water. Fill and reboil the kettle.
- TARTS Put the pastry case on a baking tray. Make a frangipane mixture by cracking the egg into a mixing bowl and adding almonds, butter, vanilla and sugar. Use a spoon to mix everything together. Spoon half jam into the pastry base. Top with most of the frangipane, add the rest of the jam, then finally the remaining frangipane. Put the tray in the oven on the middle shelf and set the timer for 18 minutes exactly.
- PASTA Top up the saucepan with more boiled water if needed. Season well then add the penne and cook according to packet instructions, with the lid askew. Crush 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic into the sausage mixture and stir in 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and the tinned tomatoes. Add a little of the starchy cooking water from the pasta to loosen if needed.
- PASTA Drain the pasta, reserving about a wineglass worth of the cooking water. Tip the pasta into the pan of sauce and give it a gentle stir, adding enough of the cooking water to bring it to a silky consistency. Taste, correct the seasoning, then tip into a large serving bowl and take straight to the table with the rest of the Parmesan for grating over. Scatter over a few basil leaves.
- TARTS When the tart is golden and cooked, turn the oven off and take out. Serve warm.