30 minute pregnant jools’s pasta with frangipane tart

speedy sausage ragu pastablackcurrant frangipane tart

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 carrot

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

1 egg

100g ground almonds

100g butter

90g caster sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

175g jar of good-quality blackcurrant jam

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. TARTS When the tart is golden and cooked, turn the oven off and take out. Serve warm.


  • Brilliant post! Deffo making the tart, look forward to seeing more and I hope you get thay free signed copy!!

    • The tart is disproportionately great to the little effort you have to put in. Hey, it’s only mock indignation – I’ve been very fortunate with freebies via this blog.

  • “Recipes are starting points, not doctrines.” Amen Bro. Amen. And getting your kids involved is something more people should be doing – what’s more fun than cooking?

    Great post and agree with you 100%. Cheers for the shout out!

    • I’m thrilled with how much my son enjoys cooking. Though as I told him – whether he enjoys it or not he needs to learn how to feed himself properly.

  • Well said Gary (and Fran). You’re so right, The Gurdian just didn’t get it did they?

    Well done you. This againlooks delicious – enjoying your blogs on this.

  • You have a ten year old son? Awwwwww.

    Hang on, you’re the same age as me. Maybe I should get a move on and have kids …

    I’m glad there are positive opinions of the book – I’ve only seen the sneery ones up till now.

    • My proudest “dad who cooks” moment was during a Science lesson at his school. The teacher was demonstrating sub-zero temperatures by making ice cream using custard + dry ice. “Like the way Heston Blumenthal does sir?” he pipes up. Gush.

      I haven’t seen the book yet – this is all from the TV show.

  • Fantastic post and you have hit the nail on the head with the whole 30 minutes thing – brilliant!

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  • It’s also been done before. Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food is all about things that can be cooked in about 30 minutes. I find these sorts of things really useful because I work full time and as much as I love cooking, I do not always have the energy to spend a long time in the kitchen of an evening.

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  • I love both of these recipes. For the Tart, I would add the tip that the frangipane is not cooked till it rises and falls again however long it is in the oven. I think Jamie’s times are based on room temperature ingredients whereas my jam was just out of the fridge. An under cooked tart can be saved by a minute on med high in the microwave before serving.

    As for the pasta, I find it is also pretty good with lamb mince. Sausage optional, but consider a couple of good quality Italian sausages to add Puk.

  • So pleased I found your blog. I’ve made this recipe twice from memory having watched the episode while at the gym on the running track!! It’s my first time ever trying a Jamie Oliver recipe. A delicious meal in about 30 mins is just what a working mum needs…..now I’m hooked. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    New Zealand

    • It’s a cracker this one. I haven’t had it in a while, I’ll have to serve it up again. If you liked the 30 min meals, keep your eyes peeled for 15 min meals in the Autumn!

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