Garlic bread is a wonderful accompaniment to pasta dishes, salads, soups or even as a snack food all by itself. It should have nice crispy edges and a warm, buttery center – the combination of textures that makes garlic bread so special to me. My first encounter with garlic bread was a few dry, slightly burnt slices that came for free with a large pizza so I canont say that I was overly impressed at first sight/taste.

And I came to realise that the funny thing about garlic bread is that it’s something really easy to make at home and yet there are so many people who would willing pay twice for the same [or less] at shops and takeaways. Honestly, it’s so easy to prepare that you’ll wonder why you didn’t always make it yourself! 

GARLIC BREAD

Ingredients:

1 large loaf of French bread

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1-2 garlic cloves

1 tbs fresh chives, chopped

1/4 tsp dried Italian herbs

1/4 cup grated cheese

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the loaf of bread in 1.5 cm slices.

  • Put the garlic cloves through a press or smash and finely mince them.

  • Combine garlic with butter, mixed herbs and chives to form a smooth paste.

  • Spread butter mixture over each slice of bread and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

  • Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown in colour. Serve right away. 

One of the most classic pasta dishes, Spaghetti alla Bolognese, is also one of the simplest when it comes to prepartion and serving. The bolognese sauce, also known as ragu, is a meat based sauce, originally from the city of Bologna, which includes ground beef, chunky vegetables, tomatoes and pancetta resulting in a rich delectable sauce. Traditionally served with fresh flat pasta like tagliatelle, bolognese sauce is now more commonly found to be paired alongside spaghetti both in restaurants and at home.

The good news is that if you dnt or cnt eat beef, you can still enjoy this delicious pasta dish. Feel free to swap the beef for chicken [as I did], mushrooms or even crumbled tofu. Serve with a few slices of warm garlic bread [featured above] for a hearty homemade meal.

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

 

Ingredients:

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

500g ground meat or chicken 

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup vegetable stock

Salt and pepper

1 tsp garlic paste 

1 bay leaf

Thyme, oregano and basil, finely chopped

425 ml can of tomatoes

500g fresh pasta – spaghetti or tagliatelle

50g parmesan cheese, grated

Method:

  • In a large heavy pan heat the oil and sauté the ground meat, breaking it up with a spatula for approx 5 minutes.

  • Add onion, garlic and vegetables into the pan and continue to sauté for a further few minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. 

  • Mix in tomato paste and cook for a minute. Pour in stock and add bay leaf, thyme and canned tomatoes including juice.

  • Bring everything to a rolling boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Cook pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Add the basil and oregano to the ragu.

 

  • Ragu should have nicely thickened by now. Remove from heat. Put the pasta in a large bowl.

 

  • Pour the ragu over the pasta. Toss well. Serve in deep plates with a good sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Note:

Buying pasta that is a bit rough will help the ragu to coat it well. Look out on the packet for pasta that is formed in copper forms which  is the traditional way pasta is made. Pasta made in plastic forms produces a smoother pasta which causes the sauce to simply slide off.

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