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Monday, 4 July 2011

Creamy Vegetable Pasta in a Flash - Inspired By The New Ice Age

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a delicious lunch cooked by Aldo Zilli at his fish restaurant in Soho and attend a presentation about a campaign by the British Frozen Food Federation called The New Ice Age.  They showed us just how convenient, beneficial and healthy frozen food options can be.  Now before you start with the ifs and buts, we're not talking nasty pumped full of fat and additives frozen food, we're talking frozen fruits and vegetables and sauces that are natural and additive free.

I was shocked to learn that a study by WRAP (the Waste Resources Action Programme) found that, here in the UK, we throw away one third of the food we buy.  This is an outrageous waste of both resources and money.  It was very interesting to find out the ways that using frozen food can help us avoid this waste.  With frozen, it is easy to manage portion control and return what is not eaten to the freezer and also freeze leftovers so that food is not wasted.   


Our lunch was prepared using some frozen foods and it was almost impossible to tell which ingredients had been previously frozen.  We also took home some delicious samples from The Sauce Kitchen.  These convenient and versatile sauces are based on tried and tested family recipes, they're full of flavour and conveniently packed in individual servings to avoid any waste.  Each of the home cooking sauces also has at least three recipes on the back of the pack; a really quick, a quick and a slow cooking suggestion to help make home cooking easier.

There are loads of fabulous recipes on the The New Ice Age website.  Here is one of my standby suppers when I'm in a hurry, have hardly any food in the house or just can't be bothered cooking anything fancy. It's one of those really quick weeknight dinners that can be whipped up in no time and contains enough vegetables to satisfy the demanding tastebuds of my family.  You could add some frozen fish if you wanted to, just simmer some frozen prawns in the sauce for a few minutes or cook fish fillets quickly in the oven whilst the pasta and sauce are cooking on the hob. 

Creamy Vegetable Pasta in a Flash

400g dried spaghetti (you can use fettuccine or tagliatelle instead)

2 handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables (any vegetables are fine)

1 bunch (250g) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths

40g butter

1 leek, washed and sliced (or onion, if you don't have leek)

2 large garlic cloves, crushed (or 2 cubes frozen crushed garlic)

125ml white wine

300ml pot of double cream
2 Tbsp finely shredded fresh mint or 1Tbsp fresh finely chopped oregano

25g (1/4 cup) freshly grated parmesan (or vegetarian equivalent)

You'll need to prepare the sauce whilst the pasta cooks so the pasta isn't sitting around waiting and getting stuck together.  To cook the pasta, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet or until it's al dente.  I always take some out of the pan, let it cool slightly and taste it to see if it's cooked how I like it.  When the pasta has a few minutes left to cook, put the frozen mixed vegetables and asparagus into the boiling water with the pasta.  Once the pasta and vegetables are cooked, drain them well and add the sauce.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a deep frying pan and sweat off the leek and garlic for around 3-4 minutes until they've softened. Pour in the wine and cook it down until it's almost totally evaporated.  At this point add the double cream and cook on a low hear for  a few minutes until the sauce has warmed through and thickened slightly, season the sauce to taste.  Toss the sauce through the pasta, adding the fresh mint/oregano and parmesan.  Serve sprinkled with more parmesan.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this! We will post it on our FB page if that's okay :)
    The New Ice Age

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  2. No problem, share it wherever you like :o) Thanks again for the fab event too! xx

    ReplyDelete