This recipe sounds ultra-fancy, but it can be knocked up in fifteen minutes, making it a very sociable dish for guests. And it’s cheap – a couple of pears, an onion, garlic, cheese, and some gnocchi comes to about £2 per serving. Pear and stilton is such a complimentary combination – don’t feel alarmed. Here’s some rare pictures of me cooking in my gorgeous student kitchen, curtesy of my wonderful photographer (and friend), James.
Pear and stilton gnocchi (serves 2; vegetarian)
1 onion (I find brown works best, but shallots would also be banging)
2 ripe pears, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Heat a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive, then fry off the onions for 5 minutes on a gentle heat. Add the sliced pear, followed by garlic and rosemary. Cook for about 10 minutes, while the gnocchi is cooking, stirring occasionally.
Boil a pan of water, add the gnocchi and cook for 3 minutes – be careful to not over cook.
Take the saucepan off the heat, and stir in the drained gnocchi. While still very hot, crumble the stilton over, and mix gently until creamy.
4. Season with pepper, and sprinkle over some nuts for added texture – pine nuts, cashews or walnuts work well.
Cashew pesto and asparagus tagliatelleserves 2; vegetarian
the pesto experiments continue! To prove pesto does not strictly have to be made from pine nuts…I have thrown an avocado in there for a creamy pasta sauce base
8 asparagus spears
50g cashew nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic, crushed
15g fresh basil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
1 avocado, roughly chopped
30g finely grated parmesan
Roast the asparagus spears on a baking tray in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes, coated in a little olive oil.
While the asparagus is roasting, make the cashew pesto. Toast the cashew nuts in a frying pan on a high heat. Blend together the crushed cashew nuts, garlic and basil in the food processor for 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, avocado and parmesan and pulse until the pesto becomes smooth. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside in the fridge.
Cook the tagliatelle in salted water for 12 minutes, drain and combine with the cashew pesto. Serve with the roasted asparagus and extra grated parmesan.
pesto does not have to be exclusively made with pine nuts
60g walnuts, broken into pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
20g fresh basil
30g parmesan cheese, thinly shaved
200g pasta of your choice
1 tsp oil with truffle extract
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
Boil the pasta in salted water. While this is cooking, blend the broken walnut pieces, olive oil, basil and parmesan in a food processor. Pulse into it combines into a relatively smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper.
Fry sliced chestnut mushrooms in truffle oil and garlic.
Drain the pasta, and combine with the pesto and mushrooms.