I don’t think there is a worse feeling than sitting down in front of your freshly made dinner after a long day of work and seeing the overflowing pile of dirty dishes that have somehow accumulated during cooking. How I manage to use every single kitchen implement whilst cooking a simple spag bol is something I will never understand. You might be thinking, “Kate, have you not heard of a dishwasher? Just bung it all in there before you sit down for the evening.” This is a valid point but something that would require some sort of forward-thinking because, somehow, every time I open the dishwasher, it is already full of dirty dishes. Anyway, I think we’ve digressed too far into my personal life now, so to get back onto the topic at hand, I would like to help reduce one of life’s major stresses and share with you some of my favourite one-pot wonders- meals that are full of flavour but will leave you with tidy countertops and an empty dishwasher, something we all must aspire to.
My first dish is Moroccan meatballs with eggs which is packed full of garlic, ras el hanout, and cinnamon. The combination of runny eggs and a rich tomato sauce is something I never thought I needed, but wow, this dish is truly phenomenal, combining simple ingredients to create an absolute flavour sensation, perfect for any occasion. This dish has been adapted from the Good Food website and serves 4. You may see above the ingredient list on the website that it takes 40 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes to cook, but I wouldn’t let this put you off, in reality, most of the prep time is taken up making meatballs from scratch, which, of course, isn’t a requirement, so if you fancy a quick tasty meal, simply just buy your meatballs instead (I won’t tell if you don’t)!
Moroccan meatballs with eggs
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 250g lean lamb mince
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 eggs
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 courgette, thickly sliced
- 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp honey
- ½- 1 tsp rase l hanout spice mix
- 20g bunch of coriander, mostly chopped
- 400g can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Fry the onion in 1 tbsp oil until soft, then allow to cool. Mix with the breadcrumbs, mince, cinnamon, 1 egg, ½ tsp salt and lots of pepper, then shape into about 24 meatballs with wet hands. Fry in the remaining oil in a shallow pan for about 8 mins, moving them round until evenly browned. Lift out and set aside.
- Add the garlic to the oil left in the pan and fry until softened. Add the courgette, fry for 1-2 mins, then tip in the tomatoes, honey, ras el hanout, three-quarters of the coriander, seasoning and a couple of tbsp water. Stir and cook until pulpy.
- Stir in the chickpeas and add the meatballs. Make 4 hollows in the sauce, then break in the remaining eggs. Cover and cook for 4-8 mins over a low heat until the eggs are set. Scatter with coriander and serve straight from the pan with crusty bread for scooping up the sauce.
Next up is a recipe for smoked salmon pasta, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser with its rich creamy sauce and subtle hint of lemon. This dish is incredible not only because it uses one pan but also because it only takes 8 minutes to cook! This recipe uses fresh lasagne sheets, which are then sliced to create a thicker version of tagliatelle; however, this extra step is not necessary and if it is easier for you to buy fresh tagliatelle, then go for it! This recipe serves one person and has been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s website.
Smoked salmon pasta
- 125g fresh lasagne sheets
- 2 spring onions
- 80g spinach
- 60g smoked salmon
- ½ a lemon
- 5g Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- 1 tbsp cottage cheese
- Boil the kettle. Cut the lasagne sheets in half lengthways, then into 2cm strips. Trim the spring onions and finely chop them with the spinach and half the salmon. Finely grate the lemon zest, then the Parmesan, keeping them separate. Put a 28cm frying pan on a high heat.
- Once hot, put a little drizzle of olive oil into the pan with the spring onions, spinach, chopped salmon and lemon zest. Scatter the pasta into the pan, then carefully pour in enough boiling kettle water to just cover the pasta – about 250ml. Let it bubble away for 4 minutes, or until the pasta has absorbed most of the water and you’ve got a nice sauce, stirring regularly and loosening with an extra splash of water, if needed.
- Turn the heat off, squeeze in the lemon juice, stir in the cottage cheese and Parmesan, and then season to perfection. Delicately tear over the remaining salmon, and enjoy!
Finally, I thought I would share a recipe which is the pinnacle of comfort food, a shepherd’s pie pasta bake. Not only do you get the fantastic taste of lamb, but you get the delicious pasta and the satisfaction of that mozzarella cheese pull, a combination made in heaven. This recipe uses leftover lamb, but I’m sure, if you didn’t have any available, you could use leftover beef or even chicken; it’s really up to you. This recipe has been adapted from the Tesco Real Food Website and serves 4.
One-pot shepherd’s pie pasta bake
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 10g fresh thyme, leaves picked
- ½ Worcestershire sauce
- 1 chicken stock cube, made up to 600ml
- 300g rigatoni pasta
- 300g leftover cooked lamb, diced or shredded
- 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
- 100g mozzarella, sliced
- Heat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Heat the oil in a wide, hob-safe ovenproof frying pan or casserole dish. Add the onion, carrot and celery and fry for 10-15 mins until soft. Stir in the garlic and fry for 1 min more.
- Add the tomato purée, most of the thyme leaves and the Worcestershire sauce to the veg, stir, then pour in the stock and bring to a simmer, uncovered. Tip the pasta into the sauce and simmer over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 8-10 mins until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is just starting to turn tender. Stir in the lamb and scatter over the cheese.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for 10-15 mins until the pasta is fully cooked and the cheese is golden and bubbling. Scatter with more thyme leaves to serve.