ORECCHIETTE WITH WALNUT BURNT BUTTER SAUCE
Prep and Cook 20 mins | Serves 4
400 g orecchiette pastas
125 g butter, chopped
1 cup (100 g) walnut halves, chopped coarsely
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
⅔ cup (50 g) finely grated parmesan
1. Cook the orecchiette in a large saucepan of well-salted, boiling water until just tender.
2. Place the butter and walnuts in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the milk solids turn brown and the walnuts are golden brown. Just before serving, add the lemon rind and juice. (This will stop the browning of the butter, so make sure it’s a lovely deep golden brown before adding the lemon.)
3. Reserve ½ cup cooking water. Drain pasta. Toss pasta through the sauce, adding the reserved water as needed. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately, topped with parmesan.
"Serve with cherry tomatoes and coriander leaves, or sliced shallots and avocado."
LOADED MEXICAN SPUDS
Prep and Cook 1 hour | Serves 4
4 large brushed Sebago or Dutch cream potatoes
2 tsps smoked paprika
1 cup (240 g) sour cream
1 cup (125 g) grated tasty cheese
300 g jar tomato salsa
1. Preheat oven to 220 C (200 C fan-forced). Line an oven tray with baking paper.
2. Scrub potatoes well. Cut the potatoes in half lengthways; place on tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 40 mins, or until potato is soft enough to scoop. Scoop the flesh out of the potatoes, leaving a 2cm-thick shell; reserve the scooped-out flesh. Drizzle the skins with a little more oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and half the paprika. Roast, cut-side up, until brown and crispy on the cut surface.
3. Meanwhile, coarsely mash the potato flesh in a medium bowl. Stir in half the sour cream and half of the cheese. Season to taste.
4. Change the oven to the grill setting. Divide the potato mixture between the potato “bowls”. Top each with a generous spoonful of salsa then remaining cheese. Sprinkle with remaining paprika. Grill for 1 to 2 mins, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
5. Serve potatoes with remaining sour cream and salsa, if you like.
"Make it gourmet – add some Jarlsberg cheese, sliced red onion and your choice of crunchy salad or slaw"
CHICKEN RANCH SUBS
Prep and Cook 20 mins | Serves 4
4 small chicken breast fillets
4 rashers rindless bacon, cut into thirds
4 x 20-cm crusty bread rolls, sliced in half
250 ml bottle ranch salad dressing
½ small iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
1. Split the chicken in half horizontally. Pound lightly until about 5 mm thick.
2. Heat a barbecue grill plate or frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush the chicken with a little olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken for 2 to 3 mins, or until it has good char marks. Turn, and cook for a further 2 to 3 mins, or until cooked through. Transfer to a board to rest for 5 mins.
3. Meanwhile, in the same pan, cook the bacon until mostly crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel.
4. To build the subs, spread the cut surfaces of the rolls with ranch dressing. Slice the chicken into strips. Fill rolls with lettuce, chicken and bacon.
CHAR SIU CHICKEN WITH EGG FRIED RICE
Prep and Cook 40 mins | Serves 4
2 cups (400 g) jasmine rice
4 eggs, beaten lightly
1/3 cup (80 ml) light soy sauce
8 (800 g) chicken thigh fillets
½ cup (190 g) char siu sauce
1. Place rice and 3 cups of water in a microwave-safe container with a lid. Microwave on the highest heating option for 18 mins. Remove and fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp of vegetable oil and pour in half the egg. Swirl to coat the wok and when just set, transfer to a chopping board. Repeat with more oil and the remaining egg. Cut the omelettes into strips.
3. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the wok; stir-fry half the rice. Add 2 tbsps of the soy sauce and stir to mix thoroughly. Transfer to a bowl and repeat. Stir in the omelette. Cover to keep warm.
4. Preheat oven grill to 200 C.
5. Pound chicken lightly until about 1-cm thick. Combine char siew sauce with remaining 2 tbsps of soy sauce in a small bowl; add a tsp of cracked black pepper.
6. Place the chicken on a wire rack over grill pan. Spread the sauce mixture generously over the chicken. Grill for about 5 mins, or until blistered and lightly charred, spreading with a little more sauce as you go.
7. Flip the fillets and repeat on the second side, spreading with sauce mixture.
8. Serve chicken with the rice.
LEMONY SALMON RISOTTO
Prep and Cook 30 mins | Serves 4
600 g skinless salmon fillets, cut into 3-cm cubes
2 litres (8 cups) fish or chicken stock
4 garlic cloves, crushed Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
3 cups (600 g) arborio rice
1. Heat a little olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over mediumhigh heat. Cook the salmon until browned lightly all over and slightly rare in the centre, for about 3 mins. Transfer to a bowl; cover with foil. Wipe out pan with paper towel.
2. Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Then, reduce heat and simmer gently.
3. Heat about 2 tbsps of olive oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, for about 30 secs.
4. Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 mins or until grains appear slightly translucent. Add a ladleful (about ½ cup) of hot stock. Stir gently, just enough to ensure the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Total cooking time will be about 20 mins, or until the rice is tender yet firm to the bite, and the risotto is creamy.
5. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon rind and juice, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with salmon; serve immediately.
PHOTOS: URIZAR, JOHN PAUL/BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU