Anyway, I managed my product review post for Dobbies, but that was last Thursday. There’s another post coming up, linked to the Dobbies thing, but not sure when that will be (soon, but don’t know the day yet).
So. I thought I would make a quick little recipe post, about what we had for dinner last night – and also one evening last week. I think it’s one of our current favourites and I hope some of you will like it too.
* * *
Swiss-style “Butter Noodles”This is a recipe that I got from my BF, Su. She was lucky enough to visit Switzerland recently and ate something like this at her hotel. After a bit of experimenting at home, she came up with this recipe, to reproduce what she had eaten. Sometimes she adds a dash of white wine as well – just for those who like to add a bit of extra zing!
This is my own adaptation of her recipe, so, 2 stages removed from “real Swiss”, I’m afraid, but it still tastes great! It also has an adaptation for a non-dairy eater, since I can’t have cheese, butter etc…
You need pasta noodles – the type called “Linguine” or “Tagliatini”, like flattened spaghetti. If you can’t find these, spaghetti will do fine!
Allow about 60-80g / 2.5-3.5oz dry pasta per portion (depending on how hungry you are!). Put it in a large pan of boiling water and set to simmer on the stove.
Now here’s the Magic Bit!
To your pan of pasta, add some Vegetable Stock powder/ cube/ liquid. Try to use a low-salt version, as it condenses during cooking and can taste very salty otherwise. I use some called “Swiss Bouillon Powder”, which is lovely – about 4 – 6 tsp, depending on how much water I have. If you don’t have veg. stock, chicken will do nicely. Let the pasta cook in this “broth”.
Put some fresh spinach leaves into a steamer. Allow a good large handful or two per person, as it steams down to a much smaller volume.
Don’t steam this yet – it only needs a minute or two, or it turns to mush!
Alternatively, you can use broccoli florets/ spears, or serve with fresh salad leaves.
Grate some good cheese – Gruyere or similar, if you have it, else a well-flavoured Cheddar-style cheese is nice. Also, some hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Gran Padano is lovely – that’s what is in my smaller bowl there.
Cook some chicken breast portions (or use other ready-cooked chicken pieces). For recipes like this, I put the frozen chicken breast fillets in the microwave and cook for 4 minutes, then cut them into nice pieces and give them another couple of minutes to finish cooking.
You don’t need them all brown and roasted etc, although cooking them in a pan will give a nicer flavour. This is one of my quick suppers though, so I go for the quick and easy option every time!
Put the steamer over the pan of pasta for one or two minutes, to blanch the spinach. If you cook it too long, it just goes mushy and is a bit sad and limp… not so nice to eat.
Remove the steamer again and let it drain.
Don’t Drain the Pasta Yet!
This is my Non-Dairy adaptation. If you don't want any butter or cheese in your meal, remove a portion of the pasta, together with a few good spoonfuls of the cooking broth. It will be like a nice pasta soup!
Now you can strain the rest of the pasta, but keep a little of the cooking liquid in the pan, as it makes the butter sauce nicer. Put the pasta back into the pan.
Add a generous portion of butter to the pasta and broth in the cooking pan and stir it in. If you want to use wine, now is a good time to add it, as the butter and wine will make a nice sauce.
Stir in the cheese and heat through, so the cheese and butter form a coating over the pasta. Add the cooking liquid from your chicken pieces.
Put your pasta portions into serving plates, then add pieces of chicken and a portion of spinach / salad.
Sprinkle with some grated parmesan.
This is my non-dairy version. It still tastes good, even without cheese (oooh, cheeeeese… I looove cheese… but it doesn’t love me, so I will do without – most of the time!). It can be made more special with a little white wine.
Hope you feel inspired to have a go. It’s a nice, quick supper recipe, which tastes lovely and can be made impressive enough for guests.
Use Gruyere, or other Swiss cheese, pan-cooked chicken – so it’s a bit browned - and add a glug of good, dry white wine during the sauce-making process – the wine and butter make a lovely glaze.
Slice the chicken breast diagonally and arrange it on the pasta, to one side, so it looks tidy – or serve on a flat plate and lay the chicken beside the pasta, with sauce spooned on top.
Use lovely fresh mixed salad leaves, or nicely cooked dark green veg. Most guests will love it! But of course, you will need to have a practise-run first… yummm…