Real vegetarian food, served in an imaginary world...

Thursday 14 February 2019

A Meal For... Another VALENTINE'S DAY

Two year's ago, Dave gave Zelda a lovely Valentine's meal by making a pizza from from scratch. He found it a lot of effort and, to this day, blames Rick Stein for the TV magic that made it appear you could do it from start to finish in a few minutes (being unaware that dough needs time to prove). 
This time, with eyes wide open, and inspired by the latest Jamie Oliver series set in Italy, he promised Zelda a fresh pasta meal (and asked to be known throughout as Nonna David).
Zelda, therefore, provided him with a recipe and all the ingredients and stepped back to watch, camera in hand.


4 free range eggs
400g tipo 00 flour (+ extra for dusting)
salt and black pepper
handful fresh basil leaves
1tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon
180g cream cheese
50g parmesan-style cheese  (+ extra to serve)
splash of milk

First, make the pasta
Place the flour in a circle on a clean work surface and crack the eggs into a well in the middle. ("How much is 00 flour?")
Whisk the eggs lightly with a fork and start to draw in the flour to mix with them.
Use your hands to mix it all together.
Make into a ball and knead until silky(ish) 
Divide into four and cover with a clean, damp cloth.

Put a pan of salted water on to boil and, when ready, roll out one at a time into strips which are as thin as possible. ("It's a wonder Nonnas haven't got arms like Billy Two Rivers.")
Use a heart-shaped cutter... make the pasta shapes.
When all are ready, place in the boiling water.

To make the sauce
Prepare all elements in advance.
Crush the garlic, grate the zest from the lemon, finely grate the parmesan-style cheese. ("Like sanding a rough old board.") 
Heat the oil in a large pan.
Turn to a low heat and cook the garlic until just golden.
Add the cream cheese and a splash of milk and stir to make into a sauce.
Add the lemon and a shake of salt.

Allow the pasta to cook – it usually only takes about 3 minutes. It will rise to the top when done.
Drain it but keep about a mug of the cooking water.
Add the pasta to the sauce with some of the reserved liquid if needed. Mix all together.
Place in a bowl and top with the black pepper, basil and more parmesan-style cheese. ("That's my cooking done for the next year!")


  1. Brava to Nonna David! Nonna's comments throughout, are hilarious! The dish looks tasty...definitely cooked with love! At first glance, I thought he had stuffed them...maybe heart-shaped ravioli next year, huh Noona?

  2. Thanks Greg. He is keen to make his own pasta again, but maybe with the pasta machine next time. I will encourage him to put heart shaped ravioli on the menu!