| 18.4°C Dublin

Donal Skehan's simple weeknight pasta suppers - seafood linguine, risotto and Italian mash-up

A 15-minute seafood linguine, a cheat’s risotto and an Italian mash-up that breaks all the rules

Close

Zesty Crab & Courgette Linguine. Pictures: Donal Skehan

Zesty Crab & Courgette Linguine. Pictures: Donal Skehan

Brie, Pancetta & Caramelised Onion Pappardelle

Brie, Pancetta & Caramelised Onion Pappardelle

Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Courgette

Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Courgette

Crab pasta

Crab pasta

/

Zesty Crab & Courgette Linguine. Pictures: Donal Skehan

My joy for pasta, in every form, never falters. It’s a long-term love affair that began humbly with my mum’s Irish-style spaghetti bolognese in the 1990s and was cemented at the kitchen tables of Italian nonnas while I filmed a TV series years ago in Italy.


As you travel through different regions in the country, it’s easy to understand the passion Italians have for their food. Each boasts its own unique food culture, complete with classic dishes, pasta shapes, and specific ingredients.

In central Italy, you can find guanciale, the cured pork jowl which unlocks the secret to the most authentic carbonara. And some of the freshest seafood I have ever tasted informs the kitchens and dinner tables of the south.

There are plenty of dishes for us home cooks to borrow inspiration from for simple weeknight meals that evoke the essence of an Italian trattoria.

As spring turns our attention to lighter meals and a new season of ingredients to choose from, this crab and courgette linguine is an ideal way to herald the change in cooking — a fresh, tasty, 15-minute seafood pasta that is spectacular eaten al fresco.

Use a julienne peeler to make easy work of the courgette, and toss through some rocket leaves if you fancy an additional peppery green bite. You’ll find crab meat cooked in tubs and vacuum packs in most supermarkets and fishmongers. Don’t skimp on the brown meat — it’s essential for providing depth to the dish.

Next up, a cheat’s spring risotto with orzo, mint, and courgette. Orzo is great to stir through soups and stews to add bulk and a silky, starchy finish. It also requires a good deal less cooking time than arborio rice and not half as much stirring as for a traditional risotto.

Lastly, I present to you the type of bowl of stodge and starch required after a long week. Reach for my completely non-Italian mash-up that breaks many rules — all in the name of flavour. Brie is stirred through fresh egg pappardelle, with chunks of salty pancetta, sweet cherry tomatoes, and caramelised onion tagliatelle.

Brie, Pancetta & Caramelised Onion Pappardelle

Close

Brie, Pancetta & Caramelised Onion Pappardelle

Brie, Pancetta & Caramelised Onion Pappardelle

Brie, Pancetta & Caramelised Onion Pappardelle

Home & Property Newsletter

Get the best home, property and gardening stories straight to your inbox every Saturday

This field is required

Time: 45 mins Serves: 4

Ingredients
4 tbsp olive oil
40g unsalted butter
2 large onions, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
125g pancetta, diced
200g brie, ripe, at room temperature and diced
250g fresh egg pappardelle
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the butter in a large pan over a high heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onions are caramelised. This should take about 30-40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a
roasting tin, drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil, season, and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
4. Once the onion is cooked, scoop out of the pan. Return the pan to a medium-high heat and cook the pancetta for 5-6 minutes until golden. Return the onion to the pan, and add the roasted cherry tomatoes and diced brie.
5. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes, then remove with tongs and add to the pan over a low heat. Toss to combine, letting the heat melt the brie. Serve straight away.

Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Courgette

Close

Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Courgette

Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Courgette

Cheat’s Spring Risotto with Orzo, Mint & Courgette

Time 25 mins Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
25g unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves stripped
350g orzo pasta
750ml hot vegetable or chicken stock
2 large courgettes, coarsely grated
100g frozen peas
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a squeeze of juice
125ml double cream
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
65g Pecorino (or vegetarian alternative), grated
50g baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Method
1. Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes before adding the lemon thyme leaves and orzo. Stir together, then add 600ml of the stock and the courgette. Season well, then cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the peas, lemon zest, the rest of the stock and the cream and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
3. Fold in the mint, Pecorino and baby spinach and cook until the spinach has gently wilted. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, a good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and lots of black pepper.

Zesty Crab & Courgette Linguine

Close

Zesty Crab & Courgette Linguine. Pictures: Donal Skehan

Zesty Crab & Courgette Linguine. Pictures: Donal Skehan

Zesty Crab & Courgette Linguine. Pictures: Donal Skehan

Time 15 mins Serves 4

Ingredients
400g linguine
1 tbsp olive oil
30g unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded finely chopped
Finely grated zest of a lemon and a good squeeze of juice
2 courgettes, julienned or coarsely grated
50g brown crab meat
200g white crab meat
3 tbsp finely chopped chervil or parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the linguine, and cook for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Reserve about 175ml of the cooking liquid just before draining.
2. To make the sauce, heat the oil and butter in a pan over a medium-high heat and gently fry the garlic, chilli and lemon zest for a few minutes. Add the courgette and increase the heat and fry for a couple more minutes.
3. Stir in the brown crab meat and cook for 30 seconds. Add 125ml of the pasta cooking water, season and stir to combine.
4. Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce. Then fold through white crab meat, with a splash more water if needed, and the herbs. Serve with a good squeeze of lemon juice and a grinding of black pepper.



Most Watched





Privacy