Time 30 minutes
This has become my go-to when I’m cooking for friends and family. It’s always a real hit and you get maximum flavour for minimal effort. I pop all of the ingredients into a mini chopper and blitz them so that they’re incredibly finely chopped and really coat the spaghetti in a beautiful ragu-style sauce
100g walnuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, blitzed in a mini chopper or very finely chopped
2 aubergines, blitzed in a mini chopper or very finely chopped
2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley (about 50g)
4 servings of pasta; I use spaghetti or tagliolini (about 75g per person)
sea salt and pepper
For the paste
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons harissa
1 red chilli
juice of 1 lemon
1 × 190g jar sun-dried tomatoes (120g drained weight)
1. Place a frying pan on a high heat and add the walnuts. Toast for about 3 minutes, tossing them a couple of times, then pour them into a small bowl and place to one side.
2. Using the same pan, start the ragu. Pour in the olive oil and warm it over a medium heat, then add the onion and aubergine with some salt and cook for 5 minutes, until they are starting to soften.
3. While they cook, make the paste. Put the garlic, harissa, chilli, sun-dried tomatoes plus 3 tablespoons of olive oil from their jar, and the lemon juice into a mini chopper or food processor and blitz until they form a thick, chunky paste. If you don’t have a processor you can finely chop everything and stir it together. Add the sun-dried tomato mix to the aubergine and cook everything together on a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the veg is tender and the sauce is flavoursome.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water, following the instructions on the pack. Once the pasta is cooked, add 150ml of the pasta water to the ragu, and stir until you have a lovely glossy sauce.
5. Stir in the drained pasta, walnuts and parsley, and cook everything together for a minute or so. Season to taste and serve with lots of pepper.
Time 15 minutes
We all know the feeling of being too tired to cook, when our to-do list feels endless and we want to cut corners – there’s a temptation to skip the healthy option when we need it the most. This is the sort of recipe that I turn to on those days; even a takeaway won’t arrive quicker than you can get this on the table and the butter bean mash with pan-fried greens and crunchy, garlicky almonds will help give you the energy you need to feel your best.
1 × 400g tin of butter beans
grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 handfuls of almonds (about 60g), roughly chopped
½ bunch of flat-leaf parsley (about 10–15g)
150g Tenderstem broccoli
sea salt and black pepper
1. Put the butter beans along with the liquid from the tin into a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the lemon juice.
2. Warm the olive oil in a frying a pan set over a low heat. Add the garlic, chilli and almonds and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden. Remove the pan from the heat and scoop the garlic, chilli and almonds into a small bowl, leaving the oil in the pan. Stir in the parsley, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and set aside.
3. Set the pan back over a medium-high heat and warm the oil that was left in the pan. Add the broccoli and asparagus and cook for 5 minutes, until tender and lightly charred. To do this, let the vegetables sit undisturbed on the pan for 30 seconds or so, then stir and repeat.
4. To serve, spoon the butter bean mash into serving bowls and smooth into an even layer. Add the charred veg, scatter over the garlicky almonds and chilli and finish with a little salt and pepper.