pasta, lasagna & sauces

roasted pumpkin tortellini with sage butter

30th January 2018

Making tortellini does require a little patience and time; however, the final result is worth every fiddly moment, and if you get everyone on board in the assembly line filling up the table, it speeds up the process and allows for a wonderfully intimate and fun afternoon together.

roasted pumpkin tortellini with sage butter

4 servings

The fulsome sage butter is soft and simple allowing the pumpkin tortellini to shine through. The addition of the fried sage leaves adds a nice crunch which contrasts with the silkiness of the tortellini.

The inspiration for this post is found here.


½ portion pasta dough

pumpkin filling

1 kg pumpkin

1 Tbsp melted ghee/butter

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp fine rock salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

sage butter and toasted leaves

60g unsalted butter

40 sage leaves – divided

salt and pepper, to taste

4 Tbsp peanut oil

to serve

pine nut parmesan

few rounds of black pepper

a sprinkling of fine rock salt


1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2. To make the filling, slice the unpeeled pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then slice each half into 5-6 wedges and place in a large bowl. Drizzle over the melted ghee or butter and toss with your hands until the wedges are sufficiently coated.

3.  Arrange on a lined baking tray and roast for 30 – 40 minutes until soft. Allow to cool and scoop the pulp away from its skin with a spoon and place in a medium bowl and with a hand blender, puree until smooth. Allow to drain through a cloth or fine sieve for 1 hour.

4.  Place the pumpkin back into the bowl and sprinkle over the nutmeg, salt and pepper; stir to combine.

5.  Prepare the dough; divide the pasta dough into thirds. Work with one piece at a time and keep the other pieces covered. Follow the detailed instructions here. Roll your dough as thin as possible – #6 on pasta roller.

6.  To shape the tortellini, cut the sheet of pasta into rounds using a 3-inch cutter or tin. Gather the scraps into a ball and put them with the remaining pieces of dough to roll later.

7.  To fill the tortellini, place 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle of each round. (Don’t be tempted to overfill; otherwise, they will break and you will have difficulty sealing them.) Dip your finger in a water bowl and run it along the edges of the circle. Fold the rounds into a crescent shape, pressing the top together carefully, pressing out any air trapped inside, and then working your way along the sides. Bend the bottom two corners round to meet each other and press well to seal. Set aside, spacing them apart slightly, on a well-floured board, covered.

8.  Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, re-rolling the scraps. (It is important to work on a well-floured surface to avoid the tortellini sticking as you repeat with remaining pieces of dough.) Cover with a cloth, or lightly dust them with semolina flour if you are making them a few hours in advance.

9.  When ready to cook, bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, make the sage butter.

sage butter

10.  Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add half the sage leaves and season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside.

11.  Toast the remaining sage leaves in a small skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat and fry 6 – 8 sage leaves until crisp, 2–3 seconds. Transfer with a fork to paper towels.

12.  Once the water is boiling, gently drop the tortellini and cook 1 ½ – 2 minutes – they will rise to the top. Gently lift out with a slotted spoon onto individual plates.

13.  To serve, drizzle with the sage butter, sprinkle over a few spoons of pine nut parmesan, a few rounds of pepper, and decorate with the crispy sage leaves. The tortellini goes well with a plate of sauteed kale or nettles.

Jonathan’s Sunday night pasta sauce

8th September 2017

garden tomatoes & marigold - 1 (1)

Sunday night is pasta night and has become a regular for years now, mainly because we cook a lot of Indian and it was requested by our children to be guaranteed a  ‘normal’ non-Indian meal at least once a week! It started off as a special weekend dish my husband would cook, and slowly my son started helping out by chopping vegetables and now he is in charge and has taken on the important role of making the pasta sauce. This past year, focaccia has become a regular at the pasta table, and recently I have been making my own pasta.

garden tomatoes & marigold - 1 (2)garden tomatoes & marigold - 1 (5) garden tomatoes & marigold - 1

~Marigold (Tagetes patula flowers).  The genus name for marigold (Tagetes) comes from the Etruscan god ‘Tages’ – the god of wisdom. It’s common popular name, ‘marigold’, comes from “Mary’s gold” after Mother Mary.  In Hinduism, too, the flower symbolizes auspiciousness. The saffron/orange colour signifies renunciation and is offered to God as a symbol of surrender.

The plant’s odour and root hormones scare many animals and insects from the garden. Marigolds are often used in companion planting for tomatoes, eggplants, chilli peppers and potatoes.

jonathan´s pasta sauce - 1 (3)

sunday night pasta sauce

Preparation 2 hours

Serves 6 – good for 500g pasta

For everyone who has joined us for pasta night!


⅓ – ½ cup peanut/olive oil or to generously cover the base of a large saucepan

¼ heaped tsp asafoetida powder

1½ cups/155g celery

2 heaped Tbsp ginger, finely chopped 

2 cups/220g carrots

1½ cups/125g red bell pepper

1 x 140g tube tomato paste

1.5 kg/16 medium plump Roma tomatoes

3 heaped tsp fine rock salt

3 heaped tsp jaggery

to serve 

half portion home-made vegan pasta

pine nut parmesan

bowl steamed broccoli & kale, or grilled zucchini slices.


1.  Wash the vegetables and finely chop the celery, ginger, carrot and red pepper.  Set aside in their own piles on a chopping board.  Cut the base off the tomatoes, and cut each tomato into quarters. Set aside.

2.  Over medium heat, pour the oil to fill the base of a large pot, add the asafoetida powder – fry for 30 seconds, then add celery –  fry until the celery starts to soften, add ginger and carrot, simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.

3.  Add in the red pepper, simmer for 3 – 4 minutes more, then clear a space in the middle of the vegetables and squeeze in the concentrate; add the tomatoes and give everything a good stir – simmer, uncovered over medium heat for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of cooking, stir in the salt and jaggery.

If the sauce is very liquid, leave uncovered. Not very liquid; leave covered but with the lid ajar.

4.  Once the sauce is ready, roughly puree using an immersion blender.  Serve with your choice of pasta, a sprinkling of pine nut parmesan, grilled zucchini, steamed broccoli or beans.

jonathan´s pasta sauce - 1 (2)

Goodness shared by Stacey, Jonathan & Elijah

raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green garden dressing

3rd October 2016


This recipe was created last year for a series of raw dishes for Holmes Place, however, I never got around to posting it here.  Also included, was this raw carrot slice and refreshing, light gazpacho. A wonderful addition would be Donna’s roasted thyme-infused cherry tomatoes, and for a more substantial meal, you could even use a combination of zucchini noodles and home-made pasta.

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~ Garden, bursting with beans and zucchini


raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green  garden dressing

This is a light, refreshing raw meal and makes a great pasta replacement.  I love how the zucchini noodles behave so similarly to pasta. Tossed with a creamy herb dressing, it is a perfect meal on a hot Summer’s day. And is perfect for using up the surplus of summer zucchini in the garden.  

Serves 4 

Recipe slightly adapted from here.

for the noodles 

2 large/800g mixed zucchini (yellow and green zucchini are always nice)

½ tsp fine Himalayan salt

for the creamy garden dressing 

½ cup raw cashews (soaked overnight/a minimum of 4 hours)

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

½ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves

freshly ground pepper

pine nut parmesan for sprinkling

make the noodles 

1.  Wash, dry and cut the ends off the zucchini.  Take a box grater and place it on its side – the side with the largest grating holes on it face up; with pressure and in long strokes, push the zucchini along the top of the grater in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini.  Or alternatively, use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to make long ribbons.


2.  Sprinkle the zucchini with the salt, toss gently, and place in a colander over a bowl for 20 minutes, allowing the excess liquid in the zucchini to drain, then carefully and gently squeeze the zucchini over the colander.  Pat with a clean, absorbent kitchen towel to dry and soak up more of the liquid.

creamy garden dressing 

3. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and place in a high-speed blender or food processor, with the water, vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice – blend until smooth and creamy.  

4. Add the basil, parsley and mint leaves and blend again until the herbs are well incorporated.

to assemble 

5.  Using your hands, gently toss the zucchini with about three-quarters of the dressing.  

6.  Sprinkle over the pine nut parmesan, a few rounds of fresh pepper and toss again, using more dressing if needed.  

To serve, garnish with more pine nut parmesan, and small leaves of basil and mint.  This dish is best served immediately.


Goodness shared by Stacey

cherry tomato sauce

5th July 2011


As promised in Stacey’s last post, I have finally finished this ‘Cherry Tomato Sauce’ post.  (Thanks for the pics, Stace).

Ever since sampling the ‘real’ pizzas in Italy a few years ago and hunting down the ‘authentic’ ones here, I have been experimenting with a sauce that replicates the simple version they use.  This is as close as I can get it at the moment. I have discovered that to achieve that ‘real’ tomatoey taste, frying off the tomatoes in hot olive oil, so they caramelise, and a long-simmering and resting time is a must.

After reading Stacey’s ‘Lasagne with a Creamy Basil Sauce’ post, it reminded me of that lasagne I sampled many a time at her place, so I was inspired to make it myself, using this sauce as the base. I did not have any cream, so I substituted yoghurt instead which worked quite well.  Next time, I’ll try ricotta instead of the cream.  A very tasty lasagne, perfect for Winter and perfect for left-overs, which seems to be my eating habits at the moment.

My other favourite uses for this sauce are: tossed through spaghetti and a generous helping of shaved parmesan and fresh, torn basil leaves; or as a pizza sauce on wholemeal Lebanese bread with bocconcini and mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves.  Very simple, and a quick, tasty snack.

cherry tomato sauce

ingredients :

1 large punnet/700g cherry tomatoes

2 Tbsp good quality olive oil

2 – 3 sprigs fresh oregano

3 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 – 2 tsp sea salt flakes

fresh, cracked black pepper

50g tomato paste (approx. 2 heaped tab.)

approx. ¼ cup water (enough to ensure a sauce consistency)

1 Tbsp raw sugar


1.  Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan (should be hot enough so that herbs sizzle when added), add whole herb sprigs (no need to chop) and toss in the hot oil so that the flavour infuses and herbs turn bright green.

2.  Add whole cherry tomatoes (yes, no need to chop), toss so that all are coated in oil and add salt and plenty of pepper.  Leave to sizzle on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Mix in tomato paste and sugar.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let stew away for about 1 hour.

4.  Turn off heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning (sugar, salt and pepper).  Use as-is, without straining or mashing (some tomatoes should still be somewhat whole), or if prefer a smoother sauce, strain so that seeds and skins are removed.  I prefer the unstrained version as the chunks are quite tasty.

Serve immediately with a dish of choice (pasta or as a pizza sauce), or if using later, let sit covered at room temperature.  Freezes well in airtight containers.


Goodness shared by Donna

lasagna with a creamy vegan pesto sauce

5th June 2011

I found gold today at the back of the garden, next to the chicken coop under a neglected grapefruit tree.  Gardener’s gold in the form of well-rotted chicken and geese poo, mixed with lots and lots of hay, garden scraps, the odd bit of newspaper and grass clippings. Sitting there for months and months after the chicken house was cleaned and decomposing with abundant nutrients and goodness.  Not totally composted, but perfect for use as mulch for the vegetable garden.  I managed four heaped wheelbarrows and spread this gold over at least three triangles of my garden. This will keep the weeds at bay and then be dug back into the soil for the next lot of vegetables.  I could feel the vibrations of all the recently planted little summer seedlings saying, “Thank you, thank you.”  Tiny and green and full of hope, adventure and abundance – promises of good things to come.

The tomato sauce is one I use for a pizza base and pasta sauce and is perfect for this lasagna.  In Summer, I use fresh tomatoes from the garden, and basil leaves when they are obscenely abundant.  I ensure this sauce has long, slow cooking to give it a depth of flavour and richness in texture.  Serve with a crisp fresh, green leaf salad from the garden.

This is quite a decadent lasagna, or at least for me, but it is so delicious.  It is something which we spoil ourselves each month.  The chopped walnuts on top give the lasagna a more robust taste.


lasagna with a creamy vegan pesto sauce

Serves 4 – 5


1 packet lasagna sheets (four layers in a 13 x 8-inch deep baking dish) or make your own using 320g  durum wheat at #5 

1 large/430g eggplant

½ cup roughly chopped walnut and pine nut parmesan

tomato sauce 

¼ cup olive oil

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 x 10cm twigs fresh rosemary

¼ tsp chilli flakes

1 fresh bay leaf

1 large/220g fennel bulb, cut into thick rounds

2 medium/130g carrots, chopped

1 medium/100g red bell pepper

1 x 140g tube tomato paste

1kg ripe cherry tomatoes

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

1 heaped tsp sugar

creamy pesto sauce  (avoiding cashews? See below for a vegan white sauce alternative)

2 – 4 big bunches basil (110g basil leaves, stems removed)

1 cup/135g raw cashew nuts – soaked in hot water for half an hour

1 cup nut milk

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

pinch fine rock salt

tomato sauce 

1.  Wash the cherry tomatoes and leave them whole; chop the fennel into thick rounds, chop the carrot and red pepper (I like to keep the vegetables quite chunky, especially the fennel) – set aside.

2.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, drizzle in the oil, add fennel and fry until it starts to soften; add oregano, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and chilli flakes, fry for 1 minute, then stir in vegetables and tomato paste – simmer 5 minutes.

3.   Add whole cherry tomatoes, cover and simmer gently for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, rosemary, oregano and thyme stalks, and add sugar and salt.  Set aside.


4. Cut the eggplant into ¼ inch slices. Oil a large skillet and add the eggplant slices in a single layer. Working in batches, saute the eggplant on both sides, until completely soft, tender, and caramelized. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding oil between batches, until done.

creamy basil pesto 

5.  Drain the cashews and add to blender with the nut milk –  blend until creamy; add basil leaves, salt and pepper, and blend again until well incorporated.  You want the sauce quite thick. Set aside.


6.  Ladle 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of lasagna sheets, add a layer of tomato sauce, lasagna sheet and another layer of tomato sauce, a layer of eggplant, then half the pesto cream. Add a layer of eggplant, remaining pesto cream, a layer of lasagna sheets and remaining tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with walnuts.


7.  Preheat the oven to 190C/350F.  Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove a sprinkle with pine nut parmesan (or a light sprinkle of nutritional yeast) and fresh basil leaves. 

Serve with your favourite green salad.


white sauce


750ml oat milk or whole milk

4 fresh bay leaves

1 stick celery

8 black peppercorns

60g vegan block butter or regular butter

60g plain flour

50 g nutritional yeast or 100g grated parmesan cheese

rock salt and freshly ground pepper


to be continued…..

Goodness shared by Stacey

pesto pasta with roasted baby vegetables

18th November 2009

My veggie garden has become ‘weeded’ all of a sudden.  When it rains, the plants thrive, however so do those weeds, and even though I intend to hit them at their first sighting, within a few days of neglect, a ‘carpet’ appears.  This unpleasant sight greeted me when I headed out to pull up some baby beetroot, slice off some baby zucchini and squash for the pasta dish I had in mind.  I had decided to use the dill and parsley pesto I made last weekend, mixed with my favourite labne and tossed through roasted baby vegetables from the garden.  Confronted with the ‘unwanted carpet’, I knew this was going to take some time, so I made a feeble attempt of pulling out some of the weeds, but my heart wasn’t in it…..tomorrow I would face it.  My pasta awaits!


dill & parsley pesto pasta with roasted baby vegetables


500g pumpkin, peeled and roughly diced

2 – 3 baby zucchini, whole

2 – 3 baby crookneck squash, whole (or similar)

2 baby beetroot, cut in quarters

6 cherry Roma tomatoes, whole

olive oil

sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper

spaghetti (or a favourite gluten-free pasta)

3 Tbsp dill and parsley pesto (or favourite pesto)

2 Tbsp labne


1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line flat baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Toss all vegetables in a bowl, add a generous dash of olive oil.

3.  Spread in one layer on baking tray and roast until tender (about 30 – 40 min), turning once.

4.  Cook pasta of choice.

5.  Meanwhile, in a serving bowl, mix together pesto and labne – set aside.

6.  When pasta is cooked, add to the serving dish, mix in pesto and add roasted vegetables and salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Shared goodness from Donna

red pepper & tomato sauce with chilli

9th September 2009


Cherry tomatoes, green and red capsicum and red chillies are abundant in my garden, so this was a welcome inspiration when stuck for a quick dinner.  The recipe was inspired by a beautiful cookbook that Donna gave me for my birthday called ITALIAN KITCHEN by Maxine Clark.

I cook with chillies often, but mostly, I keep them whole and safely intact…that is, until today.  This recipe wanted them halved and deseeded!  Now, I was under the impression that if you took out the seeds, out goes the fiery heat; this is not the case, as I found out the hard way, or at least not with these garden chillies.  And having undertaken this with my fingers, they are still warm and fuzzy this morning.  So what I had to do after chopping the deseeded chillies and adding them to the sauteing capsicum was to fish them all out again.  Having successfully recovered 90 per cent, the sauce was still fiery but pretty amazing.  So when cooking this, you must use your judgement and knowledge of the chillis available and your limitation of fiery spice.



fiery red pepper sauce

Serves 2


1 sweet red pepper (capsicum)

1 large fresh red chilli, halved and deseeded

4 Tbsp  extra virgin olive oil

15 cherry tomatoes (or two big ripe tomatoes)

2 Tbsp freshly chopped basil

1 tsp jaggery/sugar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

a handful of green olives (deseeded)

freshly grated parmesan cheese


1.  Dice the pepper (capsicum) into medium pieces and finely chop the chillies (be careful and use your judgment as noted above).

2.  Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the chillies and peppers; cook slowly for 20 minutes or until soft.

3. Dunk the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, slip off the skins, and chop the flesh coarsely.

4.  Add the tomatoes, jaggery/sugar and season with salt and pepper – half cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes until well reduced and soft and thick.

5.  Stir in the fresh basil and toss with your cooked pasta.  Throw in a handful of roughly chopped green olives and parmesan cheese.


Shared goodness by Stacey

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