I chatted to two very lovely ladies on the radio last week. We chatted about food, sustainability, cooking within the Seasons, my own family and so needless to say, the time passed way too fast. I could chat all day on these topics – they are all that I love! By the time we were wrapping up, it was just on 6pm. My sweet & thoughtful husband had rushed home a little earlier from work to take our daughters out for a walk around the neighborhood (many bonus points to him) so that the listeners of the show would not be privileged to the yelps, squeals and hollers of “what’s for dinner” that generally take place in our home around that time of night. Not a great way to boost a show’s ratings! As we were winding up, I was put on the spot and asked what I would be enjoying for dinner with my family that night. During the show I had been talking about the varieties of tomato plants we had put in recently. Tomatoes are coming in to season and are just starting to show us their sweetness. “It’s only ‘up’ from here” I commented. In another month or two, tomatoes will be at their best and I will start my annual glorious tomato nirvana. Throw in a few of your own tomato plants now and by Christmas, you will be enjoying your own glorious tomato nirvana too.
I knew the family would bust through the door and head to their favourite place (& mine), the kitchen, at any moment. I crept in to the pantry whilst still being interviewed. Tomatoes were now all I could think about. I threw our vine-ripened tomatoes on to a baking tray, drizzled them with a little olive oil and tried to quietly open the oven door. Success! No one was aware that I was at my multi tasking best at that very moment but then it all went horribly wrong. I banged my head on the edge of the stove, whilst straightening up and although I managed to muffle my cursing and hide my pain, the oven door slammed shut with a mighty bang. “Dinner is on” I commented and laughed – now just trying desperately to make light of the situation. The doorbell then rang for all to hear. Turns out it was one of my closest friends. Not her fault. This is one of the joys of trying to juggle (not always well) home life with running a busy business and working from your own home. Everyone heard it and thankfully found it pretty funny but with the rapid decline I knew it would be safer for me to say my goodbyes and save any small skeric of professionalism I may have left. I needed to get cooking. After all the lovely ‘foodie’ talk, this simple dish is what I craved and what we all enjoyed just a short time later.
My family are my guinea pigs and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Much of what I add to our cooking class menus at Relish Mama is first tested on my wonderful family. Cooking for me is all about the process of creating something with my hands and heart that I can share with others. They are the most beautiful people to share with and they all adored this pasta. I hope you do too!
Spaghetti with roast tomatoes, peas and a Gruyere and Parmesan cheese sauce
250g vine-ripened tomatoes
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups of peas (fresh or frozen)
500-600g spaghetti (500g is sufficient if some of those eating are children)
1 cup of cream
100g Gruyere, grated
100g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
Extra virgin olive oil
A good handful of basil leaves
The zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 180oC.
Place the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil as well as sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the peas in boiling water for 4 minutes or until almost cooked. Strain and place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain once cool.
Cook the pasta in a large pot filled with rapidly boiling salted water. The water should taste of the sea when cooking pasta so don’t skimp on the salt. Cook according to your packet instructions, which will likely be 10 – 12 minutes. Drain and place back in the same cooking pot with a little covering of olive oil.
Place a saucepan or small frying pan on the heat. Pour in the cream and stir. Add the Gruyere and Parmesan and season a little, to taste. Add the cooled peas to the cream and cheese mixture and then pour this on top of your pasta and combine well.
Place on a large serving platter and place your roasted tomatoes and basil leaves on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, grated Parmesan and a little lemon zest. Enjoy immediately.
Thank you to all of you who read and contacted me with such lovely comments regarding this post last week. It truly meant a lot – Thank you and to the gorgeous person (you know who you are) who put these (pic below) on my door step after my Blog post. I cried once more! How kind you are! x