These three little gems – the delicious. Spice, Slow and Indulge collection from ABC Books – arrived in my letter box just before Easter, in the same week as I received the brilliant KitchenAid Pasta Roller Set. The planets aligned, my cooking mojo was rising and the husband was away at the Byron Bay Blues Fest, leaving me with plenty of spare time, so both the books and the pasta rollers got a thorough workout! I love delicious. cookbooks for their reliability and versatility and this little collection of bite-sized books don’t let the side down. Collated from the delicious. cookbook collection of Valli Little recipes, these three separate small-format books include all of the design and layout features I’ve come to expect, with each book containing 60 must-have recipes.
My youngest daughter and I sat down and drooled our way through the three books before selecting several to make. The very first was the Massaman Roast Chicken featured on the cover of “Slow”. Okay, I’m just going to say it – this is one of the most drop-dead gorgeous things I’ve ever made. Most of the ingredients were easy for me to get my hands on, even from my tiny local Adelaide Hills supermarket, and the dish is a doddle to make – an essential requirement for most of my cooking. There were only two of us home the night I cooked this divine chook so there were plenty of leftovers, which I shredded up and took, along with the leftover sauce, to a wood-oven pizza party the next day. Along with the onions I had caramelised that morning (thank god for the adjustable slicing function on the KitchenAid Food Processor) I created the pizza sensation of the day. Really – you need to make this chicken!
However, I’m going to torture you by not sharing that particular recipe. You’ll just have to get the book.
Over the course of the Easter weekend we also made Chicken with Butter Bean Puree & Crispy Chorizo, Swedish Apple Cake and Make-Ahead Lasagne. I made pasta from scratch for the first time in Manila a few weeks back, while a guest of the KitchenAid Gourmet Summit, and couldn’t wait to try it at home so making the lasagne was an absolute must. Each of the recipes is beautifully photographed, simple to follow and a delicious success. Really, you can’t ask any more from a cookbook than that. The fact that so many of the dishes in the books inspired us to get into the cooking frenzy in the first place says it all, too.
I’m sharing the Make-Ahead Lasagne recipe today as I think it is the perfect weekend dish – quick to put together, filling and tasty. If you haven’t made pasta from scratch before I’d urge you to give it a try. I’m as lazy as all get-out, but am now a convert. Using the stand mixer or food processor and the pasta rollers it was faster to make this than it was to get into the car and go down to the store – I kid you not.
- 2 cups plain flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 generous pinch of salt
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 500 gm beef mince
- 500 gm fresh ricotta
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup torn basil leaves
- 120 gms finely grated parmesan
- 600 mls good quality tomato sugo I used Lucia's, fresh made here in Adelaide
- 250 gms grated mozarella
- 250 gms bocconcini sliced
- Place flour, salt & eggs in food processor and pulse until it comes together in a ball. Place on lightly floured surface and knead briefly to make smooth. Pat into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Attach pasta roller to stand mixer and run dough through, beginning at the lowest setting and working up until you achieve the desired thickness. Cut to size.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 22cm x 33cm baking dish.
- Fry the beef in the oil in a pan over medium heat until well browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
- Combine ricotta, eggs, basil and half the parmesan in a bowl and season. Set aside.
- Line the baking dish with one third of the lasagne sheets. Spread with one third of the pasta sauce, then top with half of the ricotta mix and half of the meat. Sprinkle with half of the mozarella. Repeat the layers, then top with the remaining pasta sheets and spread with the remaining pasta sauce. Arrange sliced bocconcini on top and sprinkle the remaining parmesan.
- Cover with a layer of baking paper, then a layer of foil.
- At this stage it can be refigerated for up to one day.
- Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil and paper and bake for further 20 minutes.
- Allow to stand for 15 minutes before slicing to serve.
The delicious. cookbooks, Slow, Spice and Indulge were sent to me by ABC Books as review copies.
The KitchenAid Pasta Roller Set was kindly supplied by KitchenAid Australia.
The beautiful, blue KitchenAid stand mixer is my very own – and no, eldest daughter, you can’t have it!