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30 minute meals

What’s for dinner?

The art of mid-week cooking is to find tasty, healthy recipes that can be prepared quickly and simply. These 3 dishes can be served up in less than 30 minutes.

Authentic carbonara

If you’ve ever eaten carbonara in a British restaurant, you’ve probably had the stodgy version – with chunky mushrooms and lashings of cream. But the authentic recipe is entirely cream-free. First, put 500g of pasta on to boil as per the instructions on the packet, then fry 150g of pancetta (or bacon lardons) in olive oil. When the pancetta/bacon is nearly done (you’ll want it crisp and golden) add a clove of crushed garlic and fry together for one minute.

Next, crack one whole egg into a bowl, add 4 yolks plus 30g of grated parmesan – then season well and whisk it into a sauce.

When the pasta is done, drain (keep a little of the cooking water to one side) and put it back in the pan together with your egg mix and a tablespoon of the cooking water. Stir well and the heat of the pasta will cook the egg. Finally, stir in the pancetta/bacon and garlic and serve, topping with a handful of grated cheese.

Pasta with tuna and broccoli

Take 400g of dried fusilli and boil in a pan. Five minutes before it’s done, add half a dozen broccoli florets. While the pasta and broccoli is cooking, take two cans of tuna in olive oil, drain the oil into a frying pan and add 1 kilo of chopped canned tomatoes plus a cup of water. Now bring to the boil and simmer.

Next, take 250g of soft cheese and stir into the tomatoes and oil until melted. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the frying pan. Add the tuna and stir in well. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish and sprinkle a handful of grated Cheddar over the top before popping it under the grill for about 5 minutes. Serve with wholemeal crusty bread and a side salad.

Simple vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Take a big frying pan, add a good glug of olive oil then fry off a chopped onion and a couple of crushed garlic cloves together with salt, pepper and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Add a large tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Next, drain a tin of lentils, stir them into the sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, boil half a kilo of spaghetti. Once it’s cooked, drain and add the pasta to the frying pan, then give it all a good stir. If you’ve any parmesan in the fridge (or any cheese you like), grate a little over each serving, and arrange a handful of mixed leaves on the side. Buon appetito!

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