Today Northstar Restaurant head chef Pablo Tacchini whips up easy but oh so delicious recipes from around the world...
FOR MANY people, including me, cooking is always a pleasure, but sometimes we don't have enough time to gather ingredients or try new techniques.
So this time I chose some dishes that I love and use when I want to cook something for dinner that is simple but delicious.
One of the dishes my family and I enjoy most is a really simple one, Tortilla Espanola, or Spanish Tortilla. It is easy to cook, takes just a few minutes and is cheap. You don't need to spend much, or find strange ingredients.
It's a Spanish classic and I'm sure Kiwis will enjoy it if they have never tried it before. In my version, I use chorizo or salami and cheese to make it a more consistent meal.
The pasta dish even kids will enjoy, full of Italian flavour. In this recipe I chose to use Fettuccini pasta but you can use your favourite. And for the dessert, it is another classic. Hazelnuts and chocolate cake - beautiful.
Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla)
1kg agria potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small chorizo sticks, sliced
150gm cubed cheddar cheese
8 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Boil the potatoes until just cooked but still firm. Cool. In a big bowl whisk the eggs with the chilli, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.
In a frying pan over medium-high heat add 2 Tbsp olive oil and cook onions, garlic and peppers until tender. When cooled, transfer to egg mixture. In the same frying pan add 6 Tbsp and sauté potatoes until golden. When cooled, transfer to the egg mixture.
Add the cheese and chorizo to the bowl and mix well, trying not to break the potatoes too much.
Line and grease a 24cm loose-bottom cake tin, transfer the tortilla mixture to the cake tin. With an oven tray underneath, bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top but moist inside.
You can serve this tortilla with a salad, or if you don't use the chorizo and cheese, you can use it as garnish for a steak or roast chicken.
Fettuccini with roasted tomatoes, basil and feta cheese
20 cherry or small vine tomatoes
100gm black olives pitted
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Zest of 1 lemon
Fresh basil leaves
100gm feta cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the tomatoes in a lined baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 4-6 minutes. Cool.
In a large pot, cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. It should be al dente. Reserve cup of the cooking water and strain the pasta. Keep aside.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat add 3 Tbsp of olive oil and cook the garlic for just 3-5 seconds and add the pasta, tomatoes, lemon zest, feta cheese and olives. Mix all the ingredients, add the reserved water and keep cooking for 3-5 minutes. Add the basil leaves, stir, season to taste and serve.
Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnut Cake
200 grams roasted hazelnuts
200 grams butter, chopped
200 grams dark 70 per cent cocoa chocolate, chopped
5 eggs, separated
200 grams caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and fully line a 24cm loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper.
Chop the nuts, or process them until ground.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Set aside to cool.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Put the egg whites in another bowl and whisk to soft peaks. Using a large metal spoon, fold the cooled chocolate and hazelnuts into the egg yolks then fold in the egg whites. Pour into the tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a crust forms and skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, but not uncooked mixture.
Cool completely before removing from the tin.
Serve with cream or ice cream and dust with icing sugar.