Pork, rosemary and white bean ravioli with a chilli tomato sauce (Serves 4)

Now there is a little effort involved in making fresh pasta. But if we want to keep food costs down, we need to make more meals from scratch. Not only is it cheap to make your own pasta, it's also a great deal better tasting than any dried pasta or shop bought fresh pasta.

The pork filling is surprisingly rich and the chillies in the tomato sauce really work well with the simple and clean flavour of the pasta. For me this dish is a marriage made in heaven.

Ingredients

  • 475g of fresh pork mince, British freedom outdoor reared (£2)
  • 1 can of haricot beans (39p)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (30p)
  • 1 green chilli (9p)
  • 20g of fresh rosemary (79p)
  • 1 medium red onion (14p)
  • 500g of creamed tomatoes (46p)
  • Spandoni double zero flour (£1.39)

The cupboard staples...

Olive oil, salt, black pepper, tomato puree and 2 eggs.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at Sainsbury's, where it came to £5.56 - that's £1.39 per head!

Instructions

  • Let's make the filling for the ravioli first as we need the mixture to be chilled right down and you can make it up to 2 days in advance if you wish.
  • Finely chop a red onion and sauté off in a little olive oil until translucent and softened. Then add the pork mince (season with salt and lots of black pepper) and cook off until nice and browned all over and then the haricot beans. Now add three cloves of finely chopped garlic and the finely chopped rosemary - lower to a medium heat and add some water (around half a cup) and 2 tablespoons of tomato puree. Reduce the mixture down to the consistency of a bolognaise. Set to one side and allow to cool right down.
  • The accompanying sauce can also be made in advance if you wish, and re-heated. Get a pan on the heat with a little olive oil and gently sauté two cloves of finely sliced garlic and 1 green chilli (seeds optional - I would include them). Watch you don't burn the chilli of garlic. Now add the creamed tomatoes and season. Then add a little splash of water and a pinch of sugar and reduce the sauce on a low heat for around 15 minutes to develop the flavours.
  • Now to make the fresh pasta. I'm sure there are many methods to make fresh pasta but I find this way the easiest in the absence of a pasta rolling machine. Place 5oz of the pasta flour in a food processor along with 1 whole egg, the yolk of one egg and a pinch of salt. You'll need to keep the processor ticking over for around 2 minutes until the mixture turns to a breadcrumb consistency - once you have a breadcrumb consistency turn out onto a cold floured surface and shape into a ball, then knead really well for 90 seconds. Clingfilm and place in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  • After 45 minutes (now the pasta has rested) break off a golf ball sized piece and roll out with a rolling pin. The dough will be a little sticky so keep dusting with flour and keep the dough moving on the surface. Keep rolling out until you reach a paper thin sheet of pasta. Lay to one side on a lightly floured surface and repeat until all the dough has been rolled into sheets. Don't worry about the shape of the sheets as we'll cut them out to a nice shape.
  • Now to make the raviolis. Use a standard circular biscuit cutter (or an up turned glass if you don't have) and cut as many discs as you can - there will be ample for 4 persons. Then place 2 teaspoons of the filling on to each disc and wet the top half of the circle with a little water (not too much). Then fold the circle in half and pinch to seal the ravioli (make sure you get the air out of the ravioli and the dough is nicely sealed or they will take on water when you cook).
  • To cook the raviolis get a large pan of salted water up to the boil (heat the chilli tomato sauce up to a simmer whilst the water comes up to the boil). Place the raviolis in the water and cook for 4-5 minutes - remove with a slotted spoon to drain off any excess water and serve with the hot chilli tomato sauce, a twist of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil (parmesan optional).
  • Happy eating!

Sausage and leek casserole with parsley dumplings (Serves 4)

It's snowing outside as I type this so I've made a last minute recipe change to reflect the current climate - this simple dish can be thrown together really quickly when you get back from work and is ready in 2 hours. This really is a recipe that epitomises winter and the dumplings give it that extra stay indoors lift.

Leeks are also well in season at the moment so let's take advantage of this classic vegetable and embrace the winter!

Ingredients

  • 8 butchers made sausages (from any good local butchers around £3.30)
  • 500g of leeks (84p)
  • 1 large red onion (22p)
  • 600g of potatoes (62p)
  • 300g of carrots (24p)
  • 35g of fresh parsley (68p)

The cupboard staples...

Olive oil, salt, black pepper, bay leaves (2), chicken stock cubes (2), garlic (2 cloves), plain flour, baking powder and a little milk.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco (and your local butchers), where it came to £5.90 - that's £1.47 per head!

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  • It's important to brown the sausages first in a large frying pan to get some flavour going (use a little olive oil in the pan to get them going). Once the sausages are browned all over place in a casserole dish.
  • Now to prep the vegetables; finely slice the onions, finely chop the garlic and cut the potatoes, carrots and leeks into roughly the same larger cuts. I would cut to 1 inch in length pieces as we don't want them to breakdown too much in the stew.
  • Add all the vegetables to the same frying pan and get a little colour on them. Again, once browned add to the casserole dish - deglaze the pan with a little stock (or white wine if you have) and also add to the casserole dish.
  • Season the mixture well with salt and pepper and add two bay leaves - then pour over 750ml of hot chicken stock and place in the oven with a lid on for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • We can now make the parsley dumplings. Grab a large bowl and sift in 9oz of plain flour then add 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and the finely chopped parsley. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and gradually add some milk until the mixture forms into a dough consistency. This mixture will make around 14 to 16 teaspoon sized dumplings - roll out the dumplings in your hands with a little flour to avoid sticking.
  • After the casserole has been in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, take out and turn the oven up to 200C. Add the dumplings, put back in the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes remove the lid, turn the oven up to 220C and cook for 10 to 15 minutes so you get some colour on the dumplings that have risen to the top.
  • Happy eating!