Seafood pasta


Margaret, Ty’s wonderful aunt, had thousands of RCI timeshare points that were going to expire by the end of last year and challenged us to find holiday accommodation for ourselves. We happily took that amazing challenge and sat determined to find the perfect getaway spot close to home. We ended up booking at Kagga Kamma, a gorgeous lodge in Swartruggens Nature Reserve about 250k from Cape Town, for a week in June to celebrate the end of the semester.

From our large chalet (it just sounds so fancy and posh!), you could see rock formations, boulders, desert shrubs, and sand, as far as the eye could see. And for allegedly being the most arid place in South Africa, it sure rained a lot! It was also very chilly and the electricity turned off at 11PM, so it was the perfect occasion for a continual fire, although the wood was so wet due to the rain, that we spent a large majority of the time fanning, blowing, and pouring copious amounts of cooking oil on the wood, begging it to catch. Nonetheless, we spent the entire week eating like gods, lounging around, watching all of the movies and series that we had, playing on the boulders, and faking work.

We invited our friends up for the weekend and our plan was to have a seafood braai feast the night that everyone arrived. However, unfortunately, due to the stormy weather in Cape Town the week before, all the fishies were scared away, but luckily Julie, my awesome fish monger, organized some frozen prawns, calamari, and salmon for me. So, on the Friday that we arrived, I made absolutely divine seafood pasta for my lovely guests, inspired by the Pioneer Woman.

seafood pasta (serves 8)

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 2 tbl butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 heaped tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 300g chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 250g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or a small handful of freshly chopped basil)

For the seafood

  • 500g salmon cut into bitesized cubes
  • 500g calamari tubes and tentacles
  • approximately 40 prawns deheaded and deveined
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1-2 chopped fresh chillis
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 500g pasta

Directions

  1. In a large deep pan, saute the onions and garlic in butter
  2. add the tomatoes, wine, cream, basil, a dash of salt and pepper, and stir
  3. bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for 30 minutes until thickened
  4. about 15 minutes into cooking the sauce, cook the pasta
  5. in another pan, saute the garlic and chili in butter, add the salmon and half the lemon juice, and let cook for a few minutes
  6. toss in the calamari and prawns, add the rest of the lemon juice, and add a dash of salt and pepper
  7. in a few minutes, when the prawns are just beginning to turn pink, remove the seafood from the pan
  8. add the seafood to the sauce and let simmer for another minute or so until the seafood is fully cooked (but be very careful not to overcook the seafood!)
  9. toss the pasta into the sauce and serve with warm, fresh bread

Beth’s Chicken Pie


Chicken pie makes me think of American gradeschool hot lunch meals, comfort food, winter time, boiling hot filling that burns your tongue, and peas and carrots (every kids’ arch nemeses).  However, when Beth, Ty’s mom, told me that she had made homemade chicken pie for her book club ladies and it was a huge success, I was immediately sold! Sold on the fact that Beth’s cooking is delicious, I had not contemplated chicken pie since being a child, the weather was perfectly chilly, and I love trying new recipes.

The next evening I made Beth’s cousin’s wife Elna’s chicken pie all the way from the KwaZulu-Natal.  The chicken pie filling, poured the intriguingly liquid crust on top, baked it in the oven, and was so pleased with the end result – savory and creamy chicken pie topped with a uniquely bread-like rather than flaky crust.  I wonder what Beth’s chicken pie looked like!

Beth’s Chicken Pie

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • oil
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic or a few shakes of garlic powder
  • 2 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken cubed
  • dash of paprika
  • dash of white pepper
  • 250g chopped brown mushrooms
  • 2-3 stalks chopped spring onions
  • 2 stalks chopped leeks
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbl butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 chicken broth
  • 11/2 tbl maizena paste

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup and 1 tsp milk
  • 1/2 cup and 1 tsp oil
  • 1 egg
  • 110g flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • a small handful of chopped spring onions
  • one thinly sliced onion ring

Directions

  1. preheat the oven to 210C
  2. saute the garlic and onions in oil and cook the chicken on high until browned
  3. add the butter, mushrooms, spring onions, leeks, some salt & pepper, a dash of paprika, and a dash of white pepper and cook for about 10 minutes
  4. pour in the white wine, chicken broth, and milk and bring to a boil
  5. reduce the heat, slowly add the maizena paste while stirring, and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes
  6. in a separate bowl, whisk all the pie crust ingredients together excluding the onions (it should be very liquidy)
  7. pour the chicken filling into a pie dish and gently and evenly spread the pie crust mixture on top
  8. sprinkle onion circles and spring onions on top of the crust mixture
  9. bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned

Chicken a la Queen


Every year, my stepmom makes turkey tetrazzini with the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner, which is my absolute favorite meal not only because of its creamy, chicken-y, pasta goodness but also because it is special, in that I have to wait an entire year to enjoy it! When I first moved to South Africa in 2009, I cooked a giant Thanksgiving feast and of course made turkey tetrazzini with the leftovers to continue the tradition all the way in South Africa.

Salford Road Thanksgiving 2009

Ty absolutely loved it and from that moment on, I was determined to incorporate the comforting taste of home into our South African diet and embarked on a journey to create the perfect rendition of turkey tetrazzini.

As I was writing this post, it became evident that my experimentation occurred in phases:

  • Phase 1 – substituted chicken for turkey because it is much more convenient but just as delicious
  • Phase 2 – refined my sauce recipe to perfection
  • Phase 3 – mixed the sauce and pasta together and served immediately as opposed to baking it in the oven because it is quicker and dirties less dishes but is just as delicious
  • Phase 4 – experimented with vegetables to give a healthy flare
  • Phase 5 – learned (kind of) how to exhibit self-control in order to prevent oneself from going back for seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths
  • the most delicious Chicken alla Queen recipe for any and all occasions – not just the day after Thanksgiving!

Chicken alla Queen

Ingredients (serves 2 + leftovers (incase you haven’t realized by now, we love our leftovers))

  • 1 heaped tbl butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 heaped tsp diced garlic
  • 500g shredded rotisserie chicken or homemade boneless skinless herbed chicken breasts
  • 250g sliced brown mushrooms
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbl maizena (corn starch)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your liking (Ty’s favorite is gouda (on everything))
  • 250-300g pasta with ridges (I prefer penne)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. melt the butter in the pan and saute the onions and garlic until lightly brown
  2. add the chicken (raw or cooked) and mushrooms and stir in the spices
  3. when the mushrooms have softened, add the stock, milk, and cheese
  4. at this point, cook the pasta
  5. once the sauce starts to boil, turn the heat down to medium
  6. create a maizena paste and slowly mix it into the sauce
  7. let simmer for 5 minutes while stirring periodically
  8. if the sauce is not thick enough to your liking, add a bit more maizena paste
  9. once the pasta is done, mix the pasta into the sauce and serve
  10. top with a dash of salt and pepper to taste