The Christmas Kot Pot!

Pasta with leek and canned tuna

Simple and creamy. What more could you want?

– 200 gr of pasta

– 1 large leek

– 100 gr of canned tuna

– 100 ml of cream

– 2 tablespoons of sour capers

Start by bringing a large body of salted water to a boil to cook the pasta. The sauce should be done by the time your pasta is finished.

Wash your leek and cut off the ends. Slice the obtained cylinder in two, lengthwise. Cut the two halves into very thin moons. The idea of this shape is that the thin strips of leek will coil around the pasta.

Salt your leek now. This allows the salt to draw out some of the moisture in the leek so that it will soften more quickly in the pan.

Fry the canned tuna in a frying pan. If your can contains oil, use it as your cooking fat. If not, use olive oil.

Add the leek and stir well. Fry on medium heat until the strands of leek are wilted and soft. A bit of charring on the leek is not an issue. It even adds a smoky touch to the sauce!

Incorporate the cream and lower the heat. Add the capers to the pan and let the sauce reduce a little longer.

Finish off by combining the pasta in the pan with the sauce, and add a bit of pasta water if necessary. Top it off with some black pepper and salt.

Spring Pasta

Yes, I know, winter is approaching and I propose a spring pasta? But hear me out: vegetarian pasta with a rich mascarpone sauce? Doesn’t that make you feel warm inside?

– 200 gr of pasta

– handful of spring onions

– small can of peas

– 100 gr of cherry tomatoes

– small bundle of watercress

– 100 gr of mascarpone

– Thyme

– 100 ml of stock

– white wine (optional)

Cut off the green parts of the spring onions and keep them in a separate bowl. Finely chop the white parts and fry them in some oil in a large pan or pot. Do not forget to salt them.

In a large pot, boil salted water and cook your pasta of choice. (I recommend somewhat chunkier pasta for this dish).

Once the onions are translucent, add the thyme and cook for another minute. If you’re comfortable with your stove, you can momentarily crank the heat all the way up to get some brown bits sticking to the pan. Deglaze with a small amount of white wine or some water and reduce the heat back to medium-low. Let the alcohol evaporate and add the stock.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in two and cut the rest of the onions in 2 cm long cylinders. Add the tomatoes and half of the onions to the pot.

While the vegetables are cooking, finely chop the watercress.

Incorporate the mascarpone into the sauce and add salt to taste. (Don’t forget to taste  before you add salt! Some brands of mascarpone can be very salty already.) Once the mascarpone is hot, add the rest of the onions, the watercress and the drained can of peas.

Let everything simmer until the cherry tomatoes are cooked through. Serve with some black pepper.

Versatile risotto

Not really traditional and sometimes kind of a cheat. But as long as it is tasty right?

This recipe has a lot of options. I have outlined some of them so I advise you to read everything before you start cooking.

– 1 beer glass (25cl) of risotto rice (arborio, for example)

– 100 gr of parmigiano reggiano (or Grana padano, if you’re broke like me)

– 4 beer glasses of stock (hot)

– 100 gr shrimps, guanciale, pancetta or bacon (optional)

– 250 gr of vegetable of your choice: (classics are mushrooms, zucchini, onions, asparagus, pumpkin)

– 1 onion

– half a glass of white wine

Start by finely chopping the onion. In a deep pan or pot, slowly fry the onions in some olive oil. Don’t forget to salt them! (Yes, I will mention this every time.)

Add the rice and mix well so the fat covers every grain of rice. After two minutes (keep stirring to avoid burning), add the wine.

Let the alcohol evaporate and add the vegetables. Add enough stock to cover everything (but not more).

Now starts the game of patience. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon (the fact that it is wood is actually important). Add more stock every time the liquid is absorbed slightly and everything isn’t covered anymore. This should be done after about 20 minutes. Depending on the rice, it may take longer.

Cut the heat and add the grated parmigiano in batches*. Gently fold it into the risotto. Add a generous amount of black pepper.


– If you use shrimp: fry them up separately and let the stock boil with the shells for a while. This will give more depth to the stock.

– If you use guanciale, pancetta or bacon, fry them up with the onions to extract as much fat from them before you add the rice.

– You can pre-fry your vegetables for a more layered flavour. In this case, add them to the rice later in the process.

* The cheese is added at the end so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pot and burn. Moreover, if your rice is still a bit too wet, it will emulsify the remaining broth.

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