Creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta

Pancetta pistachio cream pasta

This delicious pasta dish was inspired by one of many mouth-watering meals we had in Sicily on a family holiday in 2016. Pistachios were found on just about everything (even spaghetti alle vongole!). This particular dish was really memorable – because it was simply heavenly, but also because of the location we ate it in…

We were at Bellavista Ristorante, a seafront restaurant on the North-Eastern tip of Sicily, in Torre Faro, near Messina – the very tip of the island, in the Strait of Messina, from where you can see across to Calabria.

In the photos below, you can see Hannah on the beach in Torre Faro, with Calabria a short distance away across the Strait, followed by the original creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta dish we ate in the restaurant.

So, nearly four years later, while having fun experimenting in the kitchen and creating recipes under the ‘Cooking with my daughter’ part of this blog (see also our Instagram account for photos, reels and live videos!), we decided to finally re-create this amazing yet incredibly simple dish.

In our recipe, we used home-made orecchiette (mixing up our regions, as orecchiette are from Puglia, but that’s ok – they work well with this sauce) – watch this space for the orecchiette recipe. They are remarkably simple to make. Meanwhile, take a look at our quick preview reel on Instagram.

Creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta sauce – Ingredients

(for 4 generous portions)

  • 200g diced pancetta (unsmoked)
  • 500ml single cream
  • 150g ground pistachios (we use the nut chopping/grinding attachment on the Nutribullet, which does this in seconds)
  • fine sea salt – to taste

Pasta – which one, and quantities…

Use a short pasta of your choice. We used home-made orecchiette (recipe coming soon!), but lots of different types of short pasta will work. For 4 generous portions, as a single-course meal, you will need around 500g of dry pasta.

If you are being more traditional and having this dish as a ‘primo piatto’ to be followed by a meat or fish dish, you’ll want to roughly halve the portions for the pasta and the sauce.

Method

Place a large pan of water over a high heat and add a generous amount of coarse sea salt (about a handful) and a few drops of vegetable oil.

While the pasta water comes to the boil, prepare the creamy pistachio and pancetta sauce:

In a large sauté pan, fry off the pancetta over a medium heat until it has browned and crisped off.

Drain off most of the fat, then reduce the heat to low and add the cream to the pan. Stir from time to time and, once the cream is simmering, stir in most of the pistachios (save about 25g for sprinkling later). Check for taste and add a little bit of fine sea salt if needed.

Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta to your liking (is there any other way than ‘al dente’?!). Once cooked, drain and add to the sauce in the sauté pan. Stir through with the low heat still on, then take off the heat and serve.

Sprinkle the remaining ground pistachios over each portion.

Pancetta pistachio cream pasta

Creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta | Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Frederika’s Biscoff and Mini Eggs Mini Cheesecakes

Finished Mini Cheesecakes Birdseye with Logo

This no-bake cheesecake recipe is one that Frederika came up with to make an Easter dessert and it was a bit of an experiment – thankfully it worked and was delicious!

Brilliant for Easter, but Mini Eggs, of course, aren’t just for Easter and you can make this any time!

The recipe makes roughly 4 portions, but it depends on the size of the glasses that you use, and also whether you would prefer a different portion size.

For the cheesecake mix, the cream cheese needs to be full fat otherwise it won’t set. We used most of the cheesecake mix on top of the biscuit base with just a little bit on top of the Biscoff sauce, but you could split it more evenly if you prefer it that way.

We smashed the Biscoff biscuits in a food storage bag with a rolling pin, to leave them a little uneven with some larger chunks for extra crunch, but if you prefer a smoother biscuit crumb, you can blitz them in a food processor instead.

A word of warning: we couldn’t find the Biscoff sauce in supermarkets, so bought ours from Amazon.

A second word of warning: the Biscoff sauce is seriously addictive!!!

Finally, feel free to swap out the Mini Eggs for other chocolate, the Biscoff biscuits for any other biscuits, and the Biscoff sauce for another drizzle. For example, you could use Galaxy eggs, Digestives and caramel sauce.

Ingredients (4 Mini Cheesecakes)

Ingredients for Mini Cheesecakes with Logo
  • 340g full fat cream cheese
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g Lotus Biscoff biscuits
  • 100g Mini Eggs
  • Biscoff sauce (to taste)

Method

  1. Add the vanilla, icing sugar and cream cheese to a bowl and whisk together until smooth
  2. Whip the double cream until it is stiff
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla mix
  4. Smash the biscuits and most of the Mini Eggs, leaving a few Mini Eggs intact (however many you want) to use as decoration on top
    • We used 80g of Mini Eggs for the base, leaving 20g (12 Eggs) as decoration
  5. Sprinkle most of the biscuit crumbs into the bottom of each glass
    • Set some of the biscuit crumbs aside to sprinkle on top
  6. Sprinkle the smashed Mini Eggs on top of the biscuit crumb base
  7. Spoon a little bit of the cheesecake mix over the biscuits and Mini Eggs and smooth it out to make a flat surface
  8. Cover in Biscoff sauce to taste
  9. Dollop a second and final layer of cheescake mix over the sauce
  10. Sprinkle the remaining biscuit crumbs over the cheesecake mix
  11. Top with the whole Mini Eggs that you set aside at the beginning to decorate the mini cheesecakes
  12. Leave to set for 1 hour (or longer – if you can resist!!!…but bear in mind that the biscuit crumbs will go soggy if you leave it too long) in the fridge before enjoying!
Finished Shot of all 4 Mini Cheesecakes with Logo
Frederika’s Biscoff and Mini Egg mini cheesecakes – not just for Easter!

Note: These will keep in the fridge for a day or so, if they aren’t eaten straightaway!

Finished Shot of 1 Mini Cheesecake with Logo

Frederika’s Biscoff and Mini Eggs Mini Cheesecakes | Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Hannah’s Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake cooked

This is one of the recipes that Hannah created at uni and has cooked for the whole family since. It is delicous, filling and quick and easy to make. This recipe is great for students as it is inexpensive and goes a long way so is perfect for batch cooking.

Chicken and broccoli work very well together, but why not experiment with different ingredients, too, and let us know the results!

Ingredients (4 generous portions)

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake Ingredients
  • 400g pasta – we used farfalle but fusilli, penne or any other short pasta of your choice will work
  • 40g butter plus a knob to cook the chicken
  • 40g plain flour
  • 400ml milk
  • 200g grated cheddar cheese – you can experiment with different types of cheese (e.g. blue cheese)
  • 1 broccoli stalk
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets (use breast if you prefer)
  • a drop of olive oil
  • a pinch of fine salt
  • a small handful of coarse salt for the pasta water
  • a drop of vegetable oil for the pasta water
  • 75g breadcrumbs
  • 10g grated parmesan
  • optional: a sprinkling of garlic granules

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil with the coarse salt and vegetable oil
  3. Cut the chicken into small pieces (roughly 1cm x 1cm)
  4. Cut the broccoli florets into similar sized pieces as the chicken
  5. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes fewer than indicated on the pack
  6. While the pasta is cooking, cook the chicken and make the cheese sauce:
    • In a small pan, melt a knob of butter and add a drop of olive oil to stop the butter burning
    • With the pan on a high heat, add the chicken, and season with a sprinkling of salt and the garlic granules (if using)
    • Stir and turn the heat down, leaving the chicken to cook, remembering to stir from time to time while you make the cheese sauce
    • In another small pan, melt 40g of butter and stir in the flour to make a roux
    • Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps forming, allowing each bit of milk to amalgamate into the roux before adding any more
    • Once all the milk has been added, keep stirring on a low heat as the béchamel sauce thickens
    • Once the béchamel sauce is thick and velvety, remove it from the heat and stir in the grated cheddar
  7. Drain the pasta and pour into an oven-proof dish
  8. Mix in the cooked chicken, cheese sauce and the raw broccoli
  9. Combine the parmesan and breadcrumbs and sprinkle liberally over the top of the dish
  10. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until the crust is deliciously golden
Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake before baking
Chicken and broccoli pasta bake ready to go in the oven – before adding breadcrumbs and parmesan (left) and after (right)

Note: You can cook this delicious chicken and broccoli pasta bake a day in advance and re-heat it the following day. Take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before re-heating, then heat in a pre-heated oven (160°C fan) for approximately 45 minutes or until piping hot throughout.

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake cooked
Hannah’s chicken and broccoli pasta bake

Hannah’s Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake | Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!