broccolini orecchiette with fried egg and harissa

broccolini orecchiette with fried egg and harissa

I wanted to create a more exciting pasta experience and here it is. The silkiness of the slow fried egg goes so well with the creaminess of the pecorino and the harissa's fragrant spiciness just gives it that added kick. Yumbo!


1 bunch broccolini, trimmed, stalks cut into ½ cm pieces and the florets into 2 cm lengths

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

¼ c pine nuts, toasted

1/3 c frozen peas

¾ c grated pecorino cheese

olive oil

1 T lemon juice

250 g orecchiette

2-4 eggs

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

harissa paste



 In a large pot, bring to a boil 3 L of water with 2 t of salt. Keep hot and ready for the vegetables and pasta.

 Heat 5 T olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat for 5 mins. Add the onions and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Add garlic and pine nuts and cook for a further 5 minutes. At this stage, the onion mixture should be soft, sweet and sticky. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Add frozen peas and broccolini to pot of boiling water and cook for 2 mins. Fish out vegetables with a wire mesh or strainer and then transfer to a bowl. Pour cold water over vegetables, soak for a few seconds then drain and set aside. Add orecchiette to boiling water and cook according to your liking or packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat some oil in a frying pan over low heat. Break an egg into the pan one at a time. Cook until done to your liking. I used low heat for the eggs to give it a very soft texture that goes really well with silkiness of the rest of the ingredients.

Drain pasta and add to onion mixture along with the peas and broccolini. Add the cheese and lemon juice and mix well. Season to taste.

To serve, you can divide the pasta into 4 entrée-sized meals or 2 main-sized meals. Top each pasta plate with an egg and place a small dollop of harissa on the side.

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shiitake and enoki mushroom pasta

shitake and enoki mushroom pasta

Some of the best pastas I've had have been the simplest ones. In Florence, I had a memorable linguini with squid and sage in an olive oil base. Otto's at Woolloomooloo used to do an amazing pasta just with sautéed asparagus and fresh egg yolk. Even closer to home was my oldest brother's spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, chilli and spicy Polish sausage. All these dishes take no time to prepare but are hugely satisfying.

I love mushrooms but I find your typical button or Swiss mushrooms are just not robust enough in flavour to be the main star of a simple pasta dish. That's why I decided to use shiitake and enoki mushrooms for this recipe. Both are packed with flavour and don't shrink a lot when cooked. I know this recipe calls for a lot of mushrooms but here's a tip: you can get shiitake mushrooms from Asian supermarkets for 1/3 of their price at Woolworth's and Coles.

My nephew Jacob loves this dish so I always think of him when I make this recipe. Wish I can send you some, Jacob!



300 g shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thinly

300 g enoki mushrooms, bottom stems trimmed (about 2 cm), separated into thin bundles

2 t finely chopped garlic

½ c roughly chopped flat parsley

4 small dried red chillies, chopped (optional)

500 g pasta (linguini, pappardelle or spaghetti)

5-6 T olive oil

30 g unsalted butter

½ lemon

sea salt


Heat half of the olive oil in a hot frying pan. Add half the mushrooms, cook for 1 minute then add 1 t garlic, half the chillies and a pinch of salt. Toss mushrooms regularly and cook for 3 minutes or until the mushrooms are a nice golden brown. Add half of butter until most of it has melted. Remove from heat and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste. Transfer into a large bowl that would be big enough for the mushrooms and pasta to be tossed in. Repeat process for remainder of mushrooms.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Drain then add to mushroom mixture and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add flat parsley and mix well. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.

 Serves 4.

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