Cooking with The Smiling Chef


WORDS | Brendon D’Souza

Orecchiete Pasta with English Spinach, Mushrooms and Eggs
Serves 4

Continuing with the pasta trend, I put together this number the other day for brunch. Due to a slight lack of protein in the Smiling Chef household, I decided to make use of our golden eggs, which our lovely hens lay fresh for us each day. When you pierce into yoke with a fork, the runny egg trickles through the pasta, creating its own sauce. When cooking eggs, it’s always important to consider their source, as eggs are the perfect breeding grounds for salmonella or other harmful bacteria. For this reason, pregnant women and young children are advised against eating undercooked eggs. However, the fresher the egg, the safer it will be to eat runny.

• 400g orecchiette pasta
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 200g button mushrooms, scrubbed and quartered
• 200g English spinach, washed and roughly chopped
• 4 eggs
• Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.

Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook till the mushrooms are golden, then stir through the spinach.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return to the cooking pot. Add the mushroom mixture and toss it to combine. Cover and keep warm while you cook the eggs.

To fry the eggs, heat 1tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add the eggs, and cook over a medium heat until cooked to your liking. 3-5 minutes is great for a runny egg, but if you prefer it cooked right through, cook on low for 7-8 minutes.

Season the pasta to taste. Plate it up, and top with a fried egg.



Spirals with Roast Tomatoes, Eggplant and Olives
Serves 4

The return of the sun in time for Summer has put me in quite a lazy mood, so much that, and I can’t believe that I’m about to say this, I couldn’t be bothered spending ages in the kitchen! Pasta has always come to the rescue when I feel a bit lazy. It’s simple to prepare, tastes great, and if made carefully, can be quite a balanced meal. Not only that, but any leftovers make great lunchbox fillers for work or uni the next day. So on this lazy evening I popped some vegetables into the oven and waited in the backyard, feet up, and nose buried in a book.

• 300g Roma tomatoes, chopped into 2cm pieces
• 300g eggplant, chopped into 2cm pieces
• 100g mixed olives, in oil
• 2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
• Olive oil
• 400g thick spirali (spiral) pasta
• Feta cheese and balsamic vinegar, to serve

Pre-heat oven to 160ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the vegetables in a medium bowl with the thyme leaves, 2tbsp of olive oil and salt, and pepper to taste. Toss and lay out on the prepared baking tray. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are soft and crisp around the edges.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet. Drain and return to the cooking pan with the roasted vegetables. Stir to combine.

Serve with Feta cheese and balsamic vinegar to drizzle over the pasta.


For more recipes, see Brendon’s blog or visit his Facebook page here!