Winter Pasta With Cranberries

I hope you have all had a good Christmas despite the horrible weather we’ve had lately. It was just me and my boyfriend again this year and we had a lovely relaxing time doing very little and eating lots of tasty homecooked food. I cooked enough food on Christmas day for about 6 people purely so I wouldn’t have to put much effort into cooking until the new year. Although I cooked this dish a couple of weeks ago, it’s the sort of thing you can rustle up quickly, only takes 25 minutes, with the odds and ends that are probably in most people’s fridges this time of year. It’s a flexible dish, you can add pretty much any combination of leftover meat and veg you have in the fridge and the cranberries add a little piquancy, this is just what I had to hand when I made this. I used some of the chestnuts that I picked and prepared in France back in October that have been sitting in my freezer, vac packed chestnuts would work just as well or leave them out. If you’ve used up all your fresh cranberries then a dollop of cranberry sauce works too if you have any left, it will make the final dish a bit sweeter though depending on how sweet the cranberry sauce is.

Ingredients – serves 2 generously

150g pasta shapes
2 tbsp oil or a knob of butter
1 medium leek, sliced
3 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 savoy cabbage, shredded
1-2 large handfuls of cooked chestnuts roughly chopped
1-2 large handfuls of fresh cranberries
1 medium parsnip, diced
a good splash of water or white wine/dry cider if you haven’t drunk it all!

  • Put water on to boil for the pasta and start cooking the leeks in the oil/butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and fry until the leeks are softened. When the water is boiling add the pasta and cook according to pack instructions then drain. Meanwhile add the parsnip and chestnuts to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes then add the cabbage, cranberries and just enough water/wine/cider (approx 200ml) to stop everything sticking and to make a bit of a sauce. Give everything a good stir and cover with a lid until the cabbage has wilted, 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid, season to taste with salt and pepper. When the parsnip is tender and the cranberries have popped then add the pasta to the pan, mix well and serve. 
I’m linking this up with Pasta Please where the theme this month is 30 minutes or less, I’ve cooked this twice and second time round I used a stopwatch just to make sure I could get it into this challenge! The challenge is run by Tinned Tomatoes and this month’s host is Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. I’m also adding this to my fresh cranberry recipe linky which is open for entries until the end of the year. 
  • Elizabeth
    December 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    This sounds like the perfect quick comfort food for this in-between time of year! Thank you for sharing with Pasta Please! 🙂

    • Jen Price
      December 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      It’s one I’ll be making again this week with some of the Christmas ham, can’t wait! 🙂

  • Katherine GG
    December 29, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Love this recipe! I wouldn’t have thought of putting these flavours (chestnuts and cranberries in particular) with pasta, thank you for the inspiration 🙂

    • Jen Price
      December 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      Thanks, I did something similar last year with a risotto but I didn’t blog it, I just love the little pop of tartness you get from the cranberries 🙂

  • Janice Pattie
    December 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Interesting combination, I can imagine the tart cranberries would work well in this dish.