Loving Jamie Oliver

March 22, 2010

Is there a single person out there who doesn’t like Jamie Oliver?  There may be a few who don’t know who he is but I’m guessing if you do, you love him.

Why?  He’s adorable (in that men-don’t-have-to-be-gorgeous-for-women-to-think-they-are-sexy way), a brilliant cook, approachable, funny, and he wants to try and save the world with food.  I always think of him when two ingredients go so well together, as in “potatoes and chives – best friends”.  (If you have seen his show on the Food Network, you know what I am talking about.)

I’m not sure why I only have one of his cookbooks in my collection but I do and it is Jamie’s Italy.  I love this book.  I love the paper, I love the candid-looking and kind of messy photos.  I love the simple and approachable food.  And I love the recipes I have made from it.

Sometimes Randy and I have weeks where one or both of us is out almost every night.  Last week was like that and I decided to make this hearty and tasty pasta so our boys and whichever parent was home could snack on it throughout the week.  It kept very well, the boys liked, it, and the babysitter thought I was a hero for making dinner in advance.

One Year Ago: (what do you know, another baked pasta!) Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Parsley Pesto

Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Adapted from Jamie’s Italy
Serves 4-6

My adaptions were to use a different shape pasta and to use much less cheese than he calls for.  If you want it Jamie’s way use “4 big handfuls” of Parmesan cheese and 3 5-oz. balls of mozzarella.  He also says this dish serves 4 but people ate this all week.

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 or 2 dried red chilies, crumbled
3 14-oz. cans of good-quality plum tomatoes
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, plus additional for garnish
Optional:  1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 lb. orecchiette (DT: I used radiatore)
1 – 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 8-oz. container fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 400°F and put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in an appropriately sized pan.  Add your onion, garlic, and chili and slowly fry for about 10 minutes on a medium to low heat until softened but without any color.  Add the canned tomatoes with a small glass of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for around 20 minutes.  Now put them through a food processor or blender to make a loose sauce.  Tear your basil leaves into the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt, pepper, and a little red wine vinegar.

When the sauce tastes perfect, bring the water back to a boil.  Add the pasta to the water and cook until it is just shy of al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven).  Drain and toss with half of the tomato sauce and a handful of Parmesan.  Get yourself an appropriately sized baking pan or earthenware dish and rub it with a little olive oil.  Layer a little pasta in the pan, followed by some tomato sauce, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and some mozzarella slices, then repeat these layers until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with a good layer of cheese on top.  Pop the dish into the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden, crisp, and bubbling.  Garnish with additional basil leaves, if desired.


  1. Hello friend! Did you watch the preview of his Food Revolution show last night? Such an important effort.

    Comment by tara — March 22, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

  2. yes yes and yes, I love him so much. Your description was spot on!

    Comment by Sara — March 22, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  3. Oh he’s adorable. I think there a few people in WV right now that aren’t too fond of him though. The Food Revolution show was very eye opening.

    Comment by Amy from She Wears Many Hats — March 22, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

  4. Jamie is definitely the guy I want to marry. It’s too bad he is happily married. If there are any other guys out there who think food is going to solve all the world’s promise…I’m free on Friday night.

    Beautiful pasta dish! You can’t get any better than tomatoes and mozzarella.

    Comment by Joanne — March 22, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

  5. Yes he is a cutie-patodie!!!! And the dinner…yum-a-licious!

    Comment by Leslie — March 22, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

  6. You can’t go wrong with Jamie! I’m not a great cook, but I can confidently cook from Jamie’s cook books (and I have quite a few of them!) knowing that I’m in safe hands and will turn out something decent for dinner.

    Comment by Fiona — March 23, 2010 @ 12:11 am

  7. I’ve got a pot of 3 ingredient tomato sauce (butter, onion, tomato) simmering away.. I think I’ll take Jamie’s application with the sauce I have and leave it for tomorrow night’s babysitter. Your timing is perfect! Next time I’ll try the sauce as you’ve got it here

    Comment by catherine — March 23, 2010 @ 12:36 am

  8. Jamie can do no wrong in my book! I love a good dish that can get you through the week!

    Comment by Jacqui — March 23, 2010 @ 3:11 am

  9. Wow, what a mouthwatering pasta dish! Yum!

    Comment by Sook @ My Fabulous Recipes — March 23, 2010 @ 6:55 am

  10. Another Jamie fan here! I love his shows, his books and his attitude. He is such a “can-do” person, very inspirational! Agree about the books- the paper and photos are gorgeous. I’ve got Jamie at Home which I love, but have borrowed others from the library and am eager to grow my collection.

    I’ve made his baked pasta before and it’s delicious, a favourite of my bf’s. Yours is so pretty!

    Comment by Ele — March 23, 2010 @ 8:20 am

  11. I have met briefly met Jamie (we used to publish his Fifteen sommelier’s books and he would always come to the annual launch party) and he does come across as a really nice, down to earth person. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t do much hands-on work on his recipes now as he has minions to do the actual recipe development, but they are still good recipes.

    Comment by Hilary — March 23, 2010 @ 11:31 am

  12. Jamie is great, and I’m looking forward to his new show. You know, that’s the only book of his that I have too, and I have wondered why I haven’t bought others. Eventually. This pasta looks fantastic. I’d love to have this in my refrigerator all week!

    Comment by lisaiscooking — March 23, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  13. Jamie Oliver is one of those people that I always think I’m going to like but I don’t pay enough attention to verify that. I think I might need his cookbooks.

    Comment by Kate @ Savour Fare — March 23, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  14. I gave his new cookbook to my 21 year old stepson who is starting to get an interest in cooking.

    I mailed him a package with the book, a bunch of spices and a set of measuring spoons – he loved the book, said it was just what he needed.

    Comment by SallyBR — March 23, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

  15. I love him to. You’ll love this presentation he did for TED.com
    He’s a wonderful speaker to.
    If that doesn’t take you there, go to https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#search/mercola/127334a06c93e35c and click on the first article
    Enjoy, Sylvie Greeniaus

    Comment by Sylvie — March 24, 2010 @ 12:31 am

  16. Agree wholeheartedly with Tara and Sylvie. JO’s Food Revolution is going to be a game-changer for those of us fighting for better school food. Set your DVR, Dana… I think they’re going to rebroadcast the premier episode on Friday night.

    Comment by Cheryl @ 5 Second Rule — March 24, 2010 @ 12:45 am

  17. HI Dana , I love the pasta dish and you have used my most favourite pasta shape …. radiatore ( such a cute name ) .

    I am so glad you brought up the subject of Jamie Oliver , I watched the original show he made in England when he tried to change the food served to school kids and he was met with the same resistance he is going to and has met in this new show in the US.

    I am a huge advocate of educating children to experience new food tastes, if you only feed children chicken nuggets – then take the time to make them yourself . It saddens me beyond words when i see parents feed their very young toddlers “hot dogs” “chicken nuggets” and other highly processed foods , then the adults themselves sit down to a pice of grilled steak and salad – what is wrong with THAT picture .

    Kudos to you , and I would expect no less , that you took the time out to prepare a nutritious dish for the family to enjoy while you were gone . If only more people took the same time .

    I have several of Jamie Olivers books and his ITALY book is by far my most favourite one .

    I will be watching his food show just to see what the outcome will be …….. I really hope it will be positive .

    thank you

    Comment by Gourmet Goddess — March 24, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  18. I think you just gave me my dinner recipe. Dana, you are so reliable! And, yes, I LOVE Jamie! I’d also love to see you! We’ve had lots of guests, but they’re all gone now! xoxoxoxoxo

    Comment by redmenace — March 24, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

  19. I just adore Jamie! I have a few of his books, but Jamie’s Italy is definitely my favourite…

    Comment by Robyn — March 24, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  20. Yes, there is no denying he is the genuine article. So looking forward to his “Food Revolution” show. I really hope many parents and other adults are inspired by his efforts and begin to look at food in a different way than they may now view it! Great photo, as always. I have learned to only look at your blog when I have a full tummy!

    Comment by Vivian — March 24, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

  21. If you feel inspired by Jamie’s campaign, he has created an online petition, promoting healthy food for children, that he will present to the White House. You can find the petition here:
    http://www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com/petition. Pass it along!

    Comment by Jessica — March 24, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

  22. Your bakes pasta looks gorgeous! I love Jaime Oliver too!

    Comment by Radhika — March 24, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

  23. I don’t own any Jamie Oliver cookbooks but after seeing this TED speech it made me want to check more of his stuff out! I love the look of this dish.

    Comment by Ashley — March 27, 2010 @ 5:13 am

  24. This pasta is amazing. Thanks for sharing, Dana. After work today I just needed a good, easy, satisfying recipe to make that wouldn’t take too much effort. This did the trick!

    By the way, I got home only to discover that my basil had gone bad. Fresh rosemary was a great substitute.

    Comment by D. @ Outside Oslo — April 1, 2010 @ 4:37 am

  25. Looks scrummy

    Comment by Alex — April 3, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

  26. I thought I’d finally chime in…I’m making this for about the 4th time tonight. Nikhil especially LOVES this. I’ve even made the sauce into tomato soup by adding a little flout while the onions are cooking. It’s his favorite soup too. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Mara — December 31, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

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