Twenty-minute recipes for two

By Corrie Heale

Working from home may have become the norm but I still don’t want to be slaving over the stove at the end of a busy work day.

Tired and frazzled, I’ll often reach for the takeaway menu and before I know it, I’ve spent a small fortune on McNuggets. Something has to change.

So, with a little planning and less money, I can now whip up these simple delicious recipes for two, quicker than you can say Uber Eats – twenty-minutes to be precise.

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Penne al’arrabiata

Serves 2 / Hands on time 15-20 mins / Total time 15-20 mins / V

You'll need

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 tbs Pomora extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp of chilli flakes (½ tsp if you like it really spicy)

1 can of good quality plum tomatoes

1 tbs tomato purée

1 ball buffalo mozzarella

130g penne pasta

Fresh basil to serve


1. Set a full kettle on to boil and measure out your penne and put in a large saucepan along with a good pinch of salt.

2. Meanwhile in a large frying pan or pot, add 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil and warm over a low to medium heat.

Peel and chop your garlic and add it to the oil (you don’t want to fry the garlic, only infuse the oil with it so watch that it doesn’t start to fry and brown). Infuse the garlic for a few minutes before adding the chilli flakes.

3. Once the kettle has boiled, pour over the penne and set over a high heat. Cook according to packet instructions.

4. Add the can of plum tomatoes to the garlic and chilli infused oil along with 1 tbs of tomato purée and a good pinch of salt. Stir carefully and break the plum tomatoes up with the back of a wooden spoon.

Up the heat and simmer for a good 5 minutes or until your pasta is ready.5. Drain the penne and pour it straight into the sauce making sure it is well coated.

Spoon into bowls and finish by topping with torn mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and a good crack of black pepper.

Gnocchi with pea pesto, asparagus & watercress

Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 20 mins

You’ll need:

A food processor or blender

Handful fresh mint leaves

2 tbs pine nuts

½ a lemon

200g frozen garden peas

30g Parmesan

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

¼ tsp sea salt flakes

300g fresh gnocchi

125g asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into thirds

Handful cherry tomatoes, halved

2 handfuls watercress

Tip: This recipe makes enough pesto for 4 servings. Any remaining pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze on the day of making.

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1. Start by boiling a kettle and put your frozen peas in a sieve. Pour the boiling water over the frozen peas to thaw them a bit and put to one side. Fill the kettle again and boil – you’ll need this for the gnocchi and asparagus later.

2. To make the pesto pour the peas into a food processor along with the chopped garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, grated cheese, mint leaves and salt. Blitz for about a minute before adding the extra virgin olive oil and blitzing again until you have a smooth paste.

3. Pour the boiled kettle into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the chopped asparagus spears and cook for 2 minutes before adding the gnocchi and cooking for 2-3 mins (check packet instructions). Drain and pour back into the saucepan and stir in half of the pesto and the tomato halves. Serve immediately on a bed of watercress topped with a sprinkle of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of black pepper.

Warm noodles with gochujang dressing

Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 minutes / Total time 20 mins

You'll need:

½ white onion, sliced

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp sesame seeds

2 egg noodle nests

50g kale, roughly 2 handfuls

2 bulbs of pak choi, sliced


2 tbs light soy sauce

1 tbs sesame oil

2 tsp gochujang or Sriracha


1. In a large cooking pot, fry the onion in 1 tsp of sesame oil, on a medium heat, for 10 minutes until soft (if they start looking a bit charred, add a dash of water to help them steam).

2. Meanwhile, boil a kettle for the noodles and make your dressing by mixing the ingredients together in a large bowl (if using gochujang, this can be quite sticky, so use the back of a teaspoon to help soften it against the bowl).

3. Fill a medium sized saucepan with boiling water, add 2 nests of noodles and cook according to packet instructions. Drain in a colander and run them under a stream of cold water to cool them down (this prevents them from cooking further). Once cooled, drain and pour straight into the dressing. Mix well and put to one side.

4. By now your onions should be cooked. Add the pak choi and kale along with a dash of water. Turn up the heat and cook down the greens until soft but still tender. Take off the heat and add the dressed noodles a bit at a time to prevent clumping together.

5. Divide into bowls and serve topped with sesame seeds.

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Corrie Heale

Freelance food writer / vegetarian food blogger and recipe writer. @corrieheale

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