FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

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This week on Friday Feast, lucky devils that you are, you have ME again. I’m sharing one of my absolute favourite pasta recipes, showing off my new release again (because I can, and I love it to bits and want you to as well), and… oh, let’s have a giveaway. It’s been too long!

But before you get to that excitement, you must endure news from Us Heins Weren’t Meant To Play Golf. As mentioned last week, the past weekend saw me compete in the final round of the Romance author Cathryn Heinclub championships and I came SECOND! Okay, so technically with only two of us ladies left in the field I also came last but we’ll  ignore that. What was kind of cool was the gallery (aka the hecklers) surrounding the 18th green, watching the field come in, and me making a very respectable par in front of them instead of cracking under the pressure. Not normal Hein golfing behaviour at all!

Now to plug my book, which I’m allowed to do to my heart’s content because it’s my blog and I have overlord (overlady?) powers. I will, however, try not to be boring.

So… reviews for my new release Summer and the Groomsman are coming in and they’re lovely! I’m so chuffed. 5 stars from Talking Books Blog and 8/10 from Bree at 1 Girl 2 Many Books, along with lots of very kind comments about the sweet characters and the humour of the story.

It’s enough to make a girl a little teary. Or drink fizz. I prefer the latter.

On the off chance you haven’t had enough of it yet (which of course you haven’t), here’s the cover and blurb.


Cover of Summer and the Groomsman by Cathryn HeinIt’s Levenham’s wedding of the year but unlucky-in-love Harry Argyle has more on his mind than being groomsman.

After yet again nearly colliding with an escaped horse while driving home to the family farm, Harry Argyle comes face-to-face with its pretty owner, and doesn’t hold back his disapproval.

Confronted by a bad-tempered giant on a dark country road, beautician and new arrival in town Summer Taylor doesn’t know who to be more afraid for: herself or her darling horse Binky. It’s not her fault Binky keeps escaping. The alcoholic owner of the paddock she rents won’t fix the fence and Binky can be sneaky when it comes to filling his stomach. But no matter how big and muscled the bully, she refuses to be intimidated.

When Harry’s wedding party book a session at the day spa where Summer works, both she and Harry are horrified to be paired together. Grudgingly, they agree to make the most of it – only for the session to spiral into disaster. Realising he’s made a dill of himself in front of sweet Summer yet again, Harry vows to set things right.

Summer isn’t about to easily forgive the man who called her horse stupid, no matter how brave and kind, but with everyone on Harry’s side, even fate, resistance is hard. Can these two find love or will Summer’s wayward horse put his hoof in it again?

Oooh, this story is FUN. And you should buy it now, oh yes you should! Try,,, Kobo, iBooks or Nook.

Now, grab those pots and fire up that stove, because this recipe’s a cracker.

Pucker-Up For Pasta

By now you’re all probably aware that I’m a sucker for recipes that taste disproportionately impressive to the amount of effort they take to prepare. I never used to be this way though. In fact, there was once a time when the longer the recipe, the more complicated, the more ingredients it required, the happier I was. And if it involved learning some obscure new technique, even better.

Personally, I blame the 80s.

Me at uni graduation with big hair

Me on graduation day with big hair and even bigger shoulder pads beneath my gown.

Everything had to be bigger and better then: hair, shoulder pads… plates. Remember enormous white plates with tiny bits of lonely food on them? So fashionable. I still have the most beautiful Royal Doulton set in my crockery collection. You could eat entree and main off those things and still have room for dessert, but I’ll never get rid of them because they’re so nice.

The ‘more is better’ fad followed me into the early 90’s too, when I moved to Melbourne. I used to hold these dinner parties that would take days to prepare for and involve early morning trips to Queen Victoria Market followed by hours in the kitchen and exhaustion by the end of the evening. Vogue Entertaining magazine was my bible, along with Elle Cuisine and another short-lived ultra-cheffy one I can’t recall the name of.

These days? It’s all about maximum taste from minimum effort.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to spend an afternoon in the kitchen playing around with something novel. I adore cooking, trying new ingredients, learning new techniques, especially on a Friday when there’s the end of the week to celebrate. Weekdays though, it’s all good food done fast. Well, not necessarily fast but certainly without drama.

Which brings me to today’s recipe, pasta e fagioli. Pasta and beans.

I’m sure there are hundreds of different recipes for this, and I certainly don’t claim the following as authentic. Not even close. In fact, my version is a total mash-up, and even then I change it around, depending on my mood. But in my book adaptability is a sign of a great recipe, plus mucking about is fun. I think traditionally, like many cucina povera dishes, pasta e fagioli is meatless. I also believe it’s meant to be runnier, like a soup. I make my version thick and serve as a plated pasta. Easy to eat and very satisfying.

The key to the success of this recipe is in the sausages. Honestly, if you don’t have good Italian sausages, don’t bother making it. Without them the dish will turn out ordinary. With them, it’ll be delicious. But as I’m sure you know, using quality ingredients is the secret to getting the best out of all recipes.

Look for lovely chunky pork sausages with plenty of seasoning. Fennel is a must, and if you can score ones with chilli in them as well, even better.

Pasta e Fagioli – Pasta and Beans

Serves 4

My Pasta e Fagioli


Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 fat Italian sausages

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Dried chilli flakes to taste (if the sausages are chilli-less), 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon

400g can tomato polpa (or used tinned tomatoes and crush them up with your hands or a potato masher)

½ cup (125ml) beef stock

400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

250g macaroni (or any small pasta – tiny penne works well as tubetti and ditalini)

Grated parmesan to serve


Squeeze the sausage meat from the casings and chop if really chunky or you can feel gristly bits.

Squeezed out Italian sausage meat

Heat a good splodge of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Throw in onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, until softened.

Cooking chopped onion

Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Increase the heat a little and add sausage meat. Cook for 5 minutes or so, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon, until browned. Add tomato paste, chopped tomato, chilli (if needed) and stock, then simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

Simmering tomato and sausage meat

Taste and season as needed, then stir in beans to heat through.

Tomato, sausage mince and beans

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain, add to the sauce and mix.

Spoon onto plates and serve with plenty of grated parmesan, and watch those plates clear!

Empty plate

Okey-dokey, cos I’m feeling in the mood for one, let’s have a…


Hmm, which book shall I put up for grabs? I had planned to give away a print copy of Summer and the Groomsman but, annoyingly, they’re not ready yet (gah!). How about a copy of my debut Promises by Cathryn Heinrelease Promises instead? I love that story. It’s a bit Romeo and Juliette-ish, is set in south-east South Australia where I’m from, and has lots of gorgeous horses. Perfect!

Already have a copy? That’s okay. If you win, you can always give the copy away as a present. I’ll sign it to whoever you like.

So, to be in the draw to win a signed paperback copy of Promises, simply leave a comment revealing your favourite pasta or noodle dish.

How’s that for easy peasy?

I’ve just shared mine, although I do have many other recipes in my collection that I adore. Veal ragù with home-made papardelle springs to mind – that dish is amaaaazing – and I just love spinach and ricotta canneloni. Ooh, and how can one go past pumpkin ravioli with sage butter? That dish is like eating autumn!

So what’s your favourite? Share and I’ll pop you into the draw.

Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday AEST, 17th November 2015. Australian postal addresses only.

If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, there’s plenty to discover on this website, including a fun video on my About page on How To Grow An Australian Romance Author, plus The Story Behind each book and more on its book page. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter using @CathrynHein, Google +, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Friday Feast recipe index link.



29 thoughts on “FRIDAY FEAST with Cathryn Hein

  1. AvatarAnnie West


    I’m so looking forward to reading ‘Summer and the Groomsman’! It will be a post-revision treat – sounds just the thing for unwinding. As does your fabbo pasta! I’m starving, just reading it.

    I can’t choose a fave pasta meal. Too tough. I did experiment the other day with a sauce for agnolotti made with butter, sage and prosciutto that hit the spot wonderfully! Pasta arrabiatta is great on a cold night too!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh, your butter, sage and prosciutto sauce sounds gorgeous, Annie. I’d definitely hop into that. Butter and sage are made to be pan-mates.

      Thanks for dropping by. Hope those revisions aren’t too horrible!

  2. AvatarJanine K

    Nothing beats a great Carbonara with your choice of either long or short pasta, all that cream bacon, mushrooms, egg etc makes me go mushy. Still can’t quite get that egg stirred in at the last minute quite right, but the end result tastes SO good! Of course paired with a complimentary glass of vino – Bellissima!!! I’m starting your new book today Cathryn, and would so love to have a signed copy of your other book to sit next to Rachael’s in my treasured signed books that I have ??

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Naturally paired with a glass of vino, Janine. Wine is a must, plus it’s important to have something to cut through the creaminess. I think carbonara is secretly a lot of people’s favourite, even though it’s very naughty. Did you know it’s a relatively new recipe? I read recently it was from the Second World War and made by Americans in Italy from what was in their ration packs. I could have that wrong, of course, but it is an interesting story.

      Wishing you a WONDERFUL time with Summer and the Groomsman and all the best in the giveaway draw!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Big hair, big shoulder pads… the 80s were a hoot!

      If you can get good Italian sausages, Jennie, then this pasta is delicious. It’s a big favourite in this house and we’re pretty fussy.

  3. AvatarDelores Bebbington

    Hi Cathryn, love reading your Friday Feast recipes, they are always yummy. I love creamy salmon pasta simple and divine! Looking forward to reading Summer and the Groomsman. congratulations on its release!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Thanks for the release congratulations, Delores. I’m thrilled to bits with the response to Summer and the Groomsman so far. People are saying the most gorgeous things about it so I hope it entertains you as much when you read it.

      Salmon pasta…mmm I bet that’s nice and rich. Yum!

  4. AvatarLouise Reynolds

    That looks delicious, and filling! The fave pasta in this house is spaghettini con Vongole. Super, super quick, and if you keep a bottle of infused EVOO in the fridge (rosemary, chili and garlic), dead easy. Got to like sucking clam shells, though 🙂

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Louise, you’re a woman after my own heart. Spaghetti vongole is my absolute favourite pasta. Love that dish so, so much. My local fishmonger hasn’t had pippies/Goolwa clams for ages and it’s very upsetting. No spag vongole for me. And no fun times sucking clam shells!!

  5. AvatarMelissa Woods

    I love making my own chicken fettecini. My kids adore it. I cook off the chicken, but add bacon and mushrooms. I add cream and stock. The pasta is so yummy. The only problem with cooking this dish, is there is no leftovers, as the kids eat it all up.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      You’ll need to make double, Melissa! Sounds delicious though. Pastas with creamy sauces are so comforting.

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your (yummy) pasta. All the best in the giveaway.

  6. AvatarSue Gerhardt Griffiths

    I have a photo of big hair similar to your one, Cathryn. Can’t believe I loved my curly frizzy hair so much back then and to get that perm done over and over, the mind boggles. Lol. When those days were over spirals were in, I had really long hair and I loved my spiral hair look. The last 20 yrs I’ve kept it straight. Funny how permed hair hasn’t made a come-back!

    Oh, that recipe looks delicious, I must try that. I make a pumpkin and broccoli pasta bake which is easy and quite yum and a change from making a pasta dish using tomatoes.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      I kind of wish perms would make a come back, Sue. I loved my hair long and curly!

      Pasta bakes are great. Easy and verra tasty. Love the sound of yours but sadly, I can’t sell pumpkin anything to my other half. He hates it. Such a shame because I love it.

  7. Avatarhelensibbritt

    Hi Cathryn

    Love that recipe pasta is such a favourite in my house (but of course I am still doing weight watchers ) so will keep that one for later one that I do is chilli chicken and I get some chicken thigh fillets brown them in a fry pan with onion garlic add 1 tin tomato soup 1 tin crushed tomatoes and chilli flakes to your taste cook for a little while then add some frozen vegies I normally use winter vegies but you could use any cook some pasta I use penne but again what ever you like then add to fry pan serve popular 🙂

    I am loving the new story just about to it down and finish it 🙂

    Have Fun

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Oh, how exciting you’re reading Summer and the Groomsman, Helen. That’s so cool. Thank you!

      Your pasta dish sounds delish, especially with the addition of chilli. That always adds a good zing. And healthy too with the veg. Unlike my pasta e fagioli which is made a tad naughty thanks to the sausages. But at least it has beans. They’re good so maybe they make up for the badness. That can be my excuse.

  8. AvatarCassandra

    My favourite past is all, I love to put on a sausepan of pasta and than make up a dish of anything in the fridge I can find and add but peanut chicken satay is the real best and Cathryn Hein is one of my favourite writers, I would love to win your book Promises as I have not read this one yet, thanks for the chance

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Aww, thanks so much for the kind words, Cassandra. That’s really nice of you.

      Isn’t pasta great like that? You can chuck anything in and make up a sauce. The possibilities are limitless.

      Thanks for joining in the fun. All the best in the giveaway draw!

  9. Avatarsarah mary

    I love home made pasta, with tomatoes grown in our back yard, a little olive oil and black pepper. One pan, simple yet stunning.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Stunning indeed! You’ve made my mouth water, Sarah. Home made and home grown. The best food.

      Thanks so much for visiting and sharing. All the best in the giveaway draw!

  10. AvatarBree

    Thnx for the mention!

    I have quite a few pasta dishes but I think my fave is one I spotted on a UK ep of Masterchef a couple years ago where the contestants went to Italy and were taught this dish by a Nonna. I showed my husband and we’ve kind of adopted it. It’s red & yellow peppers fried first and then cooked down in passata and cherry tomatoes. Cook some Italian sausages, slice and add to the sauce and then serve over pappardelle. SO GOOD!

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Always a pleasure to mention you, Bree! Your pasta sounds beautiful. Full of flavour and simple. The best ones are like that though. Thanks for sharing!

  11. AvatarKaren

    Hi Cathryn
    Another great recipe on your Friday Feast Cathryn! Congrats also on another fabulous book release 🙂 And best of luck with your golf games 😀 Your Friday Feast installments always bring out the smiles 🙂

  12. AvatarMichelle Page

    Family favourite pasta dish is beef cannelloni. Kids love to help stuff tubes with mince mixture. Accompanied with homemade garlic bread and steamed veggies.

    1. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

      Michelle, I haven’t had beef canneloni for years! Which is a terrible, terrible thing because it’s such a great pasta dish. I bet that goes down a treat in your house. Yum! Excellent pasta choice.

  13. Cathryn HeinCathryn Hein Post author

    Thanks everyone for all your excellent pasta selections. My mouth was watering!

    The giveaway has now closed. Congratulations to Sarah who has won a signed paperback copy of Promises. Just in time for Christmas too.

    Thanks again everyone. Hope to see you again soon.

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