Our Favourite Australian Chefs Reveal Their Go-To Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Lauren Powell

Ever wondered what our favourite chefs eat for dinner? Surely their home kitchens are turned into a fine dining restaurants night-after-night, right? Well wonder no longer. As we’re always on the hunt for weeknight culinary inspiration, we found out what Australia’s best chefs cook-up midweek so we can eat like the pros do. Scroll down and add these delicious recipes to your weeknight eating plan.

Curtis Stone

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Curtis Stone

"For all its simplicity, this is an intensely flavoured pasta dish that packs a real punch. This is a go-to weeknight recipe in the Stone home because it calls on staple pantry ingredients, such as dried pasta, capers, olives, white wine, as well as fresh tomatoes, which are abundant right now and can be picked from the garden for those with a vine at home. Salami can be omitted for a flavourful vegetarian pasta. Serve this delicious pasta dish with a very simple salad; you don’t want a lot of complicated flavours to compete with the sauce."

Spicy Salami Rigatoni with Olives and Capers

Serves 4

Ingredients

20 truss cherry tomatoes

2 teaspoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

250g rigatoni pasta

250g spicy salami (preferably Sopressa Vicentina or soppressata), casing removed, salami thinly sliced into half-moon pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup baby capers

1/4 cup kalamata olives

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Method

To roast the tomatoes:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Place the tomatoes on a small non-stick baking sheet and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they begin to split. Remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare the pasta:

3. Add the rigatoni to a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, and cook, stirring often to ensure the rigatoni doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot or to each other, until al dente, about 8 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add 3 teaspoons of oil, and then add the salami and cook until light golden in colour, about 30 seconds on each side. Transfer the salami to a plate and reserve.

5. Return the pan to the heat. Add the garlic and sauté in the drippings remaining from the salami until tender, about 1 minute. If the salami does not render enough oil, add just enough olive oil to sauté the garlic. Add the capers and olives to the hot pan and toss.

Luke Mangan

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Luke Mangan

“The recipe is the perfect weeknight meal with minimal cooking required! It ticks all the boxes—it’s healthy, quick and easy and packed full of flavour. The salsa can be used on all sorts of different meats, like grilled chicken and fish or even as a salad on its own.”

Barbecued Prawns with Avocado and Mango Salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients

Prawns

16 raw king prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left intact

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

¼ iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced

1 avocado, diced

Vietnamese mint leaves, to garnish

Mango salsa

2 ripe mangoes

¼ red onion, very finely diced

1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons roughly chopped Vietnamese mint

2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

1½ tablespoons chardonnay vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method

For the mango salsa

1. Peel the mangoes, then cut off the cheeks and as much flesh off the stones as possible. Dice the mango flesh and place in a mixing bowl.

2. Add the remaining salsa ingredients, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix lightly.

For the prawns

1. Place the prawns on a tray. Season and drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat the prawns.

2. Place the prawns on a hot barbecue or frying pan and cook for two minutes on one side.

3. Turn the prawns over and cook for a further two minutes. Remove and rest on a plate for another two minutes.

To serve

1. Add the lettuce to the mango salsa and place on a platter or four individual serving plates. Scatter the prawns and avocado on top.

2. Garnish with Vietnamese mint, drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve.

Christine Manfield

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Christine Manfield

“I like to keep flavours pretty light and healthy, but packed with flavour and texture. I like to steam the fish but it can just as easily be pan roasted (keep the skin on if you do this) or baked in the oven if it’s a whole fish. You can substitute fregola, freekah or quinoa for the rice of you prefer, it's a very adaptable recipe.”

Steamed Fish, Toasted Walnut Crumble, Fennel, Brown Rice and Pomegrante

Ingredients

4 100g portions white fish (snapper, blue eye or hapuka) fillet, skin removed

8 tbsp cooked new harvest brown rice

1 head baby fennel, finely shaved

4 tbsp pomegranate seeds

½ small cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

2 tbsp dill fronds

2 tbsp shredded parsley

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp pomegranate molasses

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Walnut crumble

50gr breadcrumbs – made from whole wheat sourdough (make these 2 days ahead)

50gr shelled walnuts, chopped

1 tbsp shredded parsley

1 tsp chopped tarragon

1 tsp chopped dill

30gr unsalted butter

Mint yoghurt relish

¼ cup mint leaves

2 tbsp coriander leaves

1 small green chilli, chopped

2 small red shallots, chopped

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp lime juice

250gr Meredith sheep milk yoghurt

Method

1. To make yoghurt relish, blend all ingredients except yoghurt in blender to make a smooth paste then fold in the yoghurt till combined.

2. To make the crumble, mix the crumble ingredients together in bowl, rubbing butter through till crumbs are moist. Spread onto baking tray and bake in 180C oven for 6-8 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside until ready to use.

3. Steam the fish in steamer for 8-10 mins depending on thickness of fillet until just cooked. Remove from steamer and rest for two mins.

4. Mix the brown rice, fennel, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, shredded parsley, dill in a bowl, then season with lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, oil, salt and pepper.

5. Spoon yoghurt sauce onto plate, then spoon the rice on top.

6. Sit the fish on the rice and cover surface with toasted walnut crumble to serve.

Neil Perry

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Neil Perry

“Macaroni and Cheese is one of my favourite “comfort-food” dishes to cook at home.  The kids love it and it goes well with many dishes, especially a great piece of steak.”

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

400g dried macaroni

Extra virgin olive oil

3 rashes smoky bacon, diced

500ml pure (whipping) cream

125g grated good-quality Cheddar

250g grated good-quality Gruyere

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

80g fresh breadcrumbs

100g finely grated Parmesan

Method

1. Put the macaroni in a saucepan with plenty of boiling salted water and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and refresh in iced water, then drain again and pat dry with a cloth or tea towel. 2. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the cream to the same pan, bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cheeses, garlic, mustard and paprika and simmer for five minutes, stirring, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is thick. Season and add the macaroni and bacon. Preheat the grill (broiler).

2. Place the macaroni mixture into four bowls or one large gratin dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with a little oil. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the macaroni, then the breadcrumbs. Grill (broil) until golden brown and with a crisp crust. Serves four.

Variation

Add flavourings to the macaroni: assorted mushrooms, sautéed in butter, oil and garlic, are nice; as is braised cabbage, mixed through and the whole thing gratinéed. Vary the cheese – there are lots of choices and they are all yours.

Guy Turland

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Guy Turland

“My midweek meal is the perfect poke bowl with turmeric quinoa, avocado and nori. Poke is a Hawaiian dish consisting of the freshest seafood with a heavy Asian influence. It's super simple, quick, healthy, and filling and I love it for all these reasons and because when I go spearfishing there’s no shortage of fresh fish to make it with.”

The Perfect Poke Bowl

Poke

Ingredients

1kg fresh seafood, diced 1cm 

1 chilli, minced

1 lemon, rind

2 green shallots, sliced

1 ginger

2 garlic, minced

½ cup soy sauce

1tbs white sesame oil

Pinch sea salt

2tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

Method

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, season and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Quinoa

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable stock

1 thyme

1 glove of garlic

I cube of ginger

Method

1. Rinse quinoa under water in a strainer for 5 minutes, washing away any leftover quinoa dust that will make the cooked quinoa gluggy.

2. To cook quinoa, place water, ginger, garlic, thyme, and quinoa in a pot on a medium heat cover and cook till comes to boil, then turn down to low for 15 minutes or untill quinoa becomes translucent. Fold through turmeric and let cool.

Salad

Ingredients

1 avocado

1 sheet nori seaweed

1 tbs sesame seeds 

½ cup poke

½ cup quinoa

Method

1. Slice avocado and make into a ring.

2. Fill with cooked quinoa.

3. Top with poke.

4. Garnish with seaweed and seaweed.

For more culinary inspiration, shop their cookbooks below. 

What is your go-to weeknight recipe? Share with us below!

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