Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Student Pasta Dinner

This dish is one of those simple pleasures you tend to forget as life goes on and you complicate things by adding experience. It's easy and quick to do, absolutely delicious and foolproof: student food at its best and a dish that just begs to be served with a balls-out Cabernet. You can vary it endlessly (try chorizo instead of the bacon) and tart it up with a slice of garlic-buttered French bread. I've labelled this as 'Italian' but it's about as Italian as a Cornetto...


Serves 2

  • 120g pasta
  • 50g parmesan


  • 4 rashers cooked smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • ½ courgette, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp chopped basil
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes or powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

In a smallish pan over a medium heat, fry the onions in the oil, stirring occasionally. Wait until they turn transparent, then add the garlic, fry for a minute and then add the red pepper and the courgette. Fry this off for a while, stirring, then add the other sauce ingredients, the chopped tomato last, stirring all the while. Cook over a lowish heat for around 15 minutes - just enough time to make the pasta now!

Put the pasta in a nice big pan, boil a kettle and then pour the boiling water over the pasta. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and stir it in well – this helps to stop the pasta sticking. Cook for 10 minutes (more or less, depending on the type of pasta you use - 3 mins for fresh, 8 for smaller pieces. You're basically looking for 'al dente' - a bit of 'bite' in it) and then drain. Pour a little olive oil over the pasta, stir it in and then dish it up onto warm plates. Place the sauce in the middle and sprinkle with the cheese and lots of black pepper. Serve!

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