Monday, 7 July 2008

On the menu this week

As I mentioned, I haven't been well, so not fully together where it comes to doing the shopping and cooking. I saw the doc this morning, and it turns out that I've had a viral encephalitis, which sounds very scary, but is actually very common not serious, and definitely not at all the more famous kind of encephalitis.

So, lacking energy and brain, I've defrosted some chilli for the week. We can have it with baked potatoes and salads, tonight and one other day. We ate out on Saturday night for a Find column, and we'll eat out one more night for a review. And last night I made a simple arrabbiata pasta, which took about half an hour from start to finish.

An arrabbiata is nothing to do with Arabia; it's often got bacon in it, for one thing. The name means disturbed or angry, and it refers to the chilli content. My version is just one of those easy throw together kinds that you pretty much can't go wrong with. A vegetarian version is common, too, but I nearly always do a ham or bacon one.

Recipe: Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce
4 rashers shortcut bacon
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
2 long green chillies
6 roast tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
short pasta

Chop the rind and fat off the bacon, and fry that to render some fat out. Remove any solids from the pan, then add the chopped onion. Chop the lean bacon, and mince the garlic and chilli, and add that in to the pan when the onion is starting to turn golden. Fry all for a couple of minutes more, then add the skinned and chopped tomatoes, and the oregano and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes - just while the pasta cooks is fine. Serve with pasta and a green salad or vegetable.

Makes enough for 4 servings. I use sambal oelek if I have no fresh chillies on hand, and of course a tin of diced tomatoes will do if you don't tend to have roast ones on hand. I kept this one fairly pure because I was using yummy Poachers Pantry smoked bacon and wanted that flavour to dominate, but otherwise a few more herbs and a splash of balsamic or wine won't hurt. Maybe some olives or mushrooms. Feel free to tweak it to taste.

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