Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Recipe: Simple Penne Arrabiata

I like cooking- but I am a much better baker than a cook. I have a handful of things that I can do really well though. I'm mostly only good at comfort food- the kind of stuff my mum made me when I was a kid- because that's the kind of food I like best. I mostly just cook for myself so it doesn't really matter what I make most of the time because it's only me eating it, which has resulted in some rather strange meals at times (the constant amusement of my flatmates at uni). Every so often though I'll fancy something a little nicer- or if I have others to cook for- and so I have a few meals that I turn to time & again. Penne arrabiata is one of them- it's perfect for a chilled out, cozy dinner if you're having friends over for a movie & some wine. It's also really easy to make & a lot of the ingredients are store cuppboard staples (a common factor in most of my favourite recipes because I'm poor).

To make penne arrabiata for 2 people you will need:

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
225g of minced beef
225g of penne pasta
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chopped red chilli
dried oregano
salt & pepper
1 beef stock cube
grated cheddar cheese & parsely (fresh or dried)

  1. First off, turn your hob to a high heat & heat up your pan with the oil in it & boil the kettle for the pasta.
  2. Add your beef, garlic & chilli to the pan & cook until the beef is cooked through. (I use the lazy pre-chopped red chilli that comes in a little jar- it's a lifesaver. Never the garlic though- get a garlic press & always use fresh garlic.).
  3. This would be a good time to start cooking your pasta. Cook with a good pinch of salt until al dente if you want (or if you're super uncool & don't like your pasta al dente, like me, cook until totally soft).
  4. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer until it has reduced slightly- about 3 mins over a high heat, then add the stock cube & stir through until it has disappeared into the sauce. The stock cube is not particularly au fait I suppose, but I do think it is the most vital ingredient to tasty arrabiata.
  5. Add the tomato puree, oregano & a large pinch of pepper or two, give it a good stir & simmer for roughly another 5 minutes.
  6. Serve sprinkled with as much cheddar as you can fit on your plate & some parsely! You could use parmesan if you want but I prefer cheddar & it's what I normally have on hand anyway- same for the parsely- you can use fresh but I never have it to hand, I do always have dried though.

Now this is my idea of PERFECT comfort food. Rich & sauce-y arrabiata with a little heat from the chillis & plenty of cheese, served with some nice cold wine. Yummm.