Sunday, 12 March 2017

Simplifying recipes

I've touched on this one before, but I've also been gone a while and watched as my nieces turn into adults and claim they "can't cook." If I was young and looked at a recipe I might also be tempted to turn to the nearest takeaway. But recipes aren't as complex as they look.

I had a house guest over the weekend who was pretty rapt over my cooking. Both the main meals I presented gave the impression of being difficult and time consuming and they could be, except I am experienced. Nothing to do with whether I "can cook" or not. And there is only one way to gain experience.......

The best meal we had was a pasta dish. I made it up but probably stole it from various pasta places. I'd call it Bacon and Chorizo Penne in Tomato Cream Sauce if I had to name it. My recipe (if there was one,)  would be:

2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 slices short cut bacon chopped
1 chorizo sausage sliced
1 brown onion halved and sliced
1 clove garlic crushed
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
parsley and parmesan cheese to serve

Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the bacon and chorizo and lower the heat to medium. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. add garlic and cook for one minute.

In the meantime cook the penne in plenty of boiling salted water according to packet instructions. Drain and keep in a warm place.

In a small pan toast the pine nuts. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Put aside.

Add tomato paste and cream to the onion and bacon mix. Turn heat to low. Mix well then toss in cooked pasta. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parsely and serve in individual bowls. sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Far out. That even scared ME.

OK, so knowing what I was cooking and how to do it - I took these early steps (like way earlier in the day when I had free time...) I prepared the onion, bacon, chorizo and garlic. Popped them in a glad bag and into the fridge. Toasted the pine nuts and kept them aside - they won't go off. Mixed the cream and tomato paste - into the fridge with them. Picked and chopped the parsley at the last minute to be honest, but only took seconds.

So my revised METHOD is:
Put water for pasta on to boil. Plenty of water and plenty of salt.

Heat oil in a pan and empty out the onion mixture. When it begins to sizzle, turn heat to medium. Stir occasionally so it doesn't burn. Put your penne in to cook.

When onion mixture is cooked, add the tomato and cream and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until pasta is done. Drain pasta well, and add to main pot. Mix well.

Serve in individual bowls, sprinkled with pine nuts, parsley and parmesan cheese.

THAT is way easier. Still needs forethought, but that comes with experience. So now I expect a niece to post a pic like the one below on Facebook, some time soon!!

Next time, I will show you how to make a pizza from the flour and water stage and make it awesome and fresh....... (Thanks Marie for that description.)

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