I'd like to share a recipe that I've been cooking a lot recently. As usual with the recipes I try to pick out, it's a simple dish to follow and replicate, and it tastes really good. OK, here goes...
Ingredients (for 2 people)
- 500g chopped tomatoes (fine or coarse - I prefer fine)
- 250g pasta (penne style for 'penne' arrabiata - but seriously, go with what you know)
- 2-4 table spoons olive oil
- half a small onion, finely chopped
- some garlic cloves
- small chilli peppers (if you want it hot)
- fresh basil
- seasoning (salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, marjoran)
Make sure you have all the above ingredients ready. Chop the onions, garlic - and if you're using them - the chillis. If you follow these instructions for simultaneously cooking the pasta and the sauce, you should have everything ready inside 20 minutes or less.
Preparing the pasta pan; I use a kettle to boil the water. Keep the heat fairly high (so the water is bubbling). Add some oil, salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Make sure you stir occasionally throughout.
Now for the sauce; heat a large pan (full heat, or nearly full heat). Add the oil, onions, garlic and chilli and stir fry together.
When the onions begin to brown, stir-fry a little more (I prefer them not too brown - but go with what you know) and add the tomatos. I use fine blended tomato from a carton - I've tried a few varieties. You'll find the cheapest varieties will taste acidic while the expensive brands will generally have a better flavour. Honestly, tomatoes are an important ingredient for this dish, so don't go too cheap on them.
The tomatoes will reduce the temperature in the pan. When it begins to bubble again, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally.
Season to taste, and add some herbs - any or all of the herbs mentioned in the ingredients above will do, though if you have to stick to one, GO WITH BASIL for this dish!
Keep stirring both dishes occasionally. When the pasta is ready, so is the sauce (unless you're using insane 2 minute boil stuff). As I said earlier, this dish will be ready in less than 20 minutes (it usually takes me around 15 minutes to cook once I start with the pasta).
How do you like your pasta? Once you've added your herbs to the sauce pad, taste the pasta. It should be a little too hard. Stir both pans occasionally, and taste/test the pasta every few minutes. When it's ready (the pasta is as hard/soft as you like), drain and mix it into the sauce pan, making sure it's all nice and coated. At this point you can take your pan off the heat.
Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh basil and/or parmesan cheese.
Enjoy your (slightly spicy) Penne Arrabiata...