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Friday, 10 April 2015

A Beast of a Dinner!

My Favourite Pasta
I'm having another 'freezer week' because once again, I find myself totally stocked up with all manner of basic ingredients that I have hardly used.

There is pasta everywhere I look, loads of garlic, both wild and bulb and a freezer full of vegetables. So, I wonder, what can I do with them.

My favourite pasta is 'spirali' as shown above. I like it because it keeps its shape well when cooked and has a good solid 'bite' to it. And, there is also the fact that I can get three 400g bags of it for a pound round where I live!

So, I have loads of pasta, garlic, a lump of cheese, a big bottle of lemon juice and some black pepper. Question is, what to do with it all? Well, I also have a big bag of peas in the freezer and green beans. Now, again, forgive me for mentioning green beans again - but I love them.

First things first, boil a kettle and put a pan on. By the time the kettle's boiled, the pan is hot, so our it in and its bubbling right away. Nice way to save on electricity costs that.

Salt the water well and tip in 150grams of pasta and let it bubble away. While its doing that get out the garlic press and crush two hefty cloves - we don't want no vampire creeping up on us now do we?

Done that? OK, now grate about 50 grams of hard cheese. I used some vintage cheddar, but you can use a hard Italian if you want.

Next, cut a good slice of butter off a packet - about 5 grams should do it.

When the pasta is about half way done, chuck in 100 grams of frozen peas. Let the water start bubbling again and then after about a minute a two - when the pasta is almost ready, chuck in 100 grams of frozen green beans. Cook them until the pasta is done, but not so much as they don't have a 'crunch' about them.

Pull off about 100mls of the pasta water and then drain the rest of it off. Put the pasta water back in the pan, now back on the heat, then chuck in the garlic, butter and a teaspoon of black pepper and a tablespoon of lemon juice.

Fizz that lot together for about a minute without letting it boil dry, then return the pasta and mix it all together. Once that's done, stir in the cheese until its all melted. Then, tip it out into a big pasta bowl. And then, get your lemon juice and squeeze it over the top and serve.

This is a beast of a dinner for one, or a medium lunch for two if served with a lump of crusty bread and perhaps some very green salad. What you get is the solid bite of the pasta, the smoothness and tanginess of the butter and cheese. Then comes the hit from the black pepper and the garlic, with the lemon juice perfectly complementing the earthiness of the peas and the lovely green crunch of the green beans.

It was just an accidental combination, but it worked and so will now become another one of those staples that I will pull out whenever I cannot think of anything else.