I mentioned a while back that I ought to start a series recreating some of the meals that I have cooked – or had cooked for me – in my past. This is the first entry, something which I used to make a lot and which fell by the wayside because my wife doesn’t like tomatoes – which is a bit of a problem, as you will see. It used to get made on nights in on my own, because it is so easy to make that even I can’t mess it up.
I should warn you that, if you are male, cooking this dish will lead to accusations of ‘man cooking’ i.e. using every utensil in the kitchen. Ignore this. If you are female, you will justify using every utensil in the kitchen because you know there is no other way to do this.
You will need:
Penne pasta, one chicken breast or two sausages per person, a tin of chopped tomatoes, an onion, a chicken stock cube, a spoonful of chili powder, tomato puree, dark soy sauce
Cook the sausages or chicken. I recommend oven cooking and poaching respectively, as they stop the meat drying out. This will take about 40 minutes. After 25 of those, put the pasta on to boil. Meanwhile, chop the onion and sweat it in a pan until it is soft. Add the chili powder and fry with the onion. Then add the tomatoes. Boil some water and make the stock cube up to about half the usual amount, then add this. Simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat, then add a squirt or two of tomato puree, a dash or two of the soy sauce. Then dice the cooked meat, drain the cooked pasta, combine the two in one pan and pour over the sauce that you have made. Mix well before serving and you have a tasty meal in 45 minutes, of which only 15 were spent doing any cooking.
I invented this dish (to the extent that one can claim to have invented a dish which is basically pasta, meat and tomatoes) in the tiny kitchen of the first flat I owned in London. I may not be bad at randomly throwing things into a pan, but this is the only one that I have actually thought about and worked out what I was going to do. It certainly works for me, so I hope that it works for someone else.