Tuesday, April 6, 2010

tuesday night cheap spaghetti supper

I was glued this evening to the penultimate episode of Masterchef 2010 and as a result, feel utterly unworthy and useless for even daring to blog about what came out of my kitchen. However, in the interests of keeping my very, very small audience satisfied with a new post, I will tell you about roasting tomatoes and making an incredibly cheap supper - something I like to think will appeal to the masses in these lean times.

Several weeks ago I bought some completely anemic, barely vegetative, dutch tomatoes. I bought them out of desperation and after tasting them, I was in the frame of mind that I really should not have bought them at all and that I would throw them in the bin because they had absolutely no redeeming qualities what-so-ever. Anyway in my usual state of disorganisation, they did not manage to make it to the bin and in the interim, they took on this rich, dark red colour and looked actually quite inviting. I just knew however that they were not good and that looks can certainly be deceiving, so I decided that they needed whatever flavour they had, concentrated and then, enhanced.

So, to revive poor tomatoes, score the tomato tops with a deep cross. Squeeze a blob of butter and a sprig of basil into each. Place in an oven proof dish and drizzle over a little olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. Bake at 200 degrees for about half an hour.

I served this on toasted ciabatta, rubbed with fresh, juicy garlic and a small sliver of selle sur cher. Any good goats cheese will do, the Selles-sur-cher has a great flavour and a slightly dry crumbly texture. What would also be great with this would be Monte Enebro. A goats milk cheese from Avila in Spain - it is a firm favourite in our house with young and old. It has a complex lemony flavour and satiny consistency the most delicious, rural farmyard taste and smell.

I do believe that I did start my post tonight with the intention of telling you how to make a cheap spaghetti supper, so I apologise for getting somewhat side tracked by the goats cheese, but it is worth the diversion.
In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water (with a little drop of olive oil, as this stops the water from boiling over) place about 250 g of spaghetti (or enough for the number of people you are serving).
At the minute, I love Carluccios spaghetti for its eggy flavour and the diameter of each strand, which seems a fraction thicker than most other brands. In a frying pan, fry (as much as you like of) diced pancetta, bacon or any type of speck you have, in a knob of butter and a little oil until it is crispy. Take the pieces of meat out with a slotted spoon leaving the fat and juices in the pan. Add another knob of butter and a piece of crushed garlic and fry a large handful of bread crumbs. I grated some ciabatta with my box grater which produced some moist bread crumbs along with larger bits of crust which soak up the garlicy oil and taste great. Roughly chop some parsley.
When the spaghetti is al dente, toss all the ingredients together and serve with finely grated Parmesan.
Cheap, quick, heart warming and delicious, but I am sorry to say, definitely not Masterchef - I will try that another evening.

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