Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Recipe: Spaghetti, sweet onion, tomato and cruncy pancetta

This is one of those dishes that I often cook when I am enjoying a rare night in on my own. Living in a sociable flat with two housemates it is not often that I get to cook for myself and myself only and when I do I like to create something that is just to my liking. No worrying about one persons dislike for onions or another preference for garlic. And as much as I like cooking for other people, and particuarly for Elliott and Alex, when I know I am going to be home alone I do look forward to it.

This meal can be cooked for 1 just as easily as it can for 20. It is extremely simple, quick, cheap and can be tweaked to just the way you like it. It is also a good base for other ingredients; perhaps some fried aubergines (crunchy but not too oily) or some cavolo nero piled on top. But when it is just me I like it just the way it is.

Spaghetti, sweet onion, tomato and cruncy pancetta

Serves 1 - increase as desired for more diners
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Approx cost: £5

A small packet cherry tomatoes (15-20)
3 strips of pancetta (or parma ham if you can't get it)
5 shallots
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon chilli powder
Pasta (ideally fresh spaghetti, but dry will will fine)
Olive oil

Heat a medium size roasting dish in oven (Gas mark 6) for 10 minutes with a generous amount of olive oil (a thin layer covering the bottom).
Chop shallots into thin slices
Chop garlic
Throw the cherry tomatoes, shallots and garlic into the dish and toss around to make sure they are covered in olive oil. Season with salt.
Place in oven at gas mark 6 for 30 minutes, until shallots are starting to soften and tomatoes pop. If tomatoes need help softening then use the back of a fork to push in the middle - it's fun!
Create space in the dish for pancetta strips so you can lay each strip in the hot oil. If no space available then lay them on top of tomatoes/shallots.
Sprinkle chilli powder over dish evenly.
Return to oven for 15-2o minutes.
Cook spaghetti
Take out when pancetta is cruncy and tomatoes are soft and cooked through.
Drain spaghetti and then add it to roasting dish and cover with the sauce.

Serve and top with parmesan shavings. Pour yourself
a glass of wine and enjoy.

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