Sunday, 24 January 2016

How to make an elegant dish for one out of very little

I am the Queen of fast, easy and nutritious food. My work schedule means that I don't have hours to prepare an evening meal and despite having a hectic life, I cook every single day. This quick and simple dish is elegant enough for a dinner party and is not expensive at all. Why anyone would buy ready-made tomato sauce when the real thing is so easy to make, is one of the great mysteries of the universe- please give it a try.

Ingredients for one person:

One tin of chopped tomatoes, 100 grams of spaghetti, four cloves of garlic (crushed), a splash of olive oil, a small tin of anchovies, one bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 50 grams of unsalted butter and a good grinding of pepper.

Heat the olive in a small pan over medium heat. When the oil is very hot, add half the butter and the garlic. Toss for twenty seconds or so until the garlic is lightly browned. Remember that garlic burns quickly and when it does becomes bitter (which will ruin the dish).

Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, the thyme, bay leaf and the black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Leave to cook for around twenty minutes until the sauce has thickened and small crater-like bubbles appear on the surface.

While the sauce is simmering, boil enough water to cook the pasta according to the package instructions.  I like my pasta softer than al dente so usually add two or three minutes to the recommended cooking time. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and keep covered. Mash the remaining butter with the anchovies. Add to the hot pasta and toss until coated in the anchovy butter.

Serve the spaghetti draped in the tomato sauce and with a good grating of Parmesan cheese. Accompany with a robust red wine and a salad. My supper last night!

For a dinner party, I would add a first course of seafood such as smoked prawns or small bowls of moules mariniere and to follow the main pasta dish, salad, a cheese platter and a very light dessert such as strawberries with an orange sabayon. All very easy and inexpensive to make.

Happy eating!

Photo copyright SvD.

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