Store cupboard dinners are sometimes the best ones because you’re forced to use ingredients you would normally think twice about combining. I’m leaving for Chicago tomorrow so I’ve been making do with whatever is left in my kitchen, which is how I chanced upon this little gem of a recipe.

I was faced with a hotch potch of food in my fridge, all of which I was tempted to throw in a pot and hope for the best, but I resisted. What I did choose to add worked an unexpected treat for it had both me and hubbie oohing and aahing after every mouthful. It was the creamy spiciness that overwhelmed us because I was rather dubious about adding the cream in the first place – mainly due to the fact it had been sitting in the fridge for over a week! But then again maybe it was the salty nuggets of pork or the gorgeously soft red onions or the mega amounts of garlic or wait, wait, the oregano that took the meal to a whole other level. Okay, okay, it was all good, every last bit(e) of it.

I wouldn’t normally blog about store cupboard dinners. I want to give you tried and tested recipes that have been consistent winners but I’m bursting to tell you about this one. Will you allow me that? And will you trust me enough to risk making this yourself just so I know it isn’t my imagination that it’s so damn fabulous? Please do and report back pronto.

Ingredients:

3 small red onions

100g pancetta

3 large cloves garlic

tablespoon oregano

1 red chilli

teaspoon easy chilli

75ml double cream

50g butter

2/3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

200g penne

Heat 25g butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add finely sliced red onions, season and fry for a few minutes on a medium heat. When they begin to soften add the garlic and oregano. I added the other 25g butter and the rest of the oil at this stage. I know it seems like a lot butter and oil but you’re about to eat a dish with a heck of a lot of double cream anyway so just go with it.

When the onion has softened – this should take around 10mins – toss in the pancetta and chilli (both chopped and easy). You want the pancetta cooked but not crispy. There’ll be no need to salt but do get liberal with the ground pepper.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and salt. Add penne and cook for 10mins.

Whilst the penne is cooking add the double cream to the pan and bring to a very gentle simmer. Taste, season, taste. Grate some parmesan.

Drain penne and add to pan mixing thoroughly whilst it’s still on a low heat. Serve, sprinkle with parmesan and eat immediately:)

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