Last Saturday evening our youngest son was heading out to a party. I like to think we’re old hands at matters teenage so we trod carefully and got away with asking a few questions, which elicited the following: it was local, so he could walk to it, and was being hosted by two of his school friends. We were also told he and others would be gathering at a friend’s house beforehand and walking to the party together.
We’ve been here before of course, my husband and I. The difference is that when our older boys went to parties, there was always at least one left behind who, depending on his age at the time, needed some sort of attention from us. Since our third son left home to seek his fortune (well, first to go to university and now London to try out various jobs) our life has been undergoing subtle change. We’re very gradually becoming accustomed to just the two of us sitting down to eat together, but it’s still quite a rare thing because my husband tends to be away two nights a week in London. And we won’t be proper emptynesters until we can go to sleep without listening out for the key in the door announcing that someone has arrived home safely.
So that he could dash off to meet his friends on Saturday without going hungry, the boy ate a large, late lunch. Once he’d gone, I set about preparing this pasta dish which I’d found on the BBC website. It was the first time I’d cooked anything by Darina Allen, but it was delicious and I’ll definitely make it again and seek out more of her recipes. I halved the quantities and, I confess, DID NOT peel the tomatoes, but I did deseed them. I hate fiddly cooking jobs. I’m probably rather a lazy cook. I also left the rosemary out. Get me. Oh, and we didn’t have parmesan with it either.
Darina Allen’s Penne with Tomatoes, Chorizo and Cream
- 450g penne pasta
- 25g butter
- 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 700g fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- sugar, pinch of
- 175-225g chorizo
- pinch chilli flakes
- 125-175ml cream
- 3 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
- 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan, to serve (optional)
- Melt the butter in a saucepan on the simmering plate, add the chopped rosemary and diced tomatoes
- Season with salt, pepper and sugar
- Cook in the simmering oven until the tomatoes have just begun to soften into a sauce
- Chop the chorizo into small chunks, say 5x5mm, and add to the pan with the chilli flakes
- Add the cream and two tablespoons of the parsley, and allow to bubble for 3-4 minutes on the simmering plate, stirring frequently until the cream has reduced by half. Keep this warm in the simmering oven
- Cook the pasta (on the boiling plate) until al dente, drain and stir into the sauce
- Sprinkle with the remaining parsley
We also ate some of the Bordeaux Quay focaccia I’d bought at Whiteladies Road Market in the morning, which probably made the meal somewhat carb heavy but hey, it was Saturday night and we thought we’d live a little. We drank a glass or two of Rioja too!