BACON TOMATO ORZO

‘I’ve also consumed this with an unreasonable amount of garlic bread. But I’m gross’.

‘Basic’ is an ugly term in our Instagram 2K17 generation, isn’t it? It conjures images of girls who (want to) look like Kylie Jenner referring to something as subpar. Not on their level. Simply not good enough. Well this is a basic pasta sauce for a basic pasta shape and it is basically wonderful.

When I say basic, I mean it in terms of it being incredibly simply and something you can definitely do of an evening when you have nothing else to contribute to the Kitchen table except some chopping and stirring. It’s also one of those comfort foods in that it’s repetitive, almost like a stew or a soup, because every mouthful will have the same texture and same flavours. And sometimes that’s exactly what you want

In a frying pan, melt a little butter and cook some lardons until crisp. Remove from the pan and keep on a plate covered in foil. In a deep-ish pan with a lid, pour in the bacon fat and pour in a little olive oil. Add to this a roughly chopped white onion and once the onion begins to soften, roughly chop a chunky garlic clove and drop it in for 5 minutes. Add a finely chopped red chili – seeds and all and give everything a stir, cooking for about 3 more minutes.

Roughly chop about 4 or 5 tomatoes and add to the pan. Stir fairly gently but allow to cook until the tomatoes begin to loosen and express their ‘juices’, so to speak. Once the tomatoes have begun to soften, pour in a cup of water, a small cup of red wine followed by a quick dash of balsamic vinegar and bring everything to a bubble. Drop it down to a simmer, throw in a bay leaf, clamp a lid on and let it bubble away.

Now cook your orzo per packet instruction. I mean, I use orzo here only because I was genuinely craving that small, grainy, childlike repetitive spoonful however this works great with any pasta. It may be slightly too wet for a long pasta alike linguine or spaghetti, so I’d go for penne or fussili if you don’t fancy orzo. Once you’ve cooked and drained your orzo, throw it into the tomato sauce along with the bacon bits you sided earlier and give everything a stir. Feel free to keep this simmering for another 4/5 minutes to allow all of your ingredients to amalgamate but I’m happy to just take it off the heat and eat there and then.

Polish the whole thing off with a dusty throw of Parmesan. Because… cheese. I need not say any more.
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I’ve also consumed this with an unreasonable amount of garlic bread. But I’m gross.

I often crave repetitive nursery food. I enjoy the meals that require hand crafting or a little bit of graft to get it from plate to stomach, but after a long day at work and the dog is a nightmare and the phone won’t stop ringing, sometimes all I want is a bowl of something hot, spicy and totally monotonous to remind me that there is shelter in the world.

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