You know those nights when you get in from work later than you’d hoped, you want to squeeze a bit of exercise in before you eat and then, by the time you’re ready to eat, you can hardly be bothered cooking at all? I had one of those tonight. I was fully intent on getting to my running club (wee shout out for Whitehead Runners – best club in the world), but having called in to a large local supermarket to restock the fruit bowl for the third time this week on my way home, got stuck in traffic and was home too late. Not one to be defeated by such a setback, I did a frantic half hour on the exercise bike while watching the wonderful Raymond Blanc’s ‘How to Cook Well’ on iPlayer, Afterwards, I was ready for food, craving carbs and desperate for a simple, speedy dish.
As I often do in such situations, I opened the fridge, had a good poke about in the veg drawer and those shelves in the door where all the wee jars of half-used condiments and rarely used ingredients get stored. Spotting a piece of chorizo on the bottom shelf and knowing I had a tin of anchovies in the cupboard, I started to piece together a really simple and light pasta dish that I’ve made in various guises over the years, always varying the ingredients a little depending on what’s available.
On this occasion, I had baby plum tomatoes and a bag of mixed salad leaves and added to the chorizo, anchovies, a few capers from the trusty fridge door shelf a bit of garlic and a few toasted pine nuts, voila! I had a lovely carb-filled but not too heavy dish to curb my hunger.
I call it my Speedy Storecupboard Pasta, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to take the recipe as a guide only and adapt it to suit your own tastes. It works perfectly as a veggie dish without the chorizo for example and you might want to throw in a few black olives for that saltiness that the chorizo contributes. In fact, go mad altogether and throw in the olives PLUS the chorizo! Live dangerously if you dare! I just didn’t have any olives to put into my dish tonight. A bit of lemon rind or a few herbs – parsley or thyme – work well too, as does some nicely crisped up bacon or a couple of cold sausages, sliced and re-heated. Hell, the options are endless!