Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sausage and Bacon Pasta

I bought a packet of Basics Smoked Back Bacon for my regular cooking about a week ago. Before Sainsbury's introduced their Cooking Bacon, this was the cheapest form of pork rashers that was available, and it saw me through the better part of my university life. Everybody loves bacon for its taste, and some also for its relative longevity in the fridge, and so Sainsbury's Basics Smoked Back Bacon was a source of comfort despite my austere lifestyle as a student.

This would originally have been a post about Penne Amatriciana, except that I lacked chilli and cheese, the former not available on the Basics line, and wanted to add a sausage to my meal to run down my inventory. Thinking about it, if Sainsbury's were to really introduce Basics chillies, they might be able to get the attention of students from cultures where the vegetable is regularly used.
In an effort to minimise the amount of fat I would consume in this meal, I trimmed the fat from the bacon, and grilled both sausage and bacon to let out more fat.

While waiting for the meat to cook, a thought occurred to me that I could attempt to cook the Basics pasta in the sauce. The motivation is two-fold: I could skip on having to cook the pasta separately, and at the same time, get it to absorb the excess liquid and hence, some flavour, from the peeled tomatoes. The only problem is that adding the pasta directly would result in the excess starch getting into the sauce, an unwanted effect. To get around this, I borrowed an idea from the Chinese, who would wash their rice with water several times before cooking. I treated the pasta in a similar manner, stopping when the water was no longer cloudy as it was the first time.
In a heated wok, add the meat hot off the grill, and the garlic, and fry until garlic is fragrant.
Add 1 tablespoon of Basics vinegar and pepper and Basics herb mix to taste.
Add in the pasta and Basics peeled tomatoes. Add a bit of water as well, such that the pasta is covered. Leave to cook until pasta is done, or a little longer if you want more of the liquid to evaporate.
The experiment with the pasta was a success. The sauce was definitely worth doing again, and even the sausage was pleasant. A comment made on the MoneySavingExpert forums that the latter can be a bit sagey is accurate. However, I'm not sure my friends would be warm to the idea of me cooking pasta in this manner, so this would be a cooking technique I would only subject myself to.
DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Smoked Back Bacon£1.20300g+£1.04More regular shapes, fewer but thicker slices

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