Occasionally I manage to accidently create a dish that requires neither effort nor a great time investment. I say accidently because I often misread even the most basic of culinary instructions. In my defence it’s a well known fact that a chap can’t create, concentrate or pleasure cook on an empty stomach; and seeing as how eating a full meal just before creating another would be plain greedy then these hasty mistakes will always be a distinguishing feature of my time in the kitchen. And so here’s a little something I cobbled together last night in order to satisfy my lust for Italian cooking and my fascination with having a full belly.
This recipe should feed up to six people, or three fat knackers. When we cook in this house we always cook at least one or two portions for the freezer. So come a nuclear winter while the rest of the world is sitting down to a tin of corned beef and baked beans with a deep sadness in their heart, we’ll be eating gourmet food out of plastic tubs and trying to find the bright side of a world populated by nuclear mutants. It’s amazing how a gut full of greatness can improve one’s outlook on life. So without further ado, and before I somehow manage to bring dancing zombies into this confusing nuclear scenario here’s my recipe for Spicy Chicken Penne.
(You can probably buy cheaper versions of any of these ingredients, but I like indulging in the fine stuff, it’s a relatively cheap way of eating like a king, a king with his own Italian chef).
- 2 x skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 2 x tins of Italian chopped tomatoes (400g tins we call them in the UK, gawd bless the metric system)
- 2 medium red onions or one whopper behemoth of a red onion
- 1 small fresh chilli or a sprinkling of chilli flakes or something, anything hot that isn’t chilli powder
- 9 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- A handful of pitted black olives (at least 20, I have no idea how big your hands are, nor what ‘that means’ in relation to any other part of your body)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 or 2 pinches of sea salt
- Penne pasta (it doesn't really matter what sort of pasta I guess, in fact that pasta that comes in the shape of farm animals might be fun, go nuts, live a little)
- Grill the chicken breasts and then tear them to shreds like a wild beast using a couple of forks. When they look like they’ve been involved in some sort of small explosion put them to one side, and try and resist the urge to nibble on them while carrying out the rest of these instructions.
- Sling all the oil into a massive saucepan – I don’t think there’s any scientific reason to use a massive saucepan it’s just more fun – and heat it very gently. While the oil is heating (gently, don’t be hasty little hobbit) finely chop the red onions, it’s okay to have a little cry at this point, just don’t rub your eyes with fingers rich in onion juice.
- Pop in a couple of pinches of sea salt, be sparing rather than generous.
- Sling the chopped onions into the oil and move them around a bit whilst whistling a merry tune until they soften, we don’t want to let them go brown. When I say ‘we’ I mean ‘you’, I won’t be there to help you cook this meal, although all invitations to eat it will be considered.
- Chop the chilli as small as you possibly can and mix it into the oil and onion slop; leave it on the heat for another few minutes then bung in your chopped red pepper.
- Stir in the two tins of chopped tomatoes, and (if you like) use then to make a trotting horsey sound effect while you do a few loops of your kitchen.
- Drop in the olives and shredded chicken and leave on a low heat for as long as you fancy.
- When your ravenous troops are assembled drop some cooked pasta into the pan and mix it thoroughly with the gorgeous sauce you have created.
- Serve with a gracious smile and enjoy the compliments of all present.