For the past few months, I have been teaching a friend to cook. He wanted to learn some simple recipes and asked if I would show him the basics. It sounded like a fun project – and let’s face it, there’s nothing like being made to feel knowledgeable to boost one’s ego – so of course I was only too happy to oblige!
Last night we made spaghetti with vodka and chilli. I used to cook this when I was a student (it’s a step up from pasta with pesto…) and rediscovered it the other day when I was leafing through an old recipe notebook. Sounds like a slightly weird combo I know, but give it a go next time you want to cook something quick and easy with a kick.
Spaghetti with Vodka and Chilli
1 tablespoon olive oil
small knob of butter
2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, skinned*, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
80ml double cream
5 tablespoons vodka
freshly grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, to serve
Cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan. When it is foaming gently, add the chopped chillies and tomatoes and cook for around 4 minutes. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the pan. Pour in the cream and give everything a good stir with a spatula so that the pasta is well coated in the sauce. Add the vodka, stir again and then turn off the heat (if the vodka evaporates you will lose the taste).
Serve sprinkled with parmesan and pepper.
* To skin a tomato:
Score a cross in the skin on the base of the tomato and place it in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for up to 1 minute (no longer or the tomato will start to cook and the flesh will become furry). Drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water. You should now find it easy to remove the skin.
I’m afraid I don’t have a photo of the finished dish as we hoovered it up too quickly. Instead, there is a picture of the beautiful painting that my friend, who is a talented artist, gave me when I recently moved house; it was partly to say thank you for the cookery lessons. Love it when people can share their talents and skills like this. (If anyone out there would like some beginners’ cooking classes in exchange for painting the walls of my new place, get in touch! ;))