Pete brought home a small bag of trimmed green beans from Morrisons last Sunday. We wouldn’t normally buy trimmed veg, but these were 50p. And I always feel guilty about the food miles with Kenyan beans, but it’s very efficient (the Food Programme told me so), and Kenyan farmers are entitled to a living.
Anyhow, we needed to be fed and out quickly last night, so here’s a 15 minute meal start to finish.
- Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta
- Chop one onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic (or more – entirely up to you)
- Make sure the beans are in fact trimmed – sometimes packets lie (snarl)
- Weigh 125g of pasta quills (that’s what we have for two of us)
- Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, and put the onions and garlic in to cook gently
- When pasta water is boiling, add pasta *and* beans (thus saving time and washing up). Set timer for 10 minutes
- Realise that the small packet of beans is really quite small, and add some pancetta cubes to the pan
- (Ideally get husband to) grate lots of parmesan
- When timer goes, drain pasta and beans, add to frying pan, add parmesan, stir around, eat, run.
We eat a lot of this sort of thing – cheap and tasty. This one started with a tub of lentils from the freezer – no point in cooking just one meals’ worth. I finely diced carrot, red pepper and onion, and some garlic, fried them off, then added some ras el hanouh, and cooked it all through for a couple more minutes.
Then about a mugful of red lentils, and probably three mugs of water (although start with two and check as it goes). Sometimes I put a splash of red wine in; it’s a remarkably versatile base recipe. Bring to a slow boil, and cook for about 40 minutes. That will do us at least four servings, and probably six, depending on how much veg went in it. So that was the lentils.
I sliced an aubergine, put it on a tray covered in tin foil (saves washing up), drizzled with olive oil, and bunged in a gas 8 oven for about half an hour. Made a white sauce (with wholemeal flour – always use that for pretty much everything) while that was going on.
Then into an ovenproof dish: half the lentils, half the aubergines, a layer of spinach, half the white sauce, then the rest of lentils, aubergines, white sauce, and topped with grated parmesan. At least it should have been topped, but I got a bit confused 🙂 and put the parmesan on before the last bit of white sauce. No matter. Baked in a hot oven for about 25 minutes.
This was using up a wrinkly aubergine, some spinach that doesn’t look as though it’s going to last long, and some grated parmesan I bought for our camping trip – I’d normally put feta on top of this.