Thursday, June 24, 2010

chilli pasta

You know something will be a hit when a family has a code word for it. In this case, “CP.” Apparently, the kids get too excited otherwise. Even the two year old says, “Chilli pata! Chilli pata!”

This recipe comes from England originally, via Nova Scotia, and has now winged its way across Canada to land on the West Coast with me. Many thanks to my friend Leanne from Chester Basin, N.S. for passing it along. She got the recipe from her sister Denise, who lives in Plymouth, England. Leanne reports that every Tuesday is chilli pasta night for Denise’s family.

There are two secrets to this recipe: chilli pepper and back bacon. The two make a smooth and smoky alliance in this tomato sauce. I think they were destined for each other.

Speaking of back bacon, who knew how many names there are for it? Apparently, it’s sometimes called Canadian bacon or Irish bacon in the U.S., and can be called peameal bacon in Canada. I wonder what it’s called in the U.K.?

This is the ultimate weeknight dinner recipe. Throw a few things in a pot, let it simmer, boil up some pasta, grate a bit of cheese . . . and be astounded by how delicious it all is.

Chilli pepper and back bacon: a happy marriage indeed.

A note: You could put in less soup or no soup and still make a great sauce. I like the soup because it makes the sauce creamier.

Another note: This makes quite a runny sauce, which I like to coat all the noodles. However, if you prefer a thicker sauce, try straining the canned tomatoes and/or adding less soup.

chilli pasta 

serves 4 adults

1/2 lb. (230 g.) back bacon or "Canadian" bacon, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 1/5 c. mushrooms, sliced
28 oz. (800 ml.) good quality diced tomatoes
2 c. cream of tomato soup (less from a can where it’s condensed)
1/2 to 1 green chilli pepper or jalapeño pepper, minced finely
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan or asiago cheese, grated

Heat heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat.

Add oil, then bacon. Stir and add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until onion has softened.

Add chilli or jalapeño pepper, diced tomatoes and tomato soup.

Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In the meantime, make the pasta and grate the cheese.

Once the sauce is ready, toss it with the pasta. Sprinkle cheese on top.

1 comment:

  1. My name is Joseph and i am 12 years old. I eat this meal every Tuesday night and I can confirm it is delicious. Fresh pasta adds authenticity to the Italian root of the dish. Indeed, every Tuesday night my brothers friend called Tim insists on coming over to share this meal with us.