Friday, 21 September 2012

Eddie French: Big Fat Greedy Pasta Bake

Eddie French is a Yorkshire-based comic and a member of the Dicount Comedy Checkout improv group.

I call this the Big, Fat, Greedy Pasta Bake because it's a Pasta Bake and I'm a big fat greedy.

I realise that I am the first person to go about adding flesh to proceedings but this is easily removed/substituted in the dish to make it veggie or vegan. This will hopefully allow everyone to try this one out while also allowing me to be held lower in the esteem of some of my peers. Never accuse me of failing to multi-task.


1 large onion.
3 medium peppers (any colours you like, treat yourselves),
6 large mushrooms (or equivalent volume in small mushrooms),
Half to two thirds of a courgette (if you're having trouble finding them then use a zucchini and an
Itallian to French dictionary),
2 tins of chopped tomatoes,
2-3 chicken breasts,
3 inches of chorizo (if one is going to make an amusing face when handling this then do remember
to flare your nostrils, some traditions abide for a reason),
Dried pasta,
Tomato purée,
1 lemon,
1 fresh chilli,
1 desert spoon of sugar,
3 cloves of garlic,
Balsamic vinegar,
Basil and oregano (fresh and dried),
2-3 slices of stale bread,
Salt and black pepper,
Grated cheese.
Rape seed oil.


The Bake.

Heat a few teaspoons of rape seed oil on a hob in a wide, oven safe pan. Obviously you can use the cooking fat of your choice but if, like me, you're not very edgy then using rape seed oil allows you to see how the edgy half live. It's quite liberating, I can tell you. (It's also an oil that can take a high heat and doesn't have a flavour that would overpower the dish.) Chop up the veg until it no longer poses a choking hazard and bung it into the hot oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir fry until the veg is pretty much cooked.

The chorizo is used more as a seasoning than a substantial part of this dish. Slice it into tuppence sized slivers (feel free to snigger at the word tuppence; either as a childish anatomical reference or as an archaic term for what is now an essentially worthless quantity of currency) and chop them into quarters. If you want the seasoning and not the meat then add a generous teaspoon of paprika to the mix after the tomatoes have been added. Then slice the chicken into inch chunks and add them and the chorizo to the pan as well as the chopped chilli, two, crushed cloves of garlic and a squirt of tomato purée. Add more seasoning.

When the chicken is all sealed and the chroizo has released some of it's oil and started to crisp up a little then add the two cans of tomatoes and one can's worth of water. Stir everything through so it's all mixed up and looks like a runny ratatouille.

Add the lemon rind and juice and a splash of balsamic vinegar, more seasoning and the fresh basil and oregano (you can use dried if you don't have fresh). Then add the sugar, stir it up and taste the liquid. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Add 3 handfuls of dried pasta, mix and bung the into a preheated oven (200 degrees, 180 if fan assisted) and bake until the pasta is cooked (15-20 minutes)

The Topping.

This is optional but it is rather good.

Take the stale bread and blitz in a food processor until it reduced to breadcrumbs. Then add the remaining clove of garlic, dried oregano and basil and salt and pepper. Blitz some more while adding 2-3 tablespoons of rape seed oil as it blends. Taste and adjust flavours.

When the pasta is just about cooked spread the breadcrumbs over the top and return to the oven or place under the grill. When the crumbs are toasted add some grated cheese and grill until melty and nice.

This dish is best served hot on the day of cooking and then on the following two days, straight out of the cooking receptacle, out of the fridge with the door open and a lingering regret that you have no one with whom to share said meal.

Love and indigestion,

Eddie French


The Discount Comedy Checkout

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