This was originally going to be a comment here but it was going on way too long for a single comment and since everyone* seems to be doing cookery based posts all of a sudden it seemed more appropriate to make a real post out of it
*well, these two anyway. Apologies for not linking to the specific post on Twonilblankblank but its either down right now or (more likely) our office network is playing silly buggers again. [EDIT: ha, got it]
So, Dana has asked for people's favourite food. I could go on for pages and pages about a perfect beef ragu but for everyday eating (i.e. things which take less than 3 hours to cook) my current favourite has got to be linguine with prawns.
(measurements are mostly guesswork)
1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
1-3 cloves of garlic, according to taste, finely chopped
~300ml tomato passata
~100ml vegetable stock
220g fresh shelled prawns (because thats the size of the packs of taste the difference prawns from Sainsburys. A few more would be preferable. )
However much linguine 2 of you will eat (as I live with a pasta addict this is often as much as 400g dry weight in our house)
Put water on for pasta. SLOWLY cook onion and garlic in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Strangely, I find a wok is the the perfect pan for this - the base is small enough that the onion and garlic sit in enough oil not to burn but because it flares out its big enough to use to mix everything together at the end. Once the water is boiling and the pasta is in, add the passata and stock to the onions and garlic and bring to a simmer. If you happen to have any white wine lying around, you could do a lot worse than add a splash of it before this step (sadly I'm a cider drinking heathen and my housemate only drinks red so we rarely do) 3-4 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the prawns to the sauce along with a tablespoon or two of the pasta water and check for seasoning. Top tip: add a touch of sugar as well as salt and pepper, supermarket passata in the UK is always too acidic and this helps balance it out. Drain the pasta when it is still slightly underdone, add it to the sauce, keep the heat on low and stir together for the final minute of cooking to ensure the sauce properly coats the pasta.
Dead simple, done in 20 minutes and bloody fantastic, if I do say so myself.
Recipe inspired by Linguine with Lobster from Giorgio Locatelli's Made In Italy, but simplified (and budgeted) down to where I can face cooking it after work. A slightly more faithful, but still affordable, version of the original recipe could be made by buying unpeeled prawns and using the shells and a pinch of saffron to make the stock but this is more effort than I'm usually willing to put in.