Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Cupboard Was Bare Balsamic Pasta

Everybody needs an emergency go to dish when you find that there is no fresh food in the house and you are hungry as hell. The lack of provisions may be the result of a hectic work life or a frenetic social life. Or, like me you may not have been able to face slogging around the supermarket with a blank look on your face as you desperately seek inspiration for dinner.

This is my go to dish calling for only an onion as its fresh vegetable, and there is always one of those lurking around at the bottom of the fridge- right? Ok, so this isn't going to help toward your five a day but it will fill a hungry tummy in about 10-15 minutes. You can throw in whatever veggies (e.g. frozen peas or spinach) you have or a slice of bacon or ham (real or fake) or some cheese to jazz this up.

In relation to balsamic vinegar, for those of you that are gluten free, from what I have read, if it is good quality vinegar with no other ingredients e.g caramel coloring derived from a gluten source is safe for celiacs and those that cannot tolerate gluten (University Chicago Celiac Disease Center). Check the label before you use but generally most distilled vinegars are safe, apart from malt vinegar which is not gluten free. 

Balsamic Onion Pasta (serves 1)
Can be Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, meat option

75-100g / 3-3.5oz Pasta (gluten free if required)
1-2 Onions
1 tsp crushed garlic (optional)
1tbs Olive oil
1-2tsp Sugar
1tbs Balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2tbs Tomato ketchup (gluten free) or puree/paste (optional)

Optional extras if you have them (and can eat them!)
Fresh Basil
Grated cheese to top
Slice bacon or ham
Sprinkle dried herbs
Handful vegetables or mushrooms
Splash of wine

  • Cook pasta according to packet instructions and drain.
  • In the meantime, thinly slice the onions. In a pan add the oil and heat. Once hot add the onions and fry over a low heat until starting to brown and then add the garlic (and any other optional veggies or meat) and sugar and allow to caramelize. Keep stirring to prevent it from burning. 
  • Once the onion is browned add the vinegar (and wine if using) and stir add in the cooked, drained pasta and stir.
  • Add the salt and pepper and tomato ketchup (optional) and any fresh herbs and cook for a couple of minutes whilst the pasta absorbs the sauce. Add a splash of water if the pasta starts to dry out and sticks to the pan. Taste the dish and add more salt, pepper, sugar or vinegar as required. Serve immediately. 

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