This recipe is for my brother, who’s been bugging me for it for a while! This is another of the one pot meals I throw together when I have no idea what to cook. It’s fast, cheap and tastes good too – all essential for a weeknight’s dinner. It doesn’t take much work and it’s unlikely a stop at the supermarket is needed. Most of the ingredients are cupboard or freezer or fridge staples.

Chorizo and Pea Rice

Once again, feel free to substitute or add or remove anything that takes your fancy but if you do make it like this, I highly recommend the chopped parsley and lemon at the end. It just lifts the richness from the chorizo. I first made this dish using basmati rice but we find that plain American long grain suits it better.

Chorizo and Pea Rice
serves 2-3.

1 medium sized onion, chopped
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thinly
a few large pinches of dried chili flakes
100g chorizo, chopped coarsely
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup (250mL) long grain rice
a few handfuls of frozen peas
salt and freshly ground black pepper
flat leafed parsley
lemon wedges

In a large saute pan (use one with a lid or have a large lid handy), heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Fry the chopped onion until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and chili flakes and fry until fragrant. Toss in the chorizo and fry for another minute or so – the smoked paprika in the chorizo will colour everything! Then add the tomato paste and give it a good stir through. Add the rice and stir to coat each grain of rice with the reddish oil.

Pour in 2.5 cups of water and stir through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the saute pan. When the water has got quite warm but isn’t simmering yet, stir through the frozen peas. Shake the pan so the rice lays flat but not compacted and then cover again and leave until the rice is cooked through.

Meanwhile, prepare your lemon wedges and chopped parsley for serving. When the rice is cooked, fluff it up with a fork and serve with a good scattering of parsley on top. Pass the lemon wedges.

Last Sunday, we arrived back at our flat a little grumpy and very hungry after a terrible bus ride from the centre of town. We had been to see a concert at the newly refurbished Royal Festival Hall (very nice!) and the traffic had been absurd both ways, especially at Knightsbridge. There was no inclination to eat out – we just wanted to be home, warm and dry. I raided the fridge, freezer and our cupboards to come up with this.

It’s a truly alliterative meal!

Pasta with Pancetta and Peas

Pasta with Pancetta and Peas
serves 2.

250g pasta, we used fusilli (other shapes that are not noodles would work well)
1 medium-sized onion, diced
70g pancetta, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
olive oil
a good splash of white wine or stock (optional)
double cream
salt and pepper

Set the pasta boiling. Heat some olive oil over moderate heat and fry the onion until almost golden. Toss in the pancetta and continue frying until the pancetta is cooked through. Add the frozen peas and mix together with the onion mixture. Splash in the white wine or even just a bit of water and let it all simmer until the peas are heated through. Pour in some double cream – how much you want to add is up to you. More cream means a creamier (and fattier) pasta dish. Add salt and pepper to taste.

By now your pasta should be cooked. Drain and mix with the sauce, adding some pasta water if it’s too difficult to mix together. Wolf it all down as you’re hungry; try not to burn yourself in the process.