A quick throw-together recipe for a goat’s cheese, cherry tomato and basil penne dish – or, as I like to call it, Fridge Scraps Pasta. The first name is probably more appetising, but it seems only fair to refer to this recipe as to what it really is, which is a hunger-panicked chuck-it-all-in-the-pan affair. I seem to have a very odd hunger-warning mechanism: I have a twenty minute fuse when it comes to reacting to that initial pang or tummy grumble. After that twenty minute window has passed, I get really cross or I have to sit down in the street, or something else completely stupid and impractical and inconvenient. So I do often find myself rampaging through the fridge, angrily smashing jars about as I try to find suitable oddments to construct a salad with.
But – let’s face it – nothing beats a little bowl of tasty pasta when you’re ravenous. And if you can’t find salad leaves, or anything else that will make a good lunch “base”, it’s the perfect food vehicle for transporting things like cherry tomatoes and bits of cheese from plate to mouth. Otherwise, sans pasta, you’d just have a plate of cherry tomatoes and bits of cheese. The pasta, in this case the wholewheat penne, brings everything together and makes it into something resembling a meal. Granted it’s not the best option for those trying to keep their carb intake low, but to be quite frank, when I get to Hunger Danger Level I couldn’t really care less. And it least it’s all reasonably fresh. Ish.
For this particular edition of “Fridge Scraps Pasta” I used some colourful cherry tomatoes that were just on their way to being overripe, and I fried them off in some olive oil with crushed garlic, dried chilli flakes and a good pinch of Malden Sea Salt. I put the pasta on to boil and then let the tomatoes just sit there in the tasty oil, and while the pasta was on the go I rummaged about in the refrigerator for some cheese. The parmesan I’d earmarked had gone a bit weird but luckily there was a round of Chevre lurking at the back, hidden beneath an empty milk carton. (Not mine. Obviously. Don’t even get me started.) I crumbled the Chevre on my chopping board and pulled a load of basil leaves from my dying basil plant and then, once I had drained my penne and tossed it in the hot oil and tomatoes, I plonked it all into a bowl-plate (Bowlate? Plowl?) and scattered the cheese and basil over the top. Healthy grind of the old pepper-pot and away we went, Fridge Scraps Pasta and I, to the dining room table.
That read like something from Miss Havisham’s Book of Goulish Recipes, and I’m sorry about that, but not everything is perfectly planned and prepared! In fact, some of my best lunches have been crazy inventions from the fridge. Maybe I’ll start a Fridge Scraps series! FYI: I usually boil myself up about 70g of pasta – I find that enough, but feel free to adjust. I had about 80g of cheese and there were about ten large cherry tomatoes in the pan, with two cloves of garlic (love it), a pinch of chilli flakes and a good lug of olive oil.