Never before have our kitchen store cupboards been so organised, as thousands of us have used our ‘lockdown’ time productively to have a good clear out. How many jars and packets did you have to throw away, after scrutinising the labels and shockingly finding a best before date prior to you ever hearing the word ‘Brexit’?
Sorting out our own kitchen shelves was no different. Russ’ passion for Asian cuisine clearly evident as we discovered herbs and spices, pastes and marinades, reminding him of previously tried and tested, but temporarily forgotten, dishes. After binning the rejects and with recipe ideas rekindled, we went straight to work planning the weeks meals. Starting on Monday with a hot and sour Laksa in Thailand, spicing up a packet of couscous in Morocco mid-week, before landing in Italy on Saturday. Figuratively speaking of course! Here I opened a cold bottle of Gavi de Gavi, while Russ threw together a jar of truffle and artichoke pesto (bought on a Sainsbury’s special!) and every vegetable left in the fridge, all stirred through a very rare packet of spaghetti. The flavour was unexpectedly subtle creating a creamy finish. Delicious.
But in times like these as we try to shop less frequently, our store cupboards can be our saviour and the basis for quick, tasty, budget friendly meals. We may not be able to move far from our front doors at the moment but we can still go on a culinary journey of the world and find inspiration in that tin of chick peas or jar of brined olives . Get the most out of your ‘pantry staples’ and make them sing; even baked beans and tuna can be transformed with a little imagination.
We’ve shared with you below one of our favourite store cupboard pasta dishes, Spaghetti Puttanesca, using tuna rather than the traditional anchovies. It’s packed full of flavour but incredibly simple and quick to prepare. See our tip below on THE BEST capers in the world…and of course the perfect wine to compliment the dish. Enjoy.
Serves 2 good portions could stretch to 3
- 3 tbsp olive oil (for cooking)
- 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle over finished dish)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 160g tin tuna in oil
- 120g pitted black olives, sliced (more if you’re an olive lover!)
- 2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
- 300g dried spaghetti
- Salt and pepper to taste (see note)
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn, or a herb of your choice
1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium to low heat. Add the onions and garlic and fry until soft and translucent. Do not brown.
2. Stir in the tomatoes and chilli flakes (if you’re not a spice fan, go easy, you can always add more!). Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for at least 10 minutes, to allow flavour to develop. If you’re not in a hurry, low and slow cooking means more depth of flavour. Season to taste.
3. Whilst the tomato sauce is cooking chop your olives and capers. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil (you can always boil your water in the kettle for speed!). Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.
4. Add capers and olives to the sauce and heat through. The addition of a tablespoon of tomato ketchup at this stage can really lift the tomato flavour. (this is mainly due to the sugar in the sauce)
5. Drain the pasta and stir through the sauce with the basil or herb of choice and the flaked tuna. Adding the tuna last, prevents from it becoming too ‘fishy’ as can often happen when cooked for too long.
6.Serve immediately, sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Worlds Pantry Tip…play around with ingredients!! Add more or less, whatever suits you. It’s the only way you’ll learn what works for you, but at the very least follow the basic principles of the recipe.
Order your capers from www.oliveology.co.uk
If you get the chance do visit their stall in London’s Borough Market where you will find the finest Greek Artisan products
The punchy sauce of the puttanesca can be quite a lot for many wines to handle. Our preference would be for a southern Italian red. The juicy black cherry, plum and spice of the primitivo/zinfandel grape compliments tomato based sauces perfectly.
On offer now at a modest £7.50 in Morrisons, matured in American oak barrels, and amazingly smooth, this is a great find – The Wanted Zinfandel Old Vines (Italy, Puglia) 14.5%
Any questions/comments regarding this or any of our recipes and articles, contact us at email@example.com We would love to hear from you.
If possible treat yourself to a good flaked sea salt. Maldon Sea Salt is our favourite. It’s much better for you than table salt and you need less as it has a more intense flavour