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Pasta makes dinner so much simpler. Simply toss cooked pasta into any sauce of your choice, top with any combination of veggies or meat [leftovers work well here] and you have your evening meal under control within minutes. This holds true especially when you are too tired/lazy to cook yourself a proper meal and you’re also too tired/lazy to go out and buy food. Taken from BBC Good Food Everyday Pasta and Noodle Dishes, this cheat’s version of egg noodle pasta can be made as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chili to your taste or tolerance level.

SPICY PRAWN EGG NOODLE PASTA

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped tablespoon coriander purée

Pinch of crushed dried chilies, to taste

400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic

1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder

Half a 250g pack Chinese egg noodles

400g prawns, peeled and deveined

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Toss in the onion, squeeze in the coriander purée.

  • Sprinkle over the crushed chilies to taste. Stir fry for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.

  • Pour in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cans water, add tomato purée and sprinkle over bouillon powder.

  • Season well. Bring to a bubble, stirring, then lower the heat a little and let the sauce simmer.

  • Cook for about 15 minutes until slightly reduced but still sloppy. Break noodles into a bowl.

  • Pour in enough boiling water to cover. Stir and set aside. When sauce is ready, drain noodles.

  • Tip them into the sauce with uncooked prawns. Stir well and heat through for 2 minutes only.

  • Taste for seasoning and add more chilli flakes and a little sugar if you like. Makes 2 servings.

Spicy Prawn Egg Noodle Pasta

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This chicken and spinach Alfredo pasta, from Budget Bytes, is an easy and satisfying comfort meal on any day you have no more than 15 minutes to get dinner on the table. Frozen spinach works well here which is why you always need to have a bag in your freezer for emergencies. For variety, swap spinach for rocket or watercress and omit chicken or replace with sautéed mushrooms, smoked salmon or whatever protein you have on hand.

CHICKEN & SPINACH ALFREDO PASTA

Ingredients:

335g penne pasta

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups whole milk

168g cream cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan

1/4 tsp kitchen salt

Freshly cracked pepper

4 cups baby spinach

2 cups cooked chicken

Method:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook pasta. Once boiling, add pasta and cook till al dente.

  • Drain in a colander. While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce. Add butter and garlic to a deep pan.

  • Sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until garlic is soft and fragrant, but not brown.

  • Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the milk to the skillet along with cubed cream cheese.

  • Heat the milk and cream cheese while whisking, until the cheese has fully melted into the milk.

  • Whisk in the grated Parmesan and continue to whisk as the sauce comes up to a gentle simmer.

  • When it reaches a simmer, the sauce will thicken. Turn heat down to low to keep sauce warm.

  • Season the sauce with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.

  • Add fresh spinach to the sauce and stir it in till spinach leaves have wilted and become limp.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the spinach Alfredo sauce and stir to combine. Serve it immediately.

Chicken & Spinach Alfredo Pasta

Pasta is something you can always rely on to be ready within minutes and still taste spectacular. This one-pan meal, from BBC GoodFood, is what I made on a post call day when I had to cook for myself with only basic things available in my kitchen drawers and no time/energy for grocery shopping. You can throw in any long stranded pasta other than spaghetti; linguine and fettuccine will hold the chunky sauce well. Red chilli flakes add a slight piquant note to this simple pasta dish though you can spice up things with some cayenne pepper and a dash of sriracha sauce.

SPAGHETTI WITH TUNA SAUCE

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 cm fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped

450g creamed tomatoes or passata

2 x 200g cans tuna in olive oil, drained

375g spaghetti or linguine pasta

Method:

  • Heat oil in a medium pan and toss in 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, garlic, chilli and ginger.

  • Fry for a few minutes until slightly soft. Tip in the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes.

  • Fold in flaked tuna and season the sauce generously. Leave the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti or linguine for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, then return it to the pan.

  • Pour the tuna sauce into the pasta and toss well. Sprinkle over the remaining chopped parsley.

  • Divide between 4 serving bowls and serve immediately with extra tuna sauce on top. Serves 4.

Spaghetti with Tuna Sauce

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