If you are searching for a twist on the standard pasta+tomato sauce combination then it’s your lucky day. Behold Penne (or any pasta really) with Tomato and Onion Jam! Otherwise known as sophistication in a bowl. The thick, rich yet zesty jam clings to the pasta impeccably, eliminating the potential for any irritating runny sauce left in the bowl. You will be able to mop up every last bit of it with the pasta, ensuring that none goes to waste. In saying that, penne is ideal as it has ridges that hold the sauce well and has slanted ends that are designed to ‘scoop’ it up.
Whilst we are on the topic of pasta and all things carbohydrates, please bear with me as I would like to express my exasperation at a common trend in many recipes. That being the seriously distorted proportion of carbohydrates to sauce/vegetables etc. It’s out of whack in a big way. It’s likely that I’m on the minority side in this debate, however I’m interested as to whether anyone else agrees. After a number of instances in which I have been overwhelmed by the ratio of pasta to sauce/amount of noodles in stir fry etc. I began to automatically halve the required amounts of carbs. Even then I found that there wasn’t a proper balance between veg/protein/carbs. As a result I rarely follow the amount stated in a recipe, unless I feel as though it is integral to the outcome of the dish (take macaroni cheese for example). When I experimented with pasta ratio for this dish I initially started with 150g, thinking that 50g dried weight per person would be reasonable. However it proved to be too much, so the second time round I dropped the weight to 100g and was far happier with the result. If you decide to give it ago I would love your verdict!
I do have to admit that I only used about ¾ of the jam, but it tastes amazing with so many other dishes that I didn’t want to use it all for this dish alone. Try it with corn fritters, veggie burgers, in an omelette, with scrambled eggs or on a pizza – the options are endless. In fact it is well worth making a double quantity, just to have some spare in the fridge (it will keep for around three days).
One last note; I pan-fried small cubes of chicken breast and sprinkled them on top of Dad’s as he is a flexitarian and was craving some meat (to be honest I think he felt like the dish was too feminine and needed to be ‘manned up’ a bit). Apparently it worked well, but you will have to take his word on it!
Penne with Onion and Tomato Jam
1 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar plus a few extra drops
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthways
50g shaved Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and sweat gently for five minutes. Throw in the brown sugar and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes or until caramelised.
Add the vinegar, bring to a boil and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Tip in the tomato and simmer, stirring regularly, for fifteen minutes or until the mixture has reduced to a jam-like consistency. You want it to be thick but still hold a little moisture.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in a small pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
Stir through the olives and about ¾ of the onion jam. Toss until well combined. Season with a good grind of sea salt and black pepper.
Serve sprinkled with parmesan.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.