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Tuesday 14 December 2010

Sluttishly Savoury: Spicy Macaroni Bake

Let's face it, we don't watch Come Dine With Me for the recipes: we watch it for the contestants, who range from hilarious to loveably eccentric to people I'd rather chew my own hands off than sit next to at dinner. If you haven't seen it (what have you been doing?), a group of four strangers take it in turns to cook for each other. Each diner awards their host a mark out of ten, and the winner gets £1000. Anyone catch the Preston episodes at the weekend, featuring Dawn who was 'tired' and had to retire to bed after the starter, leaving her guests to cook the main? And who then tottered downstairs in dark glasses, walked into a door frame and slumped face first into her guacamole? Oh Dawn.

Amid all the chaos, there are a few dishes worth recreating at home. Essex-based Amanda made this spicy macaroni bake for her guests. (You may recall her rival, Keeley, who got a local restaurant to hand dishes through the window that she then passed off as home cooking.) I've made this at home when I've had friends staying, and wanted to do something quick for them so I wasn't stuck in the kitchen, missing out on valuable gossip time. It's always gone down a storm, especially with some slabs of crusty bread on the side to mop up all the juices at the end.

Recipe adapted from Amanda's own recipe on the Channel 4 website. Serves 5.

You will need:
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g small macaroni
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered
  • 200g chorizo sausage, cut into chunks
  • 3 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1l chicken stock
  • 8 large uncooked prawns (or twice the amount of small ones)
  • Handful of basil leaves, torn
Make it!
  1. Put the cherry tomatoes in a deep roasting tin, sprinkle with garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven at 220C (Gas Mark 7) for 10 minutes. Add the red onion and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.
  2. Remove from the oven and add the macaroni, chicken, chorizo, rosemary and stock. Add seasoning, but go easy on the salt as there's plenty in the chorizo and stock. Mix well and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the prawns and bake for another 5 minutes until the pasta and chicken are cooked. If you've got small frozen prawns, put them in straight from the freezer as they don't take long to defrost.
Sprinkle with basil, serve in bowls and force everyone to award you a ten. You deserve it.

Chorizo image taken from ladymissmarquise's Flickr stream

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