Sometimes there isn't the time, or the energy, to explore your culinary heritage. Sometimes it's a rainy Sunday afternoon after a very wet dog walk on the moors, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a bowl of steaming pasta. Sometimes you realise that you have absolutely nothing in the fridge but your stomach is crying out for something satisfying and savoury. Sometimes you reach into your cupboard and decide that is it time, once again, for your favourite emergency pasta dish. Twenty minutes later, the first forkful of sweet red onion, softened sun-dried tomato and parmesan-speckled pasta enters your mouth. Bliss. Once again, you thank Jamie Oliver for the recipe that has seen you through so many empty-fridge-afternoons. Plus, there's something about red food on rainy days. It just works.
It couldn't be easier. You boil some water, and choose your favourite pasta shape - sometimes this is radiatore, today it was cicatelli, but anything reasonably solid and chunky will do. You chop up one or two red onions, and soften them in frying pan with a glug of olive oil. The you grab two handfuls of sundried tomatoes in oil, and chop them up - easily done with a pair of scissors. Then you add them to the pan and let them get nice and hot, after which you add a reasonably generous amount of balsamic vinegar - five or six spoonfuls, maybe. Note: the dish isn't worth making without the vinegar, it really is essential. I'm normally not very fond of sundried tomato and pasta, but in this dish it works very well and it seems to be because the vinegar adds a certain something.
When the pasta is ready and drained (don't let it get too soft - it has to have a certain amount of bite!) you add it to the pan, and mix it all up. Add plenty of black pepper and as much grated parmesan as your conscience will allow. If you have fresh basil, wonderful - a little bit of finely chopped rocket/rucola is nice too, but sometimes I just eat it as it is. If I feel energetic and healthy I make a crunchy green salad to go with it. Today, however, just wasn't one of those days.