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Chicken arrabiata pasta bake with garlic bread, followed by cheesecake (II)

July 31, 2011

A follow-up to last week’s £5 Italian meal for two deal, today we re-created the meal from scratch to see how the home-made version compared in taste, cost and time. The answer was pretty much as we suspected in that it was far tastier, but took much longer to prepare. The surprise was the difference in price – our home-made version clocked in at 25p cheaper, or an extra 78p if you add a salad side (it’s worth the additional expense!).

With a garden salad

‘Arrabiata’ is Italian for ‘angry’, and the heat of this chili and garlic sauce adds a piquant kick to the chicken without the sweetness of the ready meal version. I avoided the excessive dryness of the supermarket pasta bake by adding a cheesy crumb topping before baking.

To make the garlic bread I added fresh herbs and garlic to butter that had been resting at room temperature and sliced it into half a loaf of ciabatta, which was painted lightly with olive oil. It baked wrapped in foil in the same oven as the pasta bake, with the foil parcel opened towards the end to allow the loaf to crisp.

The Sainsbury’s deal offers you a bag of salad or two garlic baguettes – a compromise combination would be a much better balance and works well here with a really simple salad.

With a crumbly, biscuity base

Dessert was simpler than the ready meal’s Gü cheesecake (didn’t make my own mango curd), but lovely and fresh for a mild summer’s evening.

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