RIGATONI ALLA GRAPPA Max cost £5.00, $8 Takes about 30 minutes

Pasta with a shot of grappa Serves 4 as a main course

The use of grappa or a good vodka adds a distinctive glow to this dish and has helped to establish it as a winter winner chez moi. It has also been complimented for its ability to re-open the tubes and shift the common cold. That sort of compliment I don't need.
This sauce does not keep.


Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and chilli pepper until soft. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook gently for a minute or two. Add the pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper.

Warm the grappa/vodka in a small saucepan, then pour it into the frying pan and set alight. Raise the heat under the frying pan and gently shake the pan to and fro until the flames die out. Lower the heat, add the cream and stir until under the sauce has thickened.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente (this can be done at roughly the same time as the sauce). Drain the pasta and transfer to a heated serving dish. Pour the sauce over and mix thoroughly. Garnish with the chopped herbs and serve.

This dish is delicious with freshly grated parmesan cheese.