Creamy roasted red pepper tomato sauce served with fusilli pasta. A simple and flavourful pasta dish great for students or anyone on a budget!
I think my obsession with pasta is almost as big, maybe even bigger than my cheesecake obsession? 😉
How you can blame me? Pasta is such a versatile ingredient and the choices are endless. I could eat pasta every night of the week and not get bored. I kid you not, when we holidayed in Italy a couple of summers back we ate pasta nearly every single night.
I particularly love sharing these kinds of recipes because being a student I’m always on the lookout for easy and cheap meals that don’t lack flavour or require me to spend hours standing over a hot stove. Sometimes all I want is a dinner that’s both comforting and good for me. And yes, it is possible!
I’ve been planning to make this sauce for a long time now. I’ve based the recipe on my marinara and arrabbiata sauces, but I changed my classic tomato sauce by adding roasted red bell pepper and double cream. I really love roasted peppers, as the peppers roast they get sweeter and charr and the charring adds incredible intense flavour to the sauce.
To prepare the sauce, I roasted 3 large red bell peppers with a red onion, a few cloves of garlic, olive oil, dried thyme, oregano, chilli flakes for 30 minutes until all the vegetables were soft and the peppers were starting to caramelise and charr slightly. Once the vegetables were roasted I added them to a saucepan along with a can of chopped tomatoes and a pinch of sugar to add extra sweetness to the tomatoes. Then I left the sauce to gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes then I took it off of the heat and blitzed it until it was smooth. Finally I added double cream which brings a delicious creaminess and richness to the sauce.
The final step is to put a pot of salted water onto boil and cook your pasta to packet instructions. I went for fusilli (we have a 3kg bag in the store-cupboard waiting to be cooked with < can you tell we’re a family of pasta lovers?), but really this sauce suits all kinds of pasta shapes, linguine, spaghetti or even penne, so use whatever you have in.
3 large red bell peppers
1 red or white onion
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
400g (14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
Generous pinch of sugar
4 tablespoons double cream
400-500g dried fusilli or any other pasta shape
Freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh chopped basil or parsley
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Slice the red pepper and onion up into medium sized chunks and half each garlic clove. Evenly spread the vegetables out onto a large baking tray. Scatter over the herbs (dried thyme, oregano and chilli flakes) and drizzle over the olive oil. Season well with salt and black pepper and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Once the vegetables are roasted place them in a large saucepan along with the can of chopped tomatoes and a generous pinch of sugar. Stir and then bring the sauce up to the boil. Once boiling simmer the sauce for 15-20 minutes. Blitz the sauce in a food processor or with a hand blender until smooth and no chunks remain. Stir through the cream and add any extra seasoning if needed.
- Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Once the pasta is cooked drain it and add it and stir through the sauce. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan, crumbled goats cheese or feta cheese. Garnish with chopped basil or parsley if you desire.
- Omit the double cream for almond milk and leave the Parmesan out to make this dish suitable for vegans. Omit the Parmesan for a vegetarian substitute to make this dish suitable for vegetarians.
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