This is a dead simple midweek supper and a vegetarian’s dream. I cooked it for Meat-Free Monday, which has become something of a tradition in Housedad Towers. It’s coz I care about the environment, doncha know!
3-4 handfuls dried fusili or penne pasta, cooked according to packet instructions (appprox. 8-9 mins) and drained
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 carton or bottle of passata (sieved tomatoes)
Handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 dried red chillies (optional)
3 bell peppers (red, green and yellow, for contrast)
2 tbsp Philadelphia soft cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
25g grated Parmesan cheese
A few basil leaves, to garnish
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and gently cook the onions and garlic until soft and translucent, approx. 7-10 mins.
2. Add the passata. Then add the basil, vinegar, sugar and chillies (if using). Stir to combine, then simmer over a low heat for approx. 15 mins.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the peppers by de-seeding and slicing each into four parts. Brush with a little oil, then grill under a very hot grill for 5-7 mins until the skins char and blister. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plastic freezer bag. Tie the bag shut and allow the peppers to cool for a few minutes. This creates steam inside the bag which lifts the skins away from the pepper flesh. Remove from the freezer bag and peel off the skins, ideally in one swoop. Discard the skins and slice the peppers into strips.
4. Stir in the Philidelphia cheese (or another soft cheese e.g. mascarpone).Then stir in the pepper strips.
5. Finally, stir in the cooked pasta.
6. Serve garnished with grated Parmesan and a few basil leaves.