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Posts Tagged ‘Peppers’

Chorizo and Vegetable Pasta Bake

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Chorizo  Veg Pasta Bake

Some might question the purpose of baking this. After all, you’ve made a sauce, cooked some pasta, sorted some veg, why not just stir it all together and eat? And yet, a quick blitz in a hot oven makes this all the more worthwhile. Everything seems to meld together, the flavours of the sauce, slightly charred vegetables, and salty, warming chorizo, and the textures change too, a little drier (in a good way), a little extra bite. More hearty, even. And if that isn’t enough to sell it, then bake it because how else will you get chunks of mozarella to melt into stringy little pockets of deliciousness throughout? Hmm?

Chorizo and Vegetable Pasta Bake (serves 4. Well. Probably wouldn’t leave 6 starving either.)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins good chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 1 aubergine, sliced lengthways into 1cm thick slices, then each slice cut into chunks
  • 100g chorizo, (or about half of a 225g chorizo sausage, which is the usual weight of the ones I buy), cut into 1cm ish chunks (cut 1cm thick coins from the sausage and halve them)
  • 350g dried Rigatoni, or other pasta of your choice 
  • 125g mozarella ball, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium pan, add the onion and garlic and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until soft but not browned. Tip in the tinned tomatoes, stir in the basil, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, and season.

While the sauce is cooking, heat the other spoonful of oil (or less if you need it, you’re aiming for the thinnest film of oil you can manage) in a non stick frying pan, and add the aubergine and pepper chunks. Fry for 5 – 10 minutes, until cooked through, but trying to avoid stirring too much, to let them blacken and char a little, in places. Remove to a plate, and then tumble the chorizo pieces into the pan, frying for 3-4 minutes until they begin to release their oil and crispen a little.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large pan of boiling, salted water. Drain well, return to the pan, (or a large bowl, but I’m trying to save you some washing up), and pour in the chorizo straight from its pan, and then the peppers and aubergine. Finally, pour over the tomato sauce and stir everything well, so the sausage and vegetables are distributed through, and everything has a light coating of sauce.

Tip the whole lot into an ovenproof dish, and dot the mozarella chunks over the top. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is nicely melted. Serve with salad, or, and see previous ramblings on carb-overloading, some nice bread.

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Categories: Mains, Recipe Tags: , , , ,

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

July 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Juicy Red Veg Ready for RoastingLast time I was at my local market, I was tempted by tomatoes – every stall seemed to have lots of overflowing bowls of cheery, summery bright red beauties, and having recently had a disappointing batch of pale, flavourless supermarket tomatoes, bought far more than I should have. And for far less than my tiny Tesco punnet. But what to do with them all?

One of my favourite, easy meals is a hot bowl of Tomato and Red Pepper soup, usually bought rather than made. I usually have red peppers in the fridge – I use them in lots of dishes, and making my own version of this soup seemed like a good idea – after all, how hard could it be. So, inspired by a similar tomato sauce and other soups I’ve made, as well as various recipes I’d looked at for this, here is my take on Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup.

  • 750g tomatoes (mine were a mixture of cherry tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes, but any tasty, flavour-packed ones will do)
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock (I used 2 teaspoons Marigold Vegetable Bouillon powder in 500ml hot water)

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Prepare the tomatoes – if using larger ones, slice them in half. With my cherry and baby tomatoes, I just slit the skin of each with a sharp knife. De-seed the red peppers and chop them into chunks. Peel the onion and cut into a couple of chunks. 

Throw all of the vegetables into a large roasting dish, and chuck in the unpeeled garlic cloves. Coat with a liberal amount of olive oil, and smoosh everything around in the dish until well coated. Cook in the oven for around an hour, until the vegetables are cooked and some of the pepper and tomato skin is beginning to brown a little.

Put the cooked tomato mixture into a blender, or, as I did, blend in batches with a stick blender, using a little of the stock to loosen the mixture. Blend well!

Rest a sieve over a bowl, and pour through the blended mixture in batches.  My soup was quite thick when it went in the sieve, so for each batch I added a little stock and stirred until the sieve emptied into the bowl. After the last batch, give the sieve a final rinse of stock and a good shake – you should end up with just a fairly dry pile of tomato seeds and little else.

Into the bowl of now-smooth soup, stir in further stock to achieve the final consistency you want. All in all, with the sieving and final addition I ended up using about 350ml. Taste for seasoning – depending on the stock you’ve used, you may need to add a little salt.

Warm through in a saucepan to serve. Will keep in the fridge for a day or two, or freeze for up to a month, in individual portions if you like. Serves 2, with some good bread.

Categories: Mains, Recipe Tags: , , ,