This is a fabulously rich and creamy dish, thanks to the
addition of soft garlicky cheese – pick something like Boursin (although look
out for cheaper supermarket-brand versions!) – as well as a handful of parmesan
and a little cheddar to serve. If you usually buy pasta sauces in a jar,
consider having a go at this instead – it’s even more delicious, it contains
lovely fresh vegetables, and you can make it in fifteen minutes. However, please
note that you do really need a hand-held blender to do this recipe properly –
I’m not sure if it would work un-blended, but if you have a go please let me
A couple of cloves of garlic
200g soft cheese with garlic & herbs (something like
1 tsp (or so) of fresh chilli
A dollop of sweet chilli sauce
About a handful of grated parmesan
Serves 2, with
some left over for lunch the next day (It’s worth leaving some as I actually
think it might be even better the next day…)
The first thing to do is grill your peppers – you can buy
flamegrilled peppers in a jar, but as I’ve said before, they can be pretty
expensive considering you can very easily do it yourself. Simply whack the
grill on to its highest setting, then pop the peppers underneath on a baking
tray – they will spit a little as they roast, so put them on the second-highest
shelf rather than the highest. Keep an eye on them and turn once the skin on
top has blackened and split. Once they’re blackened all over, whip them out and
leave for a few minutes, then peel off the skin – if you’ve given them a good
charring, then the skin should come off easily. Strip out the seeds and the
stalky bit, and chop the flesh up roughly.
Next, finely dice the onion, the celery and the garlic,
and get them sizzling gently in some olive oil, with the fresh chilli – you can
leave the chilli out if you like, but it’s not there to make the dish fiery,
just to add a nice warmth at the back of the throat. I buy Very Lazy
ready-chopped chillis, to save me risking chilli-related injuries!
Once the onion is starting to turn pale golden, add the
grilled peppers and then spoon in the soft cheese. Stir gently for a few
minutes as the cheese melts, and once it’s all gooey, add a generous splash of
milk and then take the pan off the heat. Blend until it’s smooth and a lovely
creamy orangey-red colour, and return to a gentle heat.
Now is probably the time to get your pasta cooking. Once
you’ve sorted that out, season the sauce and add a nice dollop of sweet chilli
sauce, plus the grated parmesan – even if you don’t usually like the taste of
parmesan, you might still like it as an ingredient. It brings a lovely salty
depth to a dish without overwhelming it.
Taste the sauce and add anything else you think it needs
– you can adjust the flavours to suit yourself, as the peppers will make it
quite sweet, so if you aren’t too keen on that, add more salt and white pepper.
Once your pasta is ready, add it to the pan with the
sauce and mix well. Grate in some cheddar and stir it through so that it melts,
and then serve up a generous, oozy plateful straightaway. Marvellous! To really make a meal of it, why not add my scrumptious homemade garlic bread - check out the recipe on the How To page.