Friday, 19 April 2013
Roasted Pepper and Ricotta Pasta
A staple of Italian cuisine, peppers are incredibly versatile. When roasted they become sweet, soft and smoky but I love them raw too, so crunchy and refreshing, although you rarely find them in their uncooked state in Italy as they're considered highly indigestible. As an aside, the Italian word for peppers is peperoni which I thought worth mentioning here in case of any confusion when ordering a pizza in Italy; pizza con peperoni is a pizza with peppers, if you want US style 'Pepperoni Pizza', then you should ask for pizza con salame piccante. Just thought it might be useful...
In this pasta recipe, the peppers are roasted and peeled before being blended with ricotta to form a thick creamy sauce which is then added to some softened onion, fresh tomatoes and chilli. The tomatoes provide a nice acidity which works well with the smooth, rich sauce and chilli gives a little kick.
This month's One Ingredient Challenge, started by Laura of How to Cook Good Food and Nazima from Franglais Kitchen, is Cheese so I'm sending this over to Nazima who is the host for April. I absolutely love cheese so can't wait to see the round up at the end of the month!
As the theme is Chilli, I'm also sending this to Shaheen for Allotment 2 Kitchen who is April's host of Pasta Please, a wonderful challenge started by Jac from Tinned Tomatoes.
2 red peppers
half a fresh chilli, finely chopped
half an onion
100g cherry tomatoes
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
300-400g pasta, any shape you want
Start by roasting the peppers. Preheat the oven to its maximum temperature and put the peppers in whole, on a greased baking tray. Leave for about 25 mins, turning occasionally. The skins should be blackened and starting to peel away. Remove from the oven and put them in a plastic bag to cool before peeling them and eliminating the seeds and core.
Place the peppers in a food processor with some salt, the ricotta and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil if necessary and adjust the seasoning.
Cook the pasta in a boiling salted water.
In the meantime, finely chop the onion and cook gently in a frying pan in a little olive oil until softened. Add the chilli and cook for a further few minutes. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them to the onion and chilli, tossing them briefly together for a minute or so.
Add the pepper and ricotta sauce, mix everything gently together and leave on the heat for a few minutes to warm through. If it's all looking a bit thick, add some of the pasta water to thin it slightly. When the pasta is al dente, drain and mix everything together well.
Serve with some freshly grated parmesan.