This recipe is loosely based on the ‘Trapani-style rigatoni’ in Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals book (which doesn’t seem to be on his website for some reason, hence the absence of a hyperlink). It’s become a bit of a firm favourite in our household so I thought I’d share it here. The chillies give it a nice kick, so a cold beer is an ideal accompaniment (although a cold beer is an ideal accompaniment to most things…)
This is really easy to make- it’s one of those meals that’s a good standby for those moments when you can’t be bothered to properly plan what to have for dinner. You may even find you have the ingredients loitering in your fridge already.
- A red pepper
- 250g cherry or baby plum tomatoes (you could probably use normal sized tomatoes to be honest)
- 2 red chillies (or 1 red chilli if you prefer less of a kick).
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Dried oregano
- Fennel seeds
- Olive oil
- Ground almonds
- 200g dried pasta of your choice (I tend to use rigatoni)
- Rocket leaves
Deseed the red pepper and chop it into chunks. Halve the tomatoes and halve and deseed the chillies. Chop the tips off the garlic cloves, keeping the skin on, and crush them with the side of a knife. Add all these ingredients to a roasting tin and sprinkle with dried oregano and about a tablespoonful of fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle on a good glug of olive oil. Use clean hands to make sure everything’s nicely coated in oil, then pop in the middle of the oven at gas mark 5 for about 45 minutes, giving it a bit of a shake half way through. Take the roasting tin out of the oven and let everything cool for a bit.
Put your pan of salted water on ready for the pasta. While that’s coming to the boil, squeeze your roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add these, along with the rest of your roasted vegetables, into a food processor (use a spatula to ensure you get all the oil in as well). Add a good sprinkling of ground almonds (I don’t really measure this but 25g is about right) and about 15g of parmesan. Whizz everything up until it’s smooth, adding more olive oil as you go to make it the right consistency to coat the pasta without being too oily or too thick.
Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it however you normally would. Drain the pasta, retaining some of the cooking water (about a couple of tablespoons worth). Add the pesto/ sauce to the pasta and stir to coat it over a low heat to warm everything through. Divide between bowls and sprinkle with a couple of handfuls of rocket leaves and parmesan.
To make this strictly vegetarian, you’d need to substitute the parmesan with a vegetarian cheese.
Serves two (as do pretty much all of my recipes).