Garlic and Roast Pepper Pasta

This pasta sauce came about purely due to an excess of peppers, herbs and garlic in my fridge and a strong desire not to let them go to waste. The result is a beautifully bright pasta sauce flavoured with fresh herbs and a little bit of mascarpone for richness. The best part is it is super simple to make, just roast the vegetables and blend them with a few other bits and pieces!

I paired my sauce with rigatoni and topped it with some crisped up chorizo and fresh basil, but you could leave this off, or add some shredded chicken, crispy bacon… the options are endless!

Garlic and Roast Pepper Pasta

Ingredients (serves 2)
2 peppers, red or orange or a mix of both, cut into chunks
1 onion, cut into large chunks
15 cloves garlic, peeled
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
Small handful fresh basil, roughly torn
1 tbsp tomato puree
25g mascarpone (you could use ricotta or cream cheese)
175g rigatoni
75g chorizo, diced (optional)
More fresh basil and parmesan, to serve

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 170c (fan). Place your peppers, onion, garlic cloves and thyme on a baking tray and drizzle over 1 tbsp oil. Toss to coat, then roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until everything is softened and lightly browned. Set aside and leave to cool slightly.
2. To a food processor, add the roasted vegetables along with 1 tbsp tomato puree, 25g mascarpone and the torn fresh basil. Blitz until smooth, then taste and add salt and pepper to taste. If you like, you can strain the sauce through a sieve so it’s super smooth, but it’s not necessary. Put the sauce into a saucepan and warm it up over a low, gentle heat.
3. While it heats up, put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Once boiling, drop in your 175g rigatoni and cook according to packet instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, add it to the pepper sauce and stir to combine.
4. If you like, you can fry 75g diced chorizo in a hot pan until crisp while the pasta cooks. To serve, divide the sauce-coated pasta between two bowls, top with the crisp chorizo, if using, and finish with some fresh basil and a good sprinkling of parmesan, then tuck in and enjoy!

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