I’m a big fan of Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the difference’ range of dried pasta and I’ve tried most of the range now. The Italians use specific pasta shapes to work with particular types of sauces and the Mafalda Corta I used for this recipe with its frilled edges is perfect for my fresh parsley pesto and roasted pepper sauce. In the summer, I’ve got lots of basil in the garden to make traditional pesto, but in winter I substitute fresh English parsley. It not only tastes wonderful and fresh, it’s also rich in vitamins K and C, so important for winter health to help ward off those misery-making colds. The roasted peppers also bring a little bit of summer colour and vibrancy to the dish on a cold winter day. Did I mention it’s really, really easy to make as well as being delicious? It is!
Serves 2, takes about 40 minutes
- 150g dried Mafalda Corta pasta
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Large bunch of curly parsley, coarsely chopped
- 30g Parmesan cheese broken into chunks
- 30g pine nuts
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pointed red or yellow peppers
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC
- Place the peppers and the garlic on a shallow roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes until the skins are blistered. Set aside to cool. Remove the skin from the peppers and deseed. Halve and cut into strips. Put your serving bowls in the oven to warm in the residual heat once you turn off the oven.
- Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. It’s usually about 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Add the Parmesan chunks to a mini food processor and whizz for a minute until it forms coarse crumbs. Add the pine nuts and olive oil. Slip the garlic out of its skin and add. Whizz for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley, stalks and all, in stages. Pulse for about 30 seconds each time until it forms a paste. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Loosen with a little more olive oil if necessary.
- Drain the pasta, return it to the pan and toss with the pesto and stir in the pepper strips. Serve in warmed pasta bowls. Delicious!
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