This is surprisingly satisfying and the only thing I thought of adding afterwards that would have made it more so, would have been a few chunks of spicy Italian sausage.
But I didn’t have any sausage so this remains a hearty vegetarian dish. Carnivores, feel free to add sausage or not.
You could speed up the prep time and cheat by using ready-roasted sweet peppers from a jar but I had a bagful of fresh, multi-colored peppers of the mini-variety, so I grilled them until they blistered and blackened, then slipped them out of their skins.
You don’t have to use goat cheese but that’s what I had in the fridge; I love the way goat cheese melts with the heat of the sauce and becomes part of it – unctuous and utterly delicious.
PENNE PASTA with ROASTED SWEET PEPPERS & GOAT CHEESE
(4 generous servings)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
I medium onion, sliced very thinly
1 lb (450g) of red, yellow and orange peppers, or any combination (but not green – they’re unripe red/yellow/orange peppers)
1 tablespoon of wine or sherry vinegar
14 oz (397g) can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon of sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A 12 oz (350g) packet of pasta
Soft, fresh goat cheese or grated Parmigiano Reggiano, percorino, whatever you prefer, to serve
Start by putting the peppers on a rack under the grill / broiler, turning them frequently until they’re nicely blistered and blackened. Transfer them to a seal-able (ziplok) plastic bag to steam for a bit. This helps lift the skins off. Once they’re cool enough to handle and with wet hands, peel the skin away and discard the stalk and seeds. Slice the peppers into strips.
Heat the oil in a saute pan and cook the onion until it’s soft. Add the vinegar and sugar, turn the heat up to evaporate the vinegar a bit then add the chopped canned tomatoes followed by the sliced peppers.
Simmer the sauce uncovered over a low heat while you boil the water for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to instructions and drain but don’t over-drain it. Season the sauce with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste.
Tip the pasta into a large, warm serving bowl and pour the sauce over – toss the pasta and sauce together then top it with big dollops of soft fresh goat cheese, or pass around some grated Parmesan, etc.