The other day I was asked a very difficult question. If I had to survive on just three foods for the rest of my life what ones would I choose. As someone who loves pretty much everything this was really quite hard for me. In the end, after much thinking I decided on my three… sausages, butternut squash and pasta. Since answering this question I have changed my mind several times, halloumi, bacon, chocolate, proscuitto, avocado, bread… the list just goes on and on. There is only one food that has remained on the list and is definitely not going anywhere, and that is pasta.
Working in an Italian restaurant I eat pasta almost every day of my life. Now, some people may think that this gets a bit boring but let me tell you, they are so wrong! How can pasta be boring when you can do so much with it? You can serve it with a ragu, you can make a lasagne, you can have it in a soup, you can stuff fillings inside it, you can change its colour and flavour. How could you ever get bored of eating pasta?
As well as eating a lot of pasta at work, I also cook a lot of pasta at home and am always trying out brand new recipes. One day I will have my very own fresh pasta cafe, but until then my little kitchen will just have to do. Here is my latest pasta invention, very simple but packed with so much flavour. I hope you enjoy my Roasted Pepper Pork with conchiglie just as much as I do 🙂
500g good quality pork mince
Half a red onion, cut into wedges
1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
Half a yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, left in skins
500g tomato passata
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 mozzarella ball, torn
400g conchiglie pasta (shell pasta)
Salt and fresh black pepper
Serve with freshly grated parmesan and warm ciabatta.
- Firstly, preheat oven to gas mark 6/200C or 180C for fan assisted ovens. Throw the peppers, onions and garlic cloves in their skins into a large baking tray. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and season with salt. Toss the vegetables in the oil and then place into the centre of your preheated oven for around 30-35 minutes, or until well roasted.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor along with 500g of tomato passata, making sure to squeeze the garlic from their skins first (discard the skins). Blitz until you have a fairly smooth sauce and then set to one side.
- In a large saucepan heat around a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium to high heat and fry off the pork mince until well browned. Add in the dried chilli flakes and paprika and fry for a further minute or two before pouring in your freshly made sauce. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cover. Leave for around 2 hours stirring once or twice in between.
- Towards the end of the cooking time heat a large pan full of water until it reaches a rolling boil. Make sure to season the water well with salt before your pasta goes in. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and use some of the pasta water to loosen up your sauce if needed.
- Once cooked drain your pasta and then pour it into the sauce. Toss the pasta through the sauce until everything is well coated and then season with salt and fresh black pepper. Dish into four pasta bowls and throw on some torn mozzarella.
- I like to eat mine with a generous amount of parmesan on top as well as a few slices of warm ciabatta on the side.