Friday night. I’ve got about 15 minutes of energy left before I flop on the couch. The only fresh food in the house, a bag of voluptuous, chemical-free baby capsicums. Into the oven they go with an onion and a few garlic cloves. I boil up a pot of pasta. Open a tin of tomatoes. Throw in some olives. Walk out to the herb garden, pick some purple basil, oregano, thyme. All the while in my hand, a glass of Battle of Bosworth shiraz. This is simple, unfussy Friday night fare. But. Oh. My. Goodness. It is also sex on a plate! Curvy. Juicy. Falling out in all the wrong places. Chunky, rustic, sweet. And dead easy, with minimal knife work. Yum-o.
The cooler-than-usual Spring is inviting continued use of the oven. Which has opened up a whole new world of warm salads and the like. And I am a fan of salads. I’ve had a bit of a thing for these roasted baby capsicums… sweet with a hint of burnt-caramelly goodness. I made extras for a desk-based lunch with this sourdough, hommus and olives. So sweet, there’s no need to remove the skins. We also had them with roasted eggplant, couscous and this pesto. Simple fare, oh delight. This one’s going onto high rotation.
Use whatever pasta you have on hand – I like fettucine as it’s as free-willed, rough and ready as the ‘sauce’. Whole olives have a wonderful depth of flavour – I don’t bother removing the pips, but would if feeding others! Sweet capsicums ie, red or yellow, are spot-on for pasta sauces and salads, but you could also try roasted green capsicum and take it a whole new way… perhaps with kidney beans, tomatoes, chilli/paprika and rice?
180 grams fettucine
6-8 baby red or yellow capsicums, halved – or two medium-sized capsicums, cut into segments
6 garlic cloves, outer skins removed
1 brown onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 can tomatoes
handful fresh basil, oregano and/or thyme
splash olive oil
sea-salt and pepper
peccorino to serve
Heat oven to 220 degrees celcius. Brush capsicums with olive oil and place in a very lightly oiled oven tray. Place on top shelf in oven for 10 minutes, then remove tray and add onions and garlic. Return to oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.
While the capsicums are doing their thing, bring a pot of water to the boil and add pasta, cooking according to packet directions.
Five minutes before your pasta is ready, place tomatoes in a pan over medium heat, breaking up any whole tomatoes with the back of your spoon against the pan. Roughly chop herbs and add to pan along with olives. Remove tray from oven and add capsicums, onion and garlic to sauce – no need for further chopping. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta, serve with sauce and peccorino.