Toss some cooked spaghetti with a home-made red pepper and cherry tomato sauce, throw in a little bacon and top with a handful of mozzarella. Simple and delicious.
This recipe came about because I had a few red peppers sat in the fridge that were getting to be beyond their best. I hate wasting things. Unless it’s a few slices of bread, I always feel it’s a bit of a shame to have to throw something out. ‘Waste not, want not’ is a phrase that often pops up in my head, leading to days where leftovers get combined into wonderfully inauthentic but tasty dishes.
There’s not much to this sauce. Just a few red peppers, a couple of onions and a tin of cherry tomatoes along with a little garlic and chilli. Whilst it takes around an hour to simmer the sauce through, it can pretty much be left to its own devices. Don’t worry about the type of pepper you use either – here I got a bag of Romano ones cheaply, but Bell peppers work just as well.
Brilliantly, for the effort I put in, this sauce will feed four people. Why is that so great? Well, there’s only two of us in the household. Half goes into the freezer and becomes a super quick, very simple, healthy and home-made weeknight meal for another day.
As an added but entirely unintended bonus, I’ve also discovered that thinning down the sauce makes for a very tasty lip tingling soup. Just add a sandwich and you’ve got an easy lunch to take to work!
The thing with this is, it’s a vegetable sauce. There’s no need to add bacon or cheese and as both are added separately it makes for a diet friendly and adaptable base. Swap bacon for olives, throw on a handful of coarse breadcrumbs and toast til crispy. Play about with the extras and enjoy!
Easily adaptable for Vegetarian and Vegan dietary requirements, this simple sauce makes for a deliciously satisfying spaghetti dish.
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 300 g Red Pepper, deseeded
- 200 g Onion, Brown/Yellow, skin removed
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 large pinch Crushed Chilli Flakes
- 400 g Tin of Cherry Tomatoes
- 320 g Dried Spaghetti (80g per person)
- 400 g Bacon Lardons (100g per person)
- Mozzarella, Grated
- Crushed Black Pepper
Dice the red pepper and onion into small pieces.
Place a large pan on a medium heat. Choose a pan that has a lid.
Once the pan is hot, add the tablespoon of oil then the onion and red pepper. Fry gently for around ten to fifteen minutes until everything is softened and the onion is becoming translucent.
Add the minced garlic and crushed chilli flakes (to taste), stir through and fry for an additional minute.
Pour in the tin of cherry tomatoes along with 3/4 tin of water. Stir everything together, add the lid to the pan and simmer gently for around an hour. Crush the whole cherry tomatoes with the back of your spoon half way through cooking. See Note.
Once the sauce is cooked through, using your preferred blending gadget, blend 90% of the sauce until smooth. Return it to the pan and combine with the unblended sauce. It's now ready to use!
Heat the grill portion of the oven to a high temperature.
If using, fry the bacon lardons until the fat is rendering out and the meat is going golden brown and crispy.
Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions. Drain well.
Combine the spaghetti and sauce before transferring to oven-safe heat proof serving dishes.
If using, add the bacon to each dish and stir in. Top with mozzarella and a sprinkle of crushed black pepper to taste.
Pop the pasta dish under the grill until the top is crisping up or the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve and enjoy!
Check on the sauce as it cooks. Give it a stir to ensure nothing is catching on the bottom of the pan and that it's not drying out. We want the vegetables to cook down and the sauce to reduce to a thickened but not dry consistency.