Saturday, 5 May 2012

Quick and easy vegetable pasta -- perfect comfort food

For all you gourmets out there, who like to indulge on delicious, smooth and creamy pasta, here's a wonderful recipe. It can be made with or without meat. I prefer a bit (100g) pork mince, but it's the vegetables, that are the real star of this dish.

You need:                                                            
100g minced meat (optional)
Penne or Rigatoni
1 large red pepper
1 medium orange pepper
1 medium yellow pepper
1 bunch of spring onions
Button mushrooms
Garlic (be generous)
1 small red chilli (or as many as you can take)
Vegetable stock powder or cube
Crème fraîche

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and start chopping up your vegetables. The peppers roughly, about 2cm thick (roughly 1 inch), the spring onions in fine rings and the mushrooms in quarters.
Ad the pasta to the boiling water. Now chop the chili and garlic and set aside.
Put a deep frying pan with some olive oil on high heat and brown the mince. Make sure it's getting rather dark, as this will add to the taste later. Add the chili and garlic when the meat is ready and stir for one minute. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn as it gets bitter then.
Now add the vegetables, stir well for about two minutes. The pasta will probably be ready by now, don't toss the water just yet. Add 500ml of it (about 1 pt) to the pan and stir thoroughly. Season with Salt and vegetable stock. Turn down the heat to medium and cover the pan with a lid. Let it simmer for about ten minutes.
Drain the pasta and put a lid on the pot to keep it warm. This is necessary as the warm pasta will absorb the creamy liquid later. (Cold pasta won't do that.)

Turn off the heat. Move most of the vegetable mix into a container for later use, then add a good dollop of Crème fraîche to the remaining bit in the pan and mix. Add the pasta, stir well, then serve.

I have cooked this so many times in well over a decade -- for myself or to share with friends -- and it's one of my favourite dishes. It takes me roughly 30 minutes.

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