Pasta is one of the easiest things to cook in a rush or after work. It’s ready in 15 minutes, and with a few tricks of the trade, your pasta dishes can be restaurant standard in the comfort of your own home.
- 200g of jarred Roasted Red Peppers Roughly Sliced
- 1 Red Onion Finely Chopped
- 2 Cloves of Garlic Finely Chopped
- 1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (or Passata)
- 300g Penne Pasta
- 50ml Red Wine Vinegar (optional)
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar (optional)
- Firstly, bring a pan of water to the boil. Whilst the water is heating up, fry off your Onions and Garlic in a frying pan until golden brown. Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water and throw in your pasta. It will take exactly 14 minutes to cook.
- Add the roasted peppers, to the frying pan and fry for a few minutes. Add a splash of Red Wine if you have any lying around, then add the tinned Tomatoes.
- Simmer the sauce for around 10 minutes. If you want to make the sauce in advance, the flavour will only benefit from being cooked longer. You can choose to blend the sauce at this point, or you can leave it more rustic and chunky.
- If you are using the Red Wine Vinegar, you can add that to a separate pan at this point. Put the Vinegar on a high heat, add the sugar, stir the mixture frequently and reduce it by half. Congratulations, you just made your first Gastrique. This can be used to improve the flavour of any Tomato-based sauce you make. Add the Gastrique to the sauce and combine well.
- Drain your pasta, making sure to keep some of the cooking water. Season your sauce with Salt & Pepper. Add your Pasta to the sauce as well as a few splashes of the cooking water. Combine well and serve immediately.
You could jazz this one up with anything you like. Crispy Chorizo would work well, as would a simple Grilled Chicken Breast.
The Gastrique is a simple, inexpensive little cheat to have in your cooking arsenal. It can make an ‘okay’ sauce into an amazing sauce. Next time you cook a Tomato sauce, taste it before you add the Gastrique, then taste it again afterwards. You won’t believe the difference. And considering a bottle of Red Wine Vinegar costs around £2, its a pretty cheap way of adding extra flavour.