Talk about online food shopping gone wrong. How on earth did I manage to order 4 red peppers the size of my head (no exaggeration). I know I’m relatively knew to the world of online shopping, but who even knew these freaky fruits existed? I stood staring in disbelief at the 4 ‘giant’ peppers lying higgledy-piggledy on my kitchen counter, dwarfing everything in their wake. At first, I laughed, until I checked my order and realised they were £3.95 EACH! Fifiteen effing pounds! I could have ordered a Domino’s pizza for that price.
“I do understand you’re upset, Ms Heale. However, the product name does state that these are giant peppers,” said Ocado.
“Yes, but ‘giant’ to me is just ‘a bit bigger than average’,” I protested. “What you gave me was a monstrosity, a freak of nature! I mean, who even knew peppers came in that size? I want my money back.”
“I will be unable to refund you on this occasion.”
“But on your website the picture doesn’t give any idea of scale. If you had photographed one of the peppers next to a small dog or held it up to someone’s face, then I would have realised!”
“I am sorry, we will not be able to offer a refund for these items, as there were no quality or damage issues.”
“Is it too late to say that they’re damaged?”
So, I was stuck with them and, to make matters worse, I couldn’t even fit them in my fridge. Time was of the essence, these oafish fruits were not going to stay ripe for much longer, so I roasted the bastards and made this rather delicious puttanesca. Take that, Ocado!
Red pepper puttanesca
Serves 4 / Hands on time 40 mins / Total time 40 mins / V ❄
You’ll need: A food processor or hand blender
80g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan, grated
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
150g pitted black olives
6 tsp of capers
Red pepper sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 jar of roasted red peppers (drained weight 350g) or 6 red peppers (see roasting tip below)
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
¼ tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbs vegetarian red wine (optional)
125ml vegetable stock, I use ½ a Knorr stock pot
2 tbs Greek yogurt
TIP: To roast your own peppers, simply cut each in half, remove the seeds and stork and place facedown on a lined roasting tray. Brush each pepper with rapeseed oil and season lightly with salt. Roast at 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6 for 45 mins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing any overly charred bits of skin with a knife.
TIP: This recipe is easily halved for 2 people.
1. Sweat the chopped onion and salt in a tsp of oil over a medium heat for about 10 mins with the lid on (add a dash of water if required to help the onions steam if needed). Once softened, add the garlic and the paprika and continue to cook for a further few minutes.
2. If using jarred peppers, drain and roughly chop them before adding to the onions. If using your own roasted peppers, simply add them as they are.
Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol has cooked off, then add the stock. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. Use this time to roughly chop the olives, capers, parsley and grate the cheese.
4. Once the sauce has thickened, take off the heat and add 2 tbs of boiling water along with 2 tbs of yogurt. Blend with a hand-blender until you have your desired consistency. Stir in the chopped olives and capers. Put to one side.
5. Once cooked, drain the pasta and give it a shake before pouring straight into the red pepper sauce. Mix well and divide into bowls. Top with a sprinkling of cheese, fresh parsley and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.
❄– The red pepper sauce is suitable for home freezing once cooled. Freeze for up to 3 months.
* Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.