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 25 mins / Total time 35-40 mins Mf ❄
100g dried spaghetti or gluten free alternative, per person
80g grated Parmesan*
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 handfuls pitted black olives, halved
4 tsp of capers
Red pepper sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 jar of roasted red peppers (drained weight 350g)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tbs red wine
125ml vegetable stock, I use 1/2 a Knorr stock pot
2 tbs Greek yogurt
Mf– meat and fish free ❄– Freezable
* Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.
❄ The red pepper sauce is suitable for home freezing once cooled. Freeze for up to 3 months.
1. Sweat the chopped onion and garlic in a tsp of oil on a medium to low heat until soft for about 10 minutes, adding a dash of water if required to help them steam and prevent burning. Once soft, add the paprika, season the onions with salt and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
2. Roughly chop the drained peppers (discarding any seeds) and add to the onions. Pour in the wine and the stock and bring to the boil. Continue to cook for a further 10 mins. Take off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of water along with 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Blend with a hand-blender until smooth. Cover and put to one side.
3. Boil the pasta in salted water (100g per person) according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, grate the cheese and chop the olives and the fresh parsley. Once cooked, drain the pasta, give it a shake and pour straight into the red pepper sauce. Mix well and incorporate the olives and capers before serving in bowls topped with the cheese, fresh parsley and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
If you’ve had a go at making my puttanesca or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org