Red pepper & tomato lasagne

Red pepper & tomato lasagne
Red pepper & tomato lasagne
Red pepper & tomato lasagne

I tend to find myself crying a lot these days. Not about anything important – in fact, it’s the trivial things that really set me off. A slightly sentimental advert, a chick and a cat becoming friends or even just spilling coffee granules on the kitchen floor.
For example, today I’ve already cried twice, and both times were during the first half hour of Harry Potter film ‘The Goblet of Fire’. Bear in mind, nothing upsetting had actually happened yet. Thinking about it, the first cry was over Brendan Gleeson, until I realised he wasn’t actually dead in real life (thanks, Google). The second was the realisation I may never get to go to a glamorous wizarding ball.
So, to cheer myself up, I needed some serious comfort food and that came in the form of my mum’s red pepper and tomato lasagne – aka tomato and cheesy pasta realness. In fact, this recipe was one of the first-ever recipes I blogged about many moons ago, but I have to be honest, the picture was a bit shit and so was the recipe. So I spent the day rewriting, reshooting and re-eating it. It was so good it made me cry… Again.


Red pepper & tomato lasagne
Serves 6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total 2 hour 10 minutes / V 
You’ll need: Rectangular oven-proof dish 22cm x 28cm and foil
9 dried lasagne sheets
24 tomatoes, cut into eighths
4 red peppers, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 tbs dried oregano
2 tbs dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
300g mild/medium strength vegetarian cheddar, grated


TIP: This is an easy recipe but does take a couple of hours to cook so best make when you have plenty of time. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.


Method
1. Slice off the core and roughly chop each tomato into eighths and put in a large pot, over a medium heat with a tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Meanwhile, de-seed and finely chop the peppers and add them to the tomatoes. Sprinkle over the dried herbs, a tsp of salt and mix well.
2. Bring to the boil (you may have to dig down to the bottom to see the juices bubbling away). Put the lid on and cook the sauce down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Meanwhile grate the cheese.
3. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Once the sauce has thickened, take off the heat and start assembling the lasagne.
4. Oil the oven dish and start layering. Begin with a layer of pasta sheets (feel free to break the pasta sheets to fit your dish if needs be). Cover the lasgane sheets with an even layer of sauce (3 ladles worth) and top with an even sprinkling of cheese. Continue to layer like this a couple more times before topping with the last layer of cheese. Season with salt and pepper and cover loosely with foil (ensure the foil isn’t touching the cheese – you don’t want the cheese to stick and peel the whole top layer of the lasagne off).
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes before removing the foil and cooking for a further 10 minutes to brown the cheese a little. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a simple green salad.

Red pepper & tomato lasagne
Red pepper & tomato lasagne

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.


V– Vegetarian
– Suitable for home freezing before cooking. Wrap the lasagne well in 2 layers of cling film and 1 layer of foil. Defrost fully before baking.


Red pepper puttanesca

Red pepper puttanesca final
Red pepper puttanesca

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?”
“Yes.”
“Damn it!”
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 /
You’ll need: A food processor or hand blender
320g spaghetti
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)
¼ tsp smoked paprika
1 white onion, roughly chopped
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


Method 
1. Sweat the chopped onion and garlic in a tsp of oil over a medium heat for about 10 minutes with the lid on (add a dash of water if required to help the onions steam and prevent burning). Once softened, add the paprika, season well the with salt and continue to cook for a further couple of minutes.
2. Drain and roughly chop the peppers and add to the onions before pouring in the wine and the stock. Bring to the boil and continue to cook for a further 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 also roughly chop the olives, grate the cheese and chop the parsley.
4. Once the sauce has thickened, take off the heat and add 2 tbs of water along with 2 tbs of yogurt. Blend with a hand-blender until smooth – although if you like a slightly chunky sauce don’t blend it too much. 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 start to incorporate the olives, capers and half of the parsley (I find using a fork and spoon easiest as you can pull the spaghetti apart to help everything integrate). Divide into bowls and top with a sprinkling of cheese, the rest of the parsley and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Red pepper puttanesca

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.



Mum’s red pepper lasagne

My Mums Red Pepper Lasagne
My Mums Red Pepper Lasagne

Big news everyone… I HAVE A MAN COMING TO DINNER! Yes mum, an actual man, with a pulse and a head and everything. Although, if he has a weeping abscess on his leg, lets hope he keeps that information to himself, unlike my last date.
Was it a mistake to mention I had a food blog? Probably. Presumably his exceptions will be sky high, so that’s good. AGGHHH! What the hell am I going to cook him and what if it goes horribly wrong?! I’ll forever be known as ‘the food blogger who can’t cook and can’t kiss’… Not that I’m a bad cook or a bad kisser, in fact I’m an excellent kisser so not sure why I said that.
Anyway, I need to cook something safe, something I know and something I can prepare in advance to stop me getting frazzled like Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire. I don’t want to burn my tits.
Lets bring out the big guns, my mum’s tomato and red pepper lasagne. Now then, this aint no a regular lasagne, there’s no béchamel or mince, just a simple sauce of cooked down tomatoes and peppers. This was a week night staple in the Heale household throughout my childhood, until my mum had to give up dairy (selfish woman). Luckily my dad heroically stepped up and managed to cobble it together occasionally for my brother and I, thank god. In fact, it was the only thing my dad could cook apart from a jacket potato.
Over the years I’ve managed to cook it entirely from memory for all kinds of people, all of which have loved it. The sauce is easy to make but quite time consuming, so I recommend you make it the day before. Wish me luck! :S


Mum’s red pepper & tomato lasagne
Serves 6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total 2 hour 10 minutes / V
You’ll need: Rectangular oven-proof dish 22cm x 28cm and foil
9 dried lasagne sheets
24 tomatoes, cut into eighths
4 red peppers, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 tbs dried oregano
2 tbs dried basil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
300g mild/medium strength vegetarian cheddar, grated


Method
1. Slice off the core and roughly chop each tomato into eighths and put in a large pot, over a medium heat with a tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Meanwhile, de-seed and finely chop the peppers and add them to the tomatoes. Sprinkle over the dried herbs, a tsp of salt and mix well.
2. Bring to the boil (you may have to dig down to the bottom to see the juices bubbling away). Put the lid on and cook the sauce down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Meanwhile grate the cheese.
3. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Once the sauce has thickened, take off the heat and start assembling the lasagne.
4. Oil the oven dish and start layering. Begin with a layer of pasta sheets (feel free to break the pasta sheets to fit your dish if needs be). Cover the lasgane sheets with an even layer of sauce (3 ladles worth) and top with an even sprinkling of cheese. Continue to layer like this a couple more times before topping with the last layer of cheese. Season with salt and pepper and cover loosely with foil (ensure the foil isn’t touching the cheese – you don’t want the cheese to stick and peel the whole top layer of the lasagne off).
5. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes before removing the foil and cooking for a further 10 minutes to brown the cheese a little. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a simple green salad.

My Mums Red Pepper Lasagne
My Mums Red Pepper Lasagne

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.


V– Vegetarian
– Suitable for home freezing before cooking. Wrap the lasagne well in 2 layers of cling film and 1 layer of foil. Defrost fully before baking.