fiery red pepper sauce
Cherry tomatoes, green and red capsicum and red chillis are what is abundant in my garden at the moment. So when stuck for a quick dinner this was a welcome inspiration. The recipe was inspired by a wonderful cookbook that Donna gave for me for my birthday called ITALIAN KITCHEN by Maxine Clark. I cook with chillis often, but mostly I keep them whole and safely intact…that is until today. This recipe wanted them halved and deseeded. Now I was under the impression that if you took out the seeds, out goes the fiery heat as well. This is not the case as I found out the hard way, or at least not with these garden chillis. And having undertaken this with my fingers, they are still a little warm and fuzzy this morning. So what I had to do after chopping the deseeded chillis and adding them to the sauteing capsicum, was to fish them all out again. Having successfully recovered 90 percent, the sauce was still fiery, but pretty amazing as well. So when cooking this, you will have to use your own judgement and knowledge of the chillis available and your limitation of fiery spice.
Also, it is important to note that hard cheeses are very heavy and hard to digest at the best of times. In Ayervedic medicine, they recommend that hard cheeses be served with a touch of warming spices like fresh basil, black pepper or chilli. Perhaps this is why raw onion is added to so many delicatessen-style sandwiches : “You need to eat something quite hot to get the agni (digestive fire) going enough to handle cheeses.”
In this meal, by using pasta and adding parmesan cheese, it could be quite a heavy meal at the best of times, but because of the three warming spices used - fresh basil, pepper and chilli, it felt like a very light and satisfying meal. I guess the digestive fires were working hard.
Fiery Red Pepper Sauce
1 sweet red pepper (capsicum)
1 large fresh red chilli, halved and deseeded
4 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
15 cherry tomatoes (or two ripe big tomatoes)
2 tblspn freshly chopped basil
1 tspn jaggery/sugar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
handful of green olives (deseeded)
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Dice the pepper (capsicum) into medium pieces and finely chop the chillies (be careful and use your judgement as noted above). Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the chillis and peppers. Allow to cook slowly for 20 mins or until really soft. Meanwhile, dunk the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds. Slip off the skins, and chop the flesh coarsely.
Add the tomatoes, jaggery/sugar and season with salt and pepper. Half cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes until well reduced and soft and thick. Stir in the fresh basil and toss with your chosen cooked pasta. Throw in a handful of roughly chopped green olives and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!!!
Shared goodness from Stacey