I came across this recipe on the blog ‘Fig and Quince’, a great blog about Persian food and culture.
Since I found it, I have been making it weekly, so it’s been about 4 weeks, 4 times I’ve made it and only on the last could I bring myself to photograph it as it’s normally pan to mouth! Even then, I had to make it after a big lunch in the afternoon to photograph it and then cook it again for dinner!!! So thanks to Azita, from ‘Fig and Quince’ and Flora (who is Italian), from the blog ‘Flora’s table’ who created the recipe…..we love it!
This pasta dish is really simple to make, with few ingredients – perfect puree kids will love the sweetness, great colour, exclude the pancetta for veggies or add sautéed zucchini for extra ‘bite’. You could even make a batch of the sauce and freeze portions so when it comes to eating it, all you need to do is fry the pancetta.
Sold yet? Oh, go on….
Ingredients Serves 2
- 2 red peppers, halved and de-seeded
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large leek
- 1 tbsp of thyme leaves (removed from stalks)
- 300g pancetta, diced small
- Pasta of your choice (enough for 2, depending on your hunger levels)
- 1 large handful of finely grated Parmesan to serve
Heat oven to 200°C, place your pepper halves skin side up on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake for about 25 minutes, until the skins are blistered and starting to blacken.
Chop off most of the green from your leek and it’s root, peel away the outer layer, wash, dry and slice your leek through the middle. Chop both halves finely before adding to a hot pan with 1 tbsp of oil and sauté until it softens and starts to look dry. Add about 100ml of water and cook the leek until it all evaporates and the leek is very soft. Transfer to a food processor or bowl with high edges (to hand blend). Keep pan to use later.
Add your thyme to the leek along with a good seasoning of salt and pepper and 2 tbsp of oil.
When your pepper is ready, remove from oven and use 2 forks to gently remove the skin then add the pepper to the leek mixture.
Blend until you have a smooth puree, check and adjust seasoning if needs be.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta until ad dente. While your pasta cooks, fry your cubed pancetta in your leek pan until it’s nicely browned at the edges and warm your puree through just a few minutes before the pasta is ready.
Drain your pasta and mix in the puree and pancetta. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a scatter of thyme leaves.