Thursday, March 19, 2009

Baby pasta shells with peppers and chorizo


I'm on an eating plan at the moment, and all sorts of things have been denied me, foremost among them pizza and pasta, and all things comforting. In Cape Town's recent spate of unseasonably freezing weather, I decided to tweak my plan. I figured as long as I was eating a whole host of encouraged, recommended things, I could have it with pasta, and here's what I came up with, from what was in my fridge. I'm a fan of using what I've got, I don't like to have to buy a whole lot of new ingredients for every meal. So use what you've got, and see how it comes out. This is what I did a few nights ago.

{Image source: steeljam, flickr}

Baby pasta shells with peppers and chorizo
Serves 2 (with leftovers for work the next day, score!)

1/2 red pepper diced
1/2 yellow pepper
diced 4-5 yellow patty pans (or any other kind of soft marrow, baby marrow, baby squash, etc.)
1/2 a punnet, or about 10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
1 onion
1 tsp garlic
150g frozen peas
1 or 2 chorizo sausages, diced
1/2 packet sundried tomato pesto
1-3 cups baby pasta shells
half a bunch (or 10-15 leaves) fresh basil
  1. After chopping, dicing and otherwise preparing the veggies and chorizo, start throwing them into a non-stick pan. I always start with the onion, as it takes the longest to cook down, and unless it's a salad I don't like raw onion. So start with the onions, then the chorizo, since its quite fatty, I like to fry it on quite a high heat at first, to fry out some of the fat. I used chorizo for the spiciness of the sausage, but actually, any meat can be used, or none. Bacon, ham, chopped chicken breast, etc. would all work well here. 
  2. At this point you should start the pasta. By the time it's done to packet instructions, your veggies and stuff should be more or less ready.
  3. Then throw in the peppers. These are really good for you, and increase your 5 a day intake, which is great. Apparently these beasties, and their spicier cousins, the jalapeno, have all sorts of goodies in them that speed up your metabolism, and generally keep you healthy, AND, they taste good too! 
  4. Toss in some garlic at this point, to allow it to fry down, then the tomatoes and anything else still left. 
  5. The peas can go in a bit later, and its probably good to throw them in the microwave with some water for a short time, (3-5 mins, depending on your machine) before you throw them in. 
  6. When the pasta's nearly cooked, this sauce should be a colourful, well, saucy looking thing in the frying pan. 
  7. Drain off any excess oil, and tear the fresh basil into smallish pieces. Mix together the tomato pesto and the pasta, then the sauce, and stir in the fresh basil right at the end. 
  8. Add sea salt and ground pepper to taste, but I found it didn't need much. Oh, and I threw some grated mozzarella on after, just to be naughty! 
This is a fantastic thing to whip up on a week night, and despite all my ramblings here, doesn't take long. Mostly only as long as it takes for pasta to cook. And if you can enrol someone else to chop the veggies? It's a breeze!! Happy dinner, people!!

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