Vegan roasted pepper pasta

Ingredients

  • 300 g / 10 oz rigatoni (GF if needed)
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large tomato (approx. 325 g / 0.7 lb), peeled and diced
  • ½ tsp sambal oelek or a pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp salt, more to taste
  • 150 g / 5 oz (2 medium) roasted red peppers
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp sugar, adjust to taste
  • 3 tbsp walnut butter, optional*
  • 4 tbsp / ¼ cup capers (in salt, not vinegar), chopped
  • 4 tbsp / ¼ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Method

  1. Boil a large pot of water and cook your pasta just short of al dente (so that it doesn’t overcook once it hits a hot pan), following the instructions on the packet.
  2. Once the water comes to the boil, take away 60 ml / ¼ cup to soak (in order to soften) the sun-dried tomatoes. If your tomatoes are preserved in oil, there is no need to soak them.
  3. Heat up a heavy frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the warm pan and swivel it around the pan. Once the oil heats up and starts to shimmer lightly, add the diced onion and fry on a low medium heat until softened and lightly caramelised (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add finely chopped garlic and fry until softened and fragrant (about 2 minutes), stirring frequently so that the garlic doesn’t burn.
  5. Add chopped tomato and a good splash of water. Cook (stirring from time to time) until tomato softens, mostly falls apart and excess water cooks out.
  6. Season with chilli, smoked paprika, pepper and salt. Go easy on the salt if you are topping the dish with capers.
  7. Transfer to a blender or a food processor (a blender will give you a smoother finish). Add roast peppers and softened sun-dried tomatoes. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste, including adding a bit of sugar if the sauce is too tangy.
  8. At this point, feel free to add some walnut butter if you have any on hand. It’s not necessary though so don’t worry if you don’t have any – you can also just simply top the pasta with chopped walnuts instead.
  9. Return the sauce to the pan just to heat it up briefly. Add pasta and stir everything through.
  10. Serve topped with chopped capers and walnuts (if not using them in the sauce). It’s also delicious with a light drizzle of rocket / arugula pesto.

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