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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with Spanish onion

04Jun 12

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Pasta saucePasta: who doesn’t love it? There are probably just as many different types of pasta as there are sauces to accompany it, and this week I decided to have a go at inventing my own. The result is this Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Pasta Sauce, which, if I do say so myself,  is simply sublime!

This sauce is a breeze to make, and the roasting adds a rich depth of flavour. I suggest doubling the recipe and freezing or preserving the rest for later.


What you’re going to need:

  • 12 medium tomatoes, washed
  • 1 whole head of garlic, wrapped in aluminium foil
  • 1 Spanish onion, wrapped in aluminium foil
  • 1 leek, washed, tips removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, washed
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 60 g chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

What you have to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Place the tomatoes, red pepper, leek, onion and garlic on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the veggies from the oven and let them cool for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the skin from the tomatoes (it should peel off easily after baking) and remove the seeds and the hard bit at the top.
  5. Remove the skin and seeds from the red peppers. Don’t worry if you can’t get all the skin off, just get as much as possible.
  6. Remove the aluminium foil from the onion, and peel off the outer layers of brown skin.
  7. Place the tomatoes, red peppers, leek and onion in a large saucepan.
  8. Remove the garlic from the aluminium foil.  Take each clove between your thumb and fingers and squeeze one end over the saucepan.  The melted garlic should slide out easily.  Repeat for the rest of the garlic cloves.
  9. Add the olive oil, sugar, salt and ground black pepper.
  10. Using a handheld blender, purée the sauce until it is very well blended (about 1 minute on high power).  Alternatively, you can use a food processor or regular blender to make the purée.
  11. Mix in the freshly chopped basil by hand.
  12. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Reheat if necessary and serve on top of your favourite pasta.
  14. Any leftover sauce can be safely stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Medium

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31May 12

Cream of Courgette Soup

Cream of Courgette SoupI really like eating soup, and this Cream of Courgette Soup recipe has got to be one of my all time top-five!  It has a lot more than just courgettes in it, so I guess it’s not technically a simple cream of courgette, but I find that the celery provides a nice tangy contrast while the carrots and potato give it a bit more depth.  And the nutmeg, well, that’s probably the whole secret to this incredibly tasty soup!

I strongly suggest leaving the skin on the courgettes, mostly because that’s where a lot of the nutrients are, but also because it gives a nice green colour.  I’ve also used cornflour rather than cheese or cream to thicken the mix in order to make it vegan-friendly, but if you prefer, you can go ahead and use those as you would in any other creamy broth (such as this roasted fennel and somerset cider soup).

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium size courgettes, washed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tsp water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish

What you have to do:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into medium sized chunks (the size isn’t very important since they’re going to be puréed anyway).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  3. Sauté the onion for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the courgettes, carrots, celery and potatoes and sauté for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir often so it doesn’t burn or stick.
  6. Add the vegetable stock, parsley, nutmeg, bay leaves, black pepper and salt.
  7. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
  9. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  10. Mix the cornflour with the water to a make a thick paste.
  11. Add the cornflour paste to the soup and mix it in well.
  12. Garnish with a few coriander leaves and a dash of nutmeg and serve.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Medium

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