5 1/4cups(400g) dried penne pasta (use gluten free if required)
1white or brown onion(peeled and chopped)
7oz(200g) chorizo, sliced (usually gluten free, but check if required)
2clovesgarlic(peeled and minced)
14oz(400g) tinned chopped tomatoes
1tspdried thyme – or 3 stalks of fresh thyme
1tspheaped of dried chilli flakes(you can add more or less depending on how much you like chillies)
8 3/4oz(250g) mozzarella
3tbspfinely grated parmesan cheese
1/2tspFreshly ground black pepper
2chopped spring onions (scallions)
Place the two whole bell peppers over a gas hob flame (using heat-proof tongs) or under the grill/broiler and grill until blackened and charred all over. Turn during grilling to ensure all the sides get done. They should be blackened in about 10-12 minutes. Once done, wrap in tin foil and allow to cool slightly in the foil (this will make removing the skin easier).
Whilst the peppers are grilling you can cook the pasta and make the arrabiata sauce.
Heat a large pan of water for the pasta, and cook the penne as per the pack instructions.
In a large frying pan/skillet, heat the oil and add in the onion. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until the onions start to soften.
Add in the chorizo, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the chorizo releases it's oils and start to darken.
Now stir in the garlic and tomato puree, cook for 1 minute, then stir in the canned tomatoes, thyme, dried chilli flakes and sugar. Bring it to a gentle bubble and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
By now, the foil-wrapped peppers should have cooled a little. Place them on a chopping board, then remove and discard the charred skin. Slice up the peppers (discarding the seeds) and throw the chopped peppers into the arrabiata sauce.
Drain the pasta, once cooked, and add the drained pasta to the arrabiata sauce. Stir together (I find it easier to use a spoon and a set of tongs for this) until the pasta is completely coated in the sauce.
Stir in the mozzarella chunks, heat for a further minute and then turn off the heat.
Sprinkle the arrabiata with a little parmesan, freshly ground black pepper, chilli flakes and some chopped spring onions (scallions). Serve straight from the pan.
Can I make it gluten free?
Yes! Swap out the pasta for gluten-free pasta and ensure your chorizo and tomato paste are gluten free too. It works well as a gluten free dish..
Can I make it vegetarian?
Yes - skip the chorizo entirely (if you do, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika with the spices), or replace it with vegetarian chorizo/mushrooms/smoky chickpeas (chickpeas fried with smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper). You'll also need to replace the parmesan (which is made with animal rennet) with vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese, and check you're using a vegetarian mozzarella..
Can I make it ahead?
I prefer to eat this right away as I think it tastes better when freshly made, rather than after re-heating. However, you can make it ahead if you wish, and it will still be tasty.Once you've cooked the arrabiata, cool, cover and refrigerate for up to a day. It's better to reheat in the oven (covered in foil) - as this will help the heat to disperse better, without the pasta being broken - as it would if it was being stirred in a pan. Heat in the oven at 190C/375F for about 20-25 minutes until hot throughout. Note: the dish will be a little less saucy if you make it ahead, as the pasta will absorb more of the liquid. You can add an extra few tablespoons of stock or hot water when reheating the pasta to ensure it's still saucy..
Can I freeze it?
As above, it tastes better when freshly made, but you can freeze and reheat it.Once you've cooked the arrabiata, cool, cover and freeze. Then defrost in the refrigerator. As per the re-heat instructions above - reheat in the oven (covered in foil) at 190C/375F for about 20-25 minutes until hot throughout. Again, add an extra few tablespoons of stock or hot water when reheating the pasta to ensure it's still saucy..
I love this cold the next day for lunch with some crunchy salad leaves and finely sliced red onion..Nutritional info is per serving.