This modern Italian starter is as attractive on the plate as it is delicious. Try to go for yellow or orange peppers as they are neither too sweet nor bitter. If you don’t fancy spaghetti you can use any miniature pasta shapes – such as ditalini (small ditali) or pennette (small penne) – for an artier take on the dish. For those of you who consider yourselves to be neat freaks, they just fit better. You could even double up on portions and serve with a leafy green salad as a healthy main meal for two.
Kcal: 458 per portion
Fat: 18.5g per portion
Sat Fat: 2.6g per portion
Preparation time: 14 minutes
Cooking time: 16 minutes
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 4 large yellow peppers
- 100g black olives, pitted and chopped
- 2 tbsps fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 canned or bottled anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed
- ½-1 tsp crushed dried chillies
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 300g spaghetti (or pennette or ditalini pasta – available at all good supermarkets)
- 2 tbsps dried breadcrumbs
Step 1: Grill the peppers until the skin is charred all over. Leave until they are cool enough to handle.
Step 2: Remove the pepper skins with a small sharp knife. They should peel off easily. Cut in half, remove the cores, seeds and ribs, and pat dry.
Step 3: In a large bowl, combine the olives, parsley, anchovies and garlic with the capers, chillies, salt and pepper, and half the olive oil.
Step 4: Cook the pasta in boiling water until slightly undercooked, then drain. Transfer to the bowl of chopped ingredients and mix thoroughly. Season to taste.
Step 5: preheat the oven to 220°C/gas Mark 7.
Step 6: Brush a roasting tin with some of the remaining oil. Place the pepper halves in the tin and fill with your pasta mixture (if you’re using spaghetti, roll it around a fork as you do when you eat it). Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and then drizzle over the remaining oil.
Step 7: Bake for about 10 minutes, until a light crust has formed. Serve hot.
Gastronomy Of Italy by Anna Del Conte (£30, Pavilion) is out now
Wine expert Jane Parkinson recommends the perfect pairing.
Askos Verdeca, Masseria Li Veli 2012, £95.94 for a case of six, armitwines.co.uk
This gorgeous white from Italy’s heel, Puglia, is made from local grape varieties verdeca and fiano. together they make a perky dry white that’s full of juicy pear flavours, and with its herbal twist the wine will pick up nicely on the olive, caper, garlic and chilli flavours.