Today is the first day of winter and I couldn't be happier. Despite it's tendency to make me somewhat fatter, this cold and rainy season still remains my favourite, and sets the perfect scene for some of my favourite things to eat.
Pasta is of course, a no-brainer when it comes to comfort food. I could happily eat it all day long. And this particular recipe is great for when I don't feel like leaving the house - because I can just throw in pretty much whatever is lying around in the fridge or pantry. Try using broccoli, chick peas, mushrooms.... there are plenty of variations you can try. Who wants to brave the cold for the supermarket? Not me.
Chunky vegetable pasta
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp chopped italian parsley
400g tinned whole-peeled tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Sea salt and ground black pepper
500g wholemeal penne
Heat oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion and garlic until they just begin to brown. Add the spring onions, capsicum, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and carrot; and continue to cook until the vegetables have softened slightly.
Add the tomatoes and passata, then use a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes into the sauce. Add bay leaves and dried herbs, and season well with salt and pepper.
Turn the heat down to a simmer, half-cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes or until the sauce is thick and rich. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve over wholemeal penne pasta (cooked according to packet directions) and top with grated parmesan or sharp cheddar cheese.