I’ve spent much of this winter eating pasta. Mostly as a form of comfort food. After my visit to Rome in September, where I learned how to make it, I have been mixing up dishes made with my own home-made pasta at the weekend and shop bought fresh pasta during the week. Now that winter is drawing to its close, I’m starting to crave lighter food. Lighter, but still comforting.
While we wait for spring to slowly make its way towards us, this is a great transition dish. There is heat from simple chilli flakes, and a deeply smoky, earthy hit from the smoked paprika and the roasted red pepper. It’s a very handy recipe for when you are stuck indoors by the relentless storms we’ve been having throughout February – the ingredients are mostly from the store cupboard. The deep, rich red from the peppers and the smoky flavour of the paprika invoke Spanish summer holidays and remind me that everything is temporary. Warmth, sunshine and change is coming.
INGREDIENTS 1 jar roasted red peppers (about 300g), roughly chopped
200g red lentils
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
10g creamed coconut
1 small red onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1 thumb sized piece ginger, mined
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion and cook on a gentle heat until soft.
Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for a further minute or two.
Add the lentils and stock and cook for about 15 minutes, until the lentils begin to soften.
Add the creamed coconut and red peppers and cook for a further five minutes.
Blend with a stick blender until smooth and reheat.
Serve with croutons, a drizzle of yoghurt or a drizzle of olive oil.