Caramelised red pepper penne

The secret to this simple Italian classic is to cook the vegetables as slowly as possible so the moisture evaporates and the vegetables become sweet and meltingly tender. 

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4


2–3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 red peppers, seeded and sliced
2 orange peppers, seeded and sliced
25g pack fresh basil
300g penne or other pasta shapes
2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, plus extra to serve
Juice of ½ lemon
Chilli flakes, to serve (optional) 


1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and peppers with half of the basil leaves over a very gentle heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until very tender and golden brown.

2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water according to the packet instructions. Drain loosely and return to the pan.

3. Stir in the pepper mixture, Parmigiano Reggiano and remaining basil leaves and toss well together. Grind in some black pepper
and add a good squeeze of lemon juice and chilli flakes, to taste. Divide between four pasta bowls and serve with extra cheese for sprinkling over.