A sauce makes a meal. So convinced is chef Nina Parker that she's written an entire cookbook of sauces to jazz up mealtimes. Saucy: A Cookbook, Only Saucier , follows Nina's other releases Nina: St Tropez and Nina: Capri which featured recipes inspired by France and the Capri coastline.
Nina has cooked for the likes of Stormzy, Russell Brand and Millie Mackintosh and has more than 61,000 Instagram followers eagerly awaiting her next recipe. But struggled in lockdown like many of us she struggled to eat healthily and to find inspiration for meals each day while managing a busy workload. This is when the idea for Saucy was born.
Here she advises how to make her vegan roast pepper pasta sauce, because we all know pasta is the ultimate comfort food.
"This sauce is a mix between a romesco sauce and an incredible pasta that I ate at my favourite London restaurant, Pophams," Nina tells us. "I love using up stale bread to make breadcrumbs and this complements the pasta, adding in lots of texture. I usually like to sprinkle them on a Puglia-style broccoli pasta but I think this might be a better combination. This also can work well for a larger party as you can prep everything before."
Nina Parker's Roast Pepper Sauce, Pangrattato Pasta recipe
For the pangrattato:
3 handfuls stale bread
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
For the roast pepper sauce:
440g red peppers (I use a mix of bell and romano), thinly sliced and deseeded
4 tbsp olive oil, plus 70ml extra virgin olive oil
2 banana shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5 tsp ground paprika
Few sprigs of thyme
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp chilli powder
Zest of 1 lemon and 3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
For the pangrattato, blend the stale bread to a rough consistency, leaving some chunky bits. Add to a baking tray and drizzle over the olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix everything around and place into a 190C degree oven for 4-5 minutes until crisped up and golden. Leave to cool and store in a jam jar.
For the sauce, preheat the oven to 190C degrees and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Add the sliced peppers to one and season with twp spoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Next add the onions, thyme leaves, garlic and tomato halves to the other and season with another two spoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place both trays into the oven.
Take out the garlic and thyme at 12 minutes and the onion at 20.
Take out the tomatoes and peppers at 30 minutes.
Scrape this into a blender along with 30ml of olive oil, paprika and cayenne pepper.
Blend to a smooth consistency and scrape into a bowl.
Add the remaining olive oil and check the seasoning, adding in the lemon juice.
Serve with the pasta of your choice using some of the starchy water to loosen the sauce. Top with pangrattato!