I came up with this pasta dish a while back, during a bit of experimentation, and I fell in love with it. It’s probably not as original as I would have liked to think, but it is a bit different to your typical red pasta sauce. It’s slightly creamy, with a hint of spiciness and the smoky flavours of paprika. The paprika is very mild so most of the spice comes from thin slices of hot pepperoni. I usually add chicken as well for the protein and texture; it doesn’t add much flavour-wise.
The vital ingredient however, is Dolmio Spicy Peppers pasta sauce. I’ve raved before about my love of this particular pasta sauce. It’s so versatile; it’s fantastic with a little cream in a pasta sauce, good in mexican food, and it’s even great for pizza bases. It’s not really cheating if you just use it as a base, right?
Spicy Paprika Pasta
- 500g pasta (penne lends itself well)
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 1 free range chicken breast, trimmed and sliced
- 250g hot pepperoni, sliced very thinly
- ~ 1 Tbsp paprika
- 140g tomato paste (or a huge dollop)
- 1 jar Dolmio Spicy Peppers
- 100ml cream
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Baby spinach (optional)
Set your pasta to cooking in a large pot of salted water.
Gently fry the onion with olive oil in a large pan. Turn up heat and add chicken breast. When chicken is mostly browned, add pepperoni and paprika and saute on low heat for 1-2 minutes until the fat renders and it smells like the flavours are being released. Add the tomato paste and saute for a further 1 minute.
Add the Spicy Peppers sauce and heat through. Add a handful or two of baby spinach leaves if you wish, and mix through until wilted. Stir in the cream.
By this time the pasta should be done. Strain it, reserving some starchy water. Transfer the pasta straight to the frying pan and toss to coat in sauce. Add about 1/2 cup of the starchy (salted remember) water to reach a good consistency. Most pasta dishes will thicken and absorb water on standing so this is good practice whenever you make pasta that you intend to re-heat later.
Season with salt and pepper if need be and top with finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
I think olives would work well in this recipe but I’ve never tried them. Also, some finely chopped parsley would probably be nice.