Romano peppers (long pointed red peppers) are currently in season and I love making the most of them during late summer. This is a really easy, veg packed gnocchi recipe and it’s perfect for a vegetarian/meat-free meal. If you are looking to make this a vegetarian meal, make sure to use a vegetarian hard cheese instead of the Grana Padano. Serve with fresh green salad on the side.

Romano peppers & garlic pre-cooking

An easy way to peel peppers once cooked and still hot, is to leave them in a bowl and seal with clingfilm for a 5-10 minutes. After that, the peal should easily come off, though be careful as the peppers will still be hot.

This is a recipe from Waitrose & Partners magazine.

More with Aubergines: Melanzane Parmigiana with Green Salad | Potato and aubergine curry | Charred Aubergine, pepper and bulgur salad

Gnocchi with roasted red peppers, aubergines and chilli

Gnocchi with roasted red peppers, aubergines and chilli

Serves 4 | Prep 25 mins | Cook 30 mins
A little effort | Meat free

You’ll need:

  • 4 romano peppers, halved and deseeded;
  • 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil;
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and bashed;
  • 1 large aubergine (about 300g), cubed;
  • handful basil leaves;
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded;
  • 50g grana padano, grated;
  • 500g pack essential Waitrose fresh gnocchi;
  • 40g wild rocket /or other green salad to serve.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Toss the peppers in 1 tsp olive oil, season and arrange skin-side up on a baking tray with the garlic. Brush a second baking tray with 2 tsp oil, then add the aubergine; season. Put both trays in the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes (peppers on the top shelf ), turning the aubergine occasionally. Meanwhile, put the basil leaves, chilli and most of the grated cheese into a food processor, then whizz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Remove the vegetables from the oven, then carefully peel and discard the skin from the peppers and garlic cloves (see introduction for a tip). Add the roasted garlic and half the peppers to the food processor with the remaining 1½ tbsp oil; whizz to a semi-smooth paste and season. Tip into a large pan with the aubergine. Cut the remaining peppers into strips and add to the pan.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, gently heat the pepper and aubergine sauce. Drain the cooked gnocchi, then tip into the sauce, tossing through. Divide between plates, piling the rocket or green salad alongside and scattering over the remaining cheese.

Original recipe from Waitrose and Partners magazine, issue August 2020, available online here.

1 post has been published on the blog on Aug 26th in a previous year:

2018: Spaghetti Carbonara