Creamy Red Pepper Pasta

Rich and delicious. I know I say this all too often but this is my new favourite pasta sauce! It’s amazing how a little onion, garlic, tomato purée and cream can come together in mere minutes to make a delicious, deeply-flavoured sauce. This dish is definitely indulgent, but we all deserve a treat once in a while!

Unlike some of my other pasta sauce recipes, this one comes together in less than 30 minutes. Instead of slowly simmering tinned tomatoes, this recipe uses lots of double concentrated tomato purée, which, once cooked out and caramelised, provides a superb, deeply-flavourful base for the sauce. Please give this one a try – I’m certain you’ll love it!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian


  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 red sweet pointed peppers (Romano peppers), thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 100 g good-quality double (or triple) concentrated tomato purée
  • 300 ml water
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 50 g grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano, plus more to serve
  • 1 large handful basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 400 g dried pasta of choice


  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil over high heat. It should be sea-level salty. Meanwhile, start preparing the sauce.
  2. Heat a splash of extra-virgin olive oil in a separate large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and season with a good pinch of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, around 5 minutes.
  3. Add the peppers and season again with a good pinch of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Then add the tomato purée and stir until the paste evenly coats the onions, peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the paste darkens and is beginning to caramelise on the bottom of the pot, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add the water and stir to incorporate. Season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the double cream, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove the saucepan from the heat.
  7. Stir in the grana padano and basil. Season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste.
  8. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
  9. Heat the saucepan with the sauce over low heat. Using a slotted spoon or spider (if using short pasta) or tongs (if using long pasta), transfer the cooked pasta to the sauce. Add a ladleful or two of the pasta cooking water and toss until the sauce nicely coats the pasta. Divide among bowls, top with a little more grana padano and serve. Enjoy!

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