This post has been supported by Rennie®, but all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.
As part of their #RennieHappyEating campaign, Rennie (usually best known for being your go-to guy when heartburn strikes) asked me to come up with a recipe inspired by British food of the past. I checked out their new infographic “Cooking Through The Decades” for inspiration..
The decade that first jumped out at me was the seventies. I’ve always been a little obsessed with the reputation that decade has for straight up awful food. I won’t lie, flicking through a recipe book or watching a Fanny Craddock episode from that curious time in our history doesn’t do much for the appetite half the time, but you can find some real gems if you dig deep enough.
To research for this recipe, I grabbed my family copy of the Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book (first published in the decade of the flares) and headed down to a coffee shop to meet Cab and flick through it looking for old ideas. We ended up almost crying with laughter. Highlights included a chocolate pudding featuring cream and pasta shells, and far too much jellied everything for my liking.
As pointed out in Rennie’s infographic, two constants throughout were pasta (which only really made it into kitchen cupboards in the 70s) and stuffed things. I decided to combine the two and use capsicum peppers as an edible baking dish to encase a simple but delicious pasta bake.
Just before we get to the recipe, it’s my duty to let you know you could be in with a chance of winning a £200 Waitrose voucher with Olive Magazine. All you need to do is share your very own recipe from way back when on social media with the hashtag #RennieHappyEating.
200g cherry tomatoes
20g flour (2 heaped tbsps)
3 mixed peppers
pinch salt and pepper (and 1 of sugar!)
handful extra mature cheddar
- Heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 (conversions here). Halve and deseed the peppers, then spread out on a baking sheet and drizzle (or spray) with just a little olive oil.
- Put the tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and a pinch of both salt and sugar.
- Bake the peppers and tomatoes for 20-30 minutes. The peppers should be starting to soften and the tomatoes cooked and sitting in lovely sweet juices. Set both aside while you make the pasta bake sauce (but don’t turn the oven off!).
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stir until a paste is formed and then continue to cook for a minute or two, watching it doesn’t burn. Add the milk a splash at a time, mixing thoroughly all the while, until you’ve got a thick white sauce. Season.
- Whilst the above is happening (or before or after, depending on how much making a white sauce freaks you out), cook your penne according to pack instructions.
- In a bowl, mix together the pasta, the sauce and the tomatoes. Stuff your partially cooked peppers with as much pasta as you can fit inside, scatter with a little cheese and bake for another 20-30 minutes.