Mary Berry's Romano Pepper and Herb Penne

A simple, flavourful recipe from Mary Berry's Quick Cooking, this delicious Italian pasta dish is made with romano peppers, crispy parma ham and fresh herbs. It only takes 25 minutes, making it ideal for a weeknight supper.

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Introduction

Crispy Parma ham, red peppers and fresh herbs is such a lovely flavour combination. Parma ham usually comes in packets of six to seven slices – use the whole packet. Swap the ham for thin rashers of streaky bacon, if you prefer.

Serves 4
Easy
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min

Ingredients

275g (10oz) penne pasta
6-7 slices Parma ham, snipped into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped (see note)
150g (5oz) roasted red peppers in oil (from a jar), drained and chopped (see note)
1 large garlic clove, crushed
200g (7oz) full-fat crème fraîche
1 x 30g packet flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped
1 x 30g packet basil, leaves roughly chopped
30g (1oz) Parmesan, finely grated

Instructions

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a high heat. Fry the Parma ham for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until crispy.

Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the oil to the pan, along with the spring onions, peppers and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

Add the crème fraîche and bring to the boil, then add the drained pasta with half the crispy ham, most of the herbs and some salt and pepper. Toss over the heat for a few minutes.

Add the cheese and a splash of the reserved cooking water if the sauce seems too thick, and sprinkle over the remaining crispy ham and herbs to serve.

Cook’s notes:

• Try using kitchen scissors to cut the spring onions quickly.

• Using chargrilled skinned peppers in oil from a jar makes this dish very quick – they are an excellent time saver. You can roast and skin your own peppers of course, if you prefer (see page 281 of Mary Berry's Quick Cooking).

Prepare Ahead: the ham can be pan-fried up to 3 hours ahead.

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