This is one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes. Hands down. Top five. A go-to pasta for the rest of my life. It’s delicious, it’s comforting, it’s a firecracker on your plate! When I concocted this pasta for the first time I was so pleased with myself it was embarrassing.
To begin with, homemade Ajvar is to die for (at least this one is!) Sweet, earthy flavors with a lot of body. Plus a ridiculously nice deep red color! And then you have the almost sinful qualities of the angel hair pasta, always welcoming a sauce with a creamy, loving embrace. Add plump mozzarella and crispy, salty pancetta/bacon and you’re in flavor heaven.
- About 400 g Angel hair/Cappellini pasta (the really thin one)
- About 300 g of pancetta/bacon
- 2 water-packed mozzarella, ripped up into chunks
- 5 large red bell peppers
- 1 whole garlic, halved so that every clove is halved (see picture)
- 0, 8 dl / ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 dl / a scant ½ cup/ 70 g of almonds, toasted whole
- 1 tbsp of white balsamico
- Chili flakes
- Olive oil
- Some fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano or thyme) or mixed greens (arugula, baby spinach, etc). Fresh thyme on pictures.
- Preheat oven to 220C / 420F. Cut the bell peppers in half and take out the seeds. Put on an oven sheet. Halve the garlic and put on the tray together with the bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Grill until the bell peppers are soft and the skin looks a bit burnt, for about 20-30 min. You want the garlic to brown but not to burn.
- In the meantime toast the almonds with salt and olive oil on medium heat for about 4 minutes. Nuts and seeds burn easily so pay attention. Take off heat.
- Take off the burnt bits from the bell peppers. In a large bowl (you want room for the pasta later) put bell peppers, almonds and half of the scraped out garlic cloves and mix to a semi-smooth paste. Add the olive oil, the balsamico and season with salt and pepper. Mix some more and taste. Add more garlic, balsamico or oil if needed. (If there’s any garlic left, save and use in a dressing). Put a lid on so it doesn’t cool completely.
- Fry the pancetta/bacon crispy.
- Boil the pasta after instructions. Note: With angel hair pasta it’s even more important that it’s al dente. Pour the pasta into the bowl with the Ajvar and stir. Serve on plates. Sprinkle the pancetta/bacon and the mozzarella on top. Dress with green stuff of your choosing. (On pictures fresh thyme.)
- Serve with chili flakes, olive oil, flaky salt and Parmesan. And some red wine, damn it!