Pasta And Potatoes


4 medium-sized waxy potatoes, diced
7 oz (200 g) large pasta shapes (e.g. shells or large ribbed macaroni)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 green chilli pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)
2 large ripe tomatoes
5 fl oz (150 ml) hot chicken stock
4 fl oz (120 ml) olive oil
salt and pepper

garnish with:

sprigs of basil
4 tbsp additional diced ripe fresh tomato flesh


1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil ready to cook the pasta. Heat 6 tbsp of the oil in a wide, deep fireproof casserole dish and sweat the onion and chilli pepper, if used, over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add the diced potatoes and continue to cook over a low heat while stirring for 5 minutes.

3. Chop the tomato flesh coarsely and stir into the saucepan with a generous pinch each of oregano, salt and freshly ground pepper; stir and turn all the ingredients while cooking for 2 - 3 minutes.

4. Add the stock and stir again. Cook and simmer for 5 minutes or until the potato is just tender. Add more salt to taste.

5. Turn off the heat. When the pasta is tender but has still plenty of 'bite' left in it, drain, reserving about 8 fl oz (220 ml) of the cooking water.

6. Add the pasta to the contents of the saucepan and stir over a low heat for about 5 minutes. This should complete the cooking of the pasta.

7. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the liquid in the pan reduces appreciably, as the finished dish should be very moist.

8. Turn off the heat and leave to stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes, to allow the flavours to blend, then transfer to heated bowls.

9. Drizzle about 1/2 tbsp olive oil over each serving, season with a little freshly ground pepper and garnish with sprigs of fresh basil and some diced tomato flesh.

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