Roasted red pepper conchiglie

Undecided and insomniac, on again-off again,  roasted red peppers and pasta

Do I sound confused?  Do I need a life?  Yes, and probably when it comes to this recipe, yes indeed!

And if ever a recipe  could not predetermine its finished form, here you have it.  The red peppers certainly knew what they were and the conchiglie was in no doubt about its identity, but the cook started out to make Insomniac Soup, so called because I was lying awake thinking that I really must add another type of soup to that category as it's daft to have a blog of two dozen or so recipes with two of them  for  Baked Potato Soup.  'Insomniac' refers to the cook and not to the indigestible qualities of the finished product, you understand.  As I drifted off to sleep in the early hours, I resolved  to make a warm and comforting roasted red pepper soup that evening.

Problem solved.  You'd think.  This is a no-brainer.  Using a soup recipe as a starting point, I branched out and added this and that and the soup got thicker and thicker and of course I wanted to include conchiglie after reading Sal's Awesome recipe in the last post and her accurate observations about its 'holding' qualities.' 

I got slightly generous with the pasta so of course there was nothing soup-like about the finished product.  Kit said it could be called S-pasta-p but that sounds faintly politically incorrect, and it certainly resembled pasta rather than soup.

Actually, it doesn't matter at all.  The red pepper flavour is intense but not overpowering, the conchiglie behaves as it should and 'holds' well and the meal didn't need any other carb accompaniment as it was filling on its own.

But hey, whether you thin it into a proper soup consistency, use different pasta (the soup pasta, tiny stuff, would keep it in the soup family), or just go with the quantities I've suggested, I hope you'll enjoy this on a cold night, or any night, as much as we did.

500g roasted red peppers.  If you use the jar type, drain and rinse well
800 ml chicken or vegetable stock
200 g mushrooms, sliced
500 g pasta (preferably fresh) of any shape but I've told you my preference
several pinches of seasoning of mixed herbs of choice:  dried basil, oregano, herbes de provence plus minced dried garlic, and of course a good grinding of black pepper.

Place the roasted red peppers in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour into large saucepan and add the stock, sliced mushrooms and herbs.  Bring slowly to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes until mushrooms are soft.  Add pasta, turn up heat and cook for another 10 minutes or so (more if you're using dried pasta) until pasta is al dente.

Ladle into bowls and top with crème fraîche (my own favourite), chopped fresh basil, or as Kit did, grate some cheddar cheese over it.  Grana padano would be a good alternative.

Not only was the recipe difficult to categorise, I've been back and rewritten the blog several times since my first swing past.  I think I've got it now and if you'll excuse me, I must now go and find that life I was looking for.

But of course I'm still left with the question of which proper soup I'm going to try when next I set out to  make soup.  Watch this space, er, blog!

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