1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon crushed dried red chillies
1 teaspoon dried Mediterranean herbs
400 g (13 oz) passata
2 teaspoons granular sweetener
300 g (10 oz) small button mushrooms
300 g (10 oz) cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper
200 g (7 oz) dried penne pasta
large pinch of crushed dried red chillies (optional)
handful of rocket leaves


1.Preheat the slow cooker if neces sary. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat until hot, add the onion and cook for 4- minutes, stiring until just beginning to soften.
2. Add the garlic, paprika and chillies, then the dried herbs, passata and sweetener. Season to taste and bring to the boil.
3.Place the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes in the slow cooker pot, pour over the hot passata mixture and stir well
4.Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. When almost ready to serve, cook the pasta in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water according to the packet instructions until just tender.
5.Drain and stir into the ragu, then spoon into shallow bowls, sprinkle with the chillies, if liked, and top with the rocket. Serve immediately.
6.FOR COURGETTE & TOMATO ARRABIATA, follow the recipe above, using 200 g (7 oz) diced courgette and 1 cored, deseeded and diced red pepper instead of the mushrooms.

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