A comforting combination of chewy macaroni pasta soaked in a rich, zesty tomato sauce made of fire-roasted tomatoes, spicy Calabrian peppers, and pecorino cheese with fresh red bell pepper, spinach, and carrots makes it the most pleasing one-post spicy macaroni pasta meal.
Your Favorite Comfort Food
Imagine a rich fire-roasted tomato sauce infused with Calabrian peppers, embracing vibrant red bell peppers and fresh spinach. Plump macaroni eagerly awaits its cheesy destiny, all anointed with the salty kiss of Pecorino cheese.
This isn't just dinner; it's your quick and easy weeknight dinner in a Dutch oven – Spicy Macaroni Pasta and Pecorino Cheese Tomato Stew. The best thing is that it will be your favorite comfort food!
Try These Other Delicious Pasta Dishes
- Cheesy Ground Turkey Red Lentil Pasta
- Pesto Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Cheesy Sage Chili Pumpkin Chicken Pasta
- Jalapeno Pesto and Argentinian Shrimp Pasta
To begin with, get your Dutch oven nice and hot with olive oil to sweat your onions, carrots, and celery until the onions are translucent. Then, add chopped garlic and fresh basil for an aromatic experience.
Next, add the fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and crushed Calabrian peppers to create the soup base while building up flavor. Add the low-sodium vegetable broth and kosher salt and bring to a simmer.
Then, add the raw macaroni pasta and cook until al dente. Finish the stew by adding and cooking the red bell pepper and fresh baby spinach. Round off the soup's flavor with a splash of fresh lemon juice and salt to taste.
See the macaroni, cheese, and tomatoes recipe card for quantities.
Follow the instructions and cooking tips below using the step-by-step picture guide.
Mirepoix is a classic French technique combining onion, celery, and carrots as the base aromatics for a dish you will later build on.
When you add the crushed tomatoes and chili peppers, you will cook this down to remove the acidity while creating a dark color that will later contribute to the richness of the stew.
Adding the vegetable broth will dilute the rich flavor of the stewed tomatoes, garlic, basil, and aromatics, and this is why it is important to taste and season along the way to keep the dish flavorful.
The raw elbow macaroni will be cooked right into the rich tomato broth, making it the best one-pot meal.
Adding the red bell pepper towards the end gives this stew various textures with the remembrance of freshness.
Gently incorporate the spinach into the stew to prevent breaking the pasta.
After building the flavor with the previous ingredients, you won't need a ton of cheese, which helps keep this dish healthy and simple.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there.
- Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese - Use nutritional yeast to provide a deep umami flavor.
- Raw Macaroni Pasta - There are tons of gluten-free pasta now; substitute it with your favorite one.
- This delicious recipe is already vegetarian!
- Diced Onion, Carrots, and Celery - Look for store-bought mirepoix in the freezer or produce section of your local grocery store.
- Crushed Calabrian Peppers - Don't have this? Use what chili peppers you have, such as crushed red pepper flakes.
- Crushed Fire-Roasted Tomatoes - If you don't have this ingredient, try using fresh tomatoes with the skin charred, removed, and cooked down to reduce the acidity of tomato paste for sweetness. However, this will increase the recipe cooking time; make sure to taste the stewed tomatoes for the right balance of reduced acidity and sweetness. Interestingly, you might get away with using tomato soup; just reduce the amount of vegetable broth.
Change Heat Level - Modify the recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings.
- Creamy Cheese Sauce - To achieve this, add the cream after cooking down the crushed tomatoes and chili peppers by slowly adding the cream and whisking off the heat to incorporate without curdling. Then whisk in the broth, place on medium heat, and simmer. You might have to reduce the broth amount to equal the liquid ratio to ingredients for a thick stew. You will still add the cheese towards the end of cooking when the pasta is halfway cooked using sharp white cheddar, regular sharp cheddar, or other cheddar cheeses, or stick to pecorino or parmesan cheese.
- Bacon - Render the dice or slice bacon, remove only the cooked bacon, and set aside. Then, using the bacon grease, add the mirepoix of onion, carrots, and celery and continue with the recipe. You can either use the bacon as a garnish or keep it in at the beginning when adding the mirepoix.
- Dutch Oven - This pot is the perfect equipment to cook this dish because it prevents the burning and sticking of the thick sauced ingredients. Though Dutch ovens are cast iron, I highly suggest using a cast iron pot with enamel due to the acidity of the tomatoes in this recipe. I used the Lodge 6 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with a Lid for this recipe. If you do not have a Dutch oven, use a large pot. You might even get away with using a heavy-bottomed large saucepan.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, you can place the tomato macaroni stew in a shallow 2-inch container to cool down quickly. Then, store it in an airtight container. As a result, the meal will last up to four days.
- Freezer - Follow the refrigeration process mentioned above. Then, place it in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
Soggy Pasta - For extra al dente bliss, undercook your pasta by a minute in thick liquids. The residual heat in the sauce will gently finish cooking it while it simmers, creating a perfectly springy bite without the risk of mushiness. Remember, adding a minute of cooking is always easier than subtracting a soggy disaster!
Frequently Asked Questions
A simple Mediterranean-style salad of tomatoes, cucumber, and onions with a refreshing vinaigrette, like a Balsamic, Greek, or Italian-style dressing. I usually like to add some greens, such as baby arugula or mixed baby greens.
Serving freshly toasted, crusty, sliced artisan-style bread with a garlic olive oil dip or garlic butter is also great.
Looking for other pasta recipes like this? Try these:
One Pot Meal Recipes
Looking for other one-pot meal recipes like this? Try these:
SUBSCRIBE: 👈To my YouTube Channel to Get Notifications of New Videos.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Have a Comment or Question? (H2 Heading)
If you have a question or comment about this spicy macaroni pasta recipe, please post it below. You will definitely get a quick response. It also helps our other readers to stay informed. Thanks!