September 15, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

This summer's hot weather has produced bumper crops of warm weather vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant, melons, and red-ripening peppers. I dish I love to make with red peppers is Marcella Hazan's "Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper Sauce with Garlic and Basil", from her marvelous cookbook Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Hazan can be relied on for simple, delicious recipes, and this is certainly one of them. I have found that it even works with peppers out of the freezer, so I can have it during winter, along with chopped basil frozen with olive oil.

3 meaty bell peppers, some red, some yellow (as you can see, I used only red, but yellow would be pretty; I use more peppers than the recipe calls for, since I want my sauce very full of peppery goodness; also, my peppers are smaller than the average supermarket pepper.)
16 to 20 fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbs butter
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese
1 pound pasta, Hazan recommends rigatoni or other tubular pasta.

  1. Wash the peppers in cold water, then slice lengthwise along crevices. Discard seeds and pulp. Using a swivel blade peeler, peel with a light motion. (I'm not very fussy about peeling.) Cut into 1/2 inch lengthwise strips, then slice them in two.
  2. Rinse and dry the basil; tear larger leaves in smaller pieces.
  3. Use a wide sauté pan that will hold peppers without crowding. Put olive oil in the pan with the garlic cloves and brown the garlic over medium high heat, then remove it.
  4. Add peppers to the pan and cook at a lively heat for around 15 minutes, stirring often. The peppers should be tender but not mushy. (I like them to get seared, with lots of yummy burnt spots, which taste caramelized.) Add salt and remove from heat.
  5. Cook the pasta; when almost done, melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. (or if you're lazy like me, cut the butter in very small pieces and place them in pasta bowl; the hot pasta will melt them.)
  6. Toss the cooked pasta with the peppers, butter, parmesan and basil. Enjoy! 

**I'll be going to Brooklyn to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with my family. I wish all my Jewish friends a very Happy New Year! See you in a few days.

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