Monday, August 2, 2010

Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers and Basil

I have a bad habit of letting food go to waste. Generally, the offenders fall into one of two categories: (1) vegetables/fruit that I bought for a specific recipe and didn't use all of it and languishes in the fridge and (2) leftovers from a previous night that were created to avoid problem 1, but I don't want to eat because I'd rather make something new. I'm making a conscious effort to avoid this by buying in-season (ideally local) vegetables and planning a week of meals around it (this week you may notice a bell pepper and tomato theme). Sometimes this works and something I run out of corn on the first day. This method of cooking is also encouraging me to avoid foodgawker and rely more on my cookbooks. Sometimes it's a bust (last night's red lentil and bell pepper curry ... although I really should've trusted by instincts on that one!), but the successes are worth the risk. Right now, I am completely enamored with Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking that I picked up a few weeks ago.

This recipe was quick, easy, and delicious. It's slightly annoying to have to peel the bell pepper, but I think it does help with the texture. According to the book, this serves 4. I scaled down, but the original is included below.

Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers and Basil (from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

3 bell peppers (she suggests a mix of red and yellow)
16 - 20 basil leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp butter
2/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
450g pasta (she suggests rigatoni, penne, or ziti ... I used whole wheat penne)

1. Wash the peppers. Cut them lengthwise, removing the seeds and core. Peel the peppers (by far the most annoying part of this recipe!). Cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Cut the strips in half.
2. Rinse basil leaves and pat dry. Tear larger leaves by hand, set aside.
3. In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic cloves and cook until a light nut brown. Remove the garlic and discard.
4. Place the peppers in the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until peppers are tender but not mushy. Salt to taste and remove from heat (you can reheat if necessary right before tossing with the pasta).
5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is nearly ready, melt butter in a small microwave-safe dish (or you can use the stove).
6. Drain pasta, toss with pepper mixture, melted butter, grated Parmesan, and basil. Serve.


  1. Amy, if you blanch the peppers, the peeling will be a breeze! :)

  2. Next time I will try that, Monika!