Friday, October 29, 2004


Yet another creative use of vegetables with pasta, thanks to Pasta e Verdura. I don’t even have a particular fondness for peppers—I hate the green ones, and I tolerate the others, but don’t seek them out—and yet I really enjoy this dish. It’s so cheerfully fresh and colorful, has an intense zesty flavor but isn’t too heavy. Plus, it’s incredibly simple to make; I think the most laborious part was just seeding and slicing the peppers (those darn seeds get everywhere). When I made this on Wednesday night, we devoured our food in about a minute flat, even A, who just had a cap put on his tooth and can’t chew well (pasta with peppers—perfect for the ill and infirm!).

5 medium bell peppers (about 2 pounds), in a variety of colors (I usually use red, yellow, and orange)
1/3 cup olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup minced fresh basil leaves
1 pound fettuccine or other long pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. While it's heating, halve the peppers and cut out the cores, seeds, and white membranes. Cut the peppers into thin slices and cut the slices in half crosswise.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is fragrant and lightly colored, about 1 minute. Add the peppers and salt to the skillet, toss to coat them with the oil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened considerably but are not mushy, 15-20 minutes.

3. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente. When the peppers are done, add the basil to the pan, then drain the pasta and add it as well. Toss everything together, dish it out, and sprinkle cheese over each serving.

Serves: 6
Time: 30-40 minutes

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