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Year of the Noodle:  Week 20

If you ever have bell peppers wasting away in your fridge, you should roast them.  Just 15 minutes under the broiler transforms those sad peppers into aromatic and flavorful amazingness.  Two weeks ago I had three peppers that I managed to save from a withering death by roasting them for a quinoa dish.  This week, three more peppers were saved by this recipe.  Instead of using the bottled peppers as the recipe below calls for, I substituted in the fresh roasted ones.  I’d bet it tasted better with the fresh ones.

Since it was a rainy day, John is still feeling sick (and wanting comfort food), and I’ve still got extra cream on hand from my birthday cake, we opted for a creamy sauce today.  While there is probably one more cream sauce in my not-so-distant future (have to use that cream!), I’m on the lookout for some healthier recipes that incorporate more vegetables than sauce.  Particularly ones with Asian roots.  If you have a good one, please send it my way!

Bow Tie Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper and Cream Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 pound uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
  • 2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • Thinly sliced fresh basil (optional)
Directions
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add bell peppers; cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in vinegar; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.
  3. Place bell pepper mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Return bell pepper mixture to pan; cook over low heat until warm. Combine half-and-half and tomato paste in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir tomato mixture into bell pepper mixture, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Stir in ground red pepper.
  4. Combine pasta and bell pepper mixture in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup cheese, tossing to coat. Spoon 1 1/3 cups pasta into each of 6 bowls; top each with about 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese. Garnish with basil, if desired.
Source:  Cooking Light
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