Friday, July 23, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Penne

I had a bunch of red peppers from Sunquest Farms here in my county (I love using local food!) that I wanted to roast down into a sauce.

Michael Smith is my "go to guy" for recipes, and he didn't disappoint this time. He has a Bowtie Pasta with Roast Red Pepper recipe that I worked from, and I know how I'd adjust it the next time. Maybe add a little white wine? We'll see.


Roasted Red Pepper Penne
(this was enough for the three of us plus a little left over...adjust accordingly)

4 red peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled, whole cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
1 pound penne

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Place peppers, onions and garlic in a bowl, drizzle in olive oil and toss to coat, spread evenly onto foil lined (easy cleanup!) baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and fennel seed.

Roast for about 45 minutes (check every once in a while to make sure everything is cooking evenly...rotate pan if necessary), until veggies are soft and have some nice colour.

Place roasted veggies into a blender and puree with a little water to loosen it up. Alternately, you can pop the roasted veggies into a sauce pan and hit them with your immersion blender.

Cook your penne in some boiling, salted water, and keep the sauce warm on the stove. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

When the pasta is nearly done, throw a few handfuls of baby spinach into the sauce and stir. The heat of the sauce, and the soon-to-be-added pasta will wilt the spinach. You don't need to cook the crap out of it at this point....unless you like slimy spinach. Hey, it's your dinner!

Spoon the penne right into the sauce. The little bit of starchy water will help the sauce stick to the pasta. Note, I said "little bit"...clearly, if you dump the pasta in with a ton of water, you'll have the opposite effect. Use your head here.

Dish it up and add a nice bit of parmesan (shavings, gratings, whatever). I also added a bit of dried red pepper flakes to balance the sweetness of the sauce.

The addition of the fennel seeds triggered a memory of sausages (but no chewy gristle!!), and it was pretty awesome. The sauce was velvety and sweet. I'd never had a pepper sauce before.

Other recipies using red peppers I'd love to try include:
Anna Olsen's Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Pepper Coulis and Red Pepper Soup from Smitten Kitchen.

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