Monday, April 6, 2009

A Little Heat for a cold "Spring" Day (Pasta with Roasted Pepper Sauce)

It seems appropriate to share a recipe that will warm you from the inside out on a miserable day in April, locked in the house by a snow storm. Mother Nature you are a cruel mistress!

Pasta with Roasted Pepper Sauce

3 red bell peppers
1 scotch bonnet (or other hot pepper of your choice)
1 cubanelle pepper (I like the cubanelle because it is slightly hot but is still a sweet pepper)
1 large onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 or 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts (to your liking)
parmigiano reggiano cheese

First thing's first - roast your peppers. I do mine in the oven under the broiler. You can certainly do them on the grill as well. Rotate the peppers so that each side gets blackened and blistery.

Also get your pasta water on to boil. The sauce really doesn't take very long. As far as choice of noodle for this dish I like something along the lines of an orecchiette.

I like this because the pasta kind of acts like a little bowl for the thick sauce, so you get a lot of sauce with every bite. it's not always easy to find orecchiette, so just keep the shape in mind and go with something like it.

While you're peppers are roasting, toast your pine nuts. Just put them on a skillet on a low heat and keep a
very close eye on them. They're sneaky little buggers and will burn quickly if not tossed often.

When they're ready put them in a sealable bag and let them steam themselves for about 10 minutes. This makes the next step - removal of the skin - much easier.

(p.s. even though the skins are easy to remove, this is still my least favourite part of the process - messy sticky)

While your peppers are steaming it's time to saute your onions and garlic in your olive oil. Saute them until they're translucent. Just get them nice and tender. Don't forget to season with s&p.

Remove all your skins as well as the seeds and membranes from the peppers. Much of the heat from the scotch bonnet comes from the membrane so keep that in mind when you're removing them.

Put all your peppers in a food processor and add your toasted pine nuts. Process them all up together. It only takes about 30 seconds. Then add the mixture to your garlic and onions in your pan. Be sure to season the mixture with s&p well. The peppers really need the balance of the salt.

Stir everything together and then add the cream. Heat the mixture until it's heated through evenly and toss with your pasta.

Serve it with your parmesan.

...out of orecchiette - Sea Bass gave his vote to rigatoni.


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