Why the House Smells Like a Pizzeria, Part II

I had a sad little sweet red pepper wrinkling away in the vegetable drawer, and recently unearthed my blender, so I decided to try making some red pepper sauce to have with pasta.

I don't think I ever eat pasta without broccoli...this pasta even LOOKS like broccoli!
I don't think I ever eat pasta without broccoli...this pasta even LOOKS like broccoli!

However, I ended up making this on the same day that I baked the bread.  Therefore, it smelled like there was a pizzeria downstairs.  I didn’t mind…

If I had had more time, I would have liked to have cooked the sauce a little more.  It was a little thin.  And very sweet!  I would have liked to have had fresh basil…The whole thing was pretty improvised.  One thing I was lucky to have, however, was a stash of pine nuts.  Mmm, pine nuts!  They complimented the sweetness and I just love their texture.  Do not substitute another nut for pine nuts.  You can’t.  Just buy them from the little bulk bins at the grocery store and use them sparingly.

So this recipe definitely needs some tweaking.  Here’s a rundown of what I would do next time:

– Probably add more salt.

– Use fresh basil.

– I need to get me some extra virgin olive oil – all I have is light since I usually use it for baking and sauteing.

– Try cooking it for longer.

This was also just enough for a filling dinner for myself.  Just use one pepper for each serving you need to make and scale the rest of the ingredients up, to taste.

Pasta & Broccoli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (for one)

Hello, food!
Hello, food!

1 sweet red bell pepper, halved, with the innards and stems removed

1 small head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/8 box of campanelle pasta (you could use another kind if they’re short, but Barilla makes these and they’re my favorite!)

1 tsp good olive oil, plus extra (doesn’t have to be as good) for cooking broccoli

1/4-1/2 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt), plus more for pasta & broccoli

A couple of dashes of pepper, for sauce and broccoli

Dried or fresh oregano & basil, to taste (if fresh, cut the basil in fine ribbons and add right before serving)

1 Tbsp pine nuts

Sprinkling of shaved parmesan

Move a rack in the oven as high as you can and set the oven to the highest setting, and allow to preheat.  Place the peppers skin-side up in a baking pan and place in oven (you know, on that rack we put all up in there).  Roast for a few minutes, until the skin is visibly blistering away from the flesh of the peppers.  Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool for a minute, then carefully remove the skin with your fingers and place the pepper flesh in the blender.  Add the olive oil and blend until it’s saucy…as chunky or smooth as you like.  Transfer to a saucepan and add seasonings, then simmer it while you prepare everything else…or longer if you want.  Boil the water for the pasta; once you add the pasta and salt, begin sauteing the broccoli in the oil and seasonings.  Don’t worry if your broccoli gets singed in spots…it will be more delicious.  Once your pasta and broccoli are done, transfer them to a plate (or bowl).  Add sauce, pine nuts and parmesan.  Eat your colorful food!

This isn’t exactly a seasonal dish, now that I think about it.  I’ll wait until spring or summer to try again…better ingredients make better food.

I need to get to work on my Iron Cupcake submissions (there was a wine-opening disaster, resulting in the need for more wine and a corkscrew, which I love!), and I have some other things I want to try out.  I have to get to the store and probably the post office to get started on most projects, though…arg.  Winter.

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