09 October 2008
Four Pepper Pasta
In October I often think of my garden in Dallas. Beside our house there, my husband built a well planned series of raised beds. There was an open area to the other side and the conditions were good for growing herbs and vegetables. I had another herb garden just outside the kitchen door, a peach tree in the back yard and grapes were planted along the fence. My basil plants grew profusely, cantaloupe and squash were abundant and peppers, started from tiny plants we bought at the nursery, grew into great bushes by mid October. I struggled to keep up with the quatity of peppers those bushes produced. I was always looking for new recipes that used a maximum number of peppers.
One year, when the first frost threatened right before Halloween, I remember bringing in at least two grocery sacks full of peppers that remained on the plants. Some of the recipes I used them in have gotten away from me over the years but there is one I found in the newspaper during those years in Dallas that I still treasure. It uses several sweet bell peppers, of different colors if you have them, and pairs them with onion, picante sauce, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese to make a delicious topping for pasta. It makes a hearty vegetarian entrée that is bright with rich fall colors and flavor.
8 ounces bow tie or other pasta
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large green pepper, cut into short, thin strips
1 large red pepper, cut into short, thin strips
1 large yellow pepper, cut into short, thin strips
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
2/3 cup picante sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. ( I use one tablespoon or less of oil in a non-stick skillet. Adjust according to the pan you use and your preference.)
Add onion, peppers and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.
Sprinkle basil and oregano over the vegetables. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Add picante sauce and vinegar. Stir in and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Spoon pepper mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.