Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pasta with Peppers

Serves 4-6* (more if more veggies are used)

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the different colored peppers (2 peppers of any color are really enough). On the other hand, when peppers are in season, I buy smaller peppers in as many colors as I can find. Although I usually use penne or linguine for this recipe, it works well with a variety of pastas.

2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 red sweet pepper, cored, seeded and cut in julienne
1 green/purple sweet pepper, cored, seeded and cut in julienne
1 yellow/orange sweet pepper, cored, seeded and cut in julienne

Heat oil in large wok, add garlic and sauté just until it starts to brown; do not overcook. Add peppers and sauté, stirring frequently 3-4 minutes. Then add:

(OPTIONAL)

2 t  capers
¼ c kalamata olives, seeded and cut in quarters (long way)

Cook 2 more minutes.

MEANWHILE

Cook according to instructions on box and drain:

1 pound penne/fusilli or other pasta

Add well-drained pasta to the wok with peppers and sauté, stirring constantly for one more minute.

Transfer to individual pasta bowls and serve with/without

Parmesan cheese

VARIATION #1: PASTA PRIMAVERA

Substitute any or all of the bell peppers with any mix of the following veggies (don’t use capers and olives with these veggies):

Broccoli flowerettes with 1" – 2” stems (if you want to use more of stem, peel and thinly slice stem on slant to form oval pieces)

Snow peas, snap peas, shelled peas

Green beans

Carrots, cut in julienne

This is good sprinkled with:

Parmesan cheese


VARIATION #2: PASTA WITH SHRIMP

Use only one pepper in sauté; do not use capers. Sauté pepper (with garlic) for 1 minute then add:

24 large (21-25 count) shrimp with tails but without shells, rinsed and drained well.

Sauté over medium high heat, stirring constantly for ~4 minutes until the shrimp are firm and pink and cooked through. Then add:

1 T lemon juice
Tabasco or chili sauce to taste

Add pasta to wok and mix well.

*  April 2013:The pasta portion filling the one serving circle, photo left, weighs 4 ounces. The information on most pasta boxes/bags, including the fusilli I used when I recently made this dish, lists "serving size" as 2 ounces. What constitutes a "serving" of pasta? Writing in How to Cook Everything (page 129, original edition), Mark Bittman provides a good answer: 

"How Much Pasta to Cook
There is no rule about how much pasta to cook.  In Italy where pasta is served as a small first course, a pound will easily feed six to eight people. In my house, and many others  where pasta, bread, and a vegetable is often called dinner, a pound usually serves four, including two adults, one ravenous teenager and one often finicky twelve-year-old....  The kind of sauce and the shape of the pasta also affect how much you will eat; spaghetti with garlic and oil or a simple tomato sauce goes much faster than rigatoni with eggplant and mozzarella."    

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