Roasted Red Pepper Penne.

 I promise that I am showing you the 4th post (in a row) full of red food with good reason.

As a self-proclaimed tomato sauce hater, I’ve just about had enough. Enough tomatoes, enough sauce, enough chili… enough enough enough. I have two giant tubs of chili frozen in my freezer, and at this rate I’m hoping they will stay edible for two full years. They truly are giant and I sort of just want to chuck them in the trash. I seriously cannot imagine putting one more bowl of chili beneath my chin, no matter how good it tastes. Lord help me.

 

But at any rate, I did manage to make this pasta dish last week for dinner that I’ve been dying to share with you, red or not. It’s simple and in my mind – perfect for a Monday when you really just wish it was Friday.

You won’t find me eating raw peppers anytime soon, but I do really love them roasted on top of things like pizza and pasta. So I ended up roasting my own, which is totally doable. If I can do it, you certainly can too. Trust me. I am not a chef by any means… I just play one on this blog.

 

We have especially been loving roasted reds lately. It all started when my husband decided he was in a sandwich phase – but not just any sandwich phase – triple the meat (think turkey + ham + roast beef), three different kinds of jarred peppers, spicy mustard and two kinds of cheese. Similar to his diet Mountain Dew, cheddar and peanut butter cracker, and chocolate-chip-cookie-over-the-sink phases. He was going through an entire jar of roasted red peppers per sandwich, being that most jars are complete rip offs and only contain one whole pepper twirled together in a manipulative way to make you believe it’s really two or three. One pepper! Ha. What a joke.

 

And I got in on this too when I started slicing squares of fontina and topping them with the peppers then laying both on buttered toast. I’ve been all over that and was buying 4-5 jars of roasted peppers at time which was nearing the brink of ridiculousness.

All you need to do is throw the peppers under your broiler, char them ’til black, then stuff them in a ziplock bag and let them do their thing. It’s really not a big deal, and yes… I’ve tried that whole roasting-on-my-gas-burner thing and it just skeeves me out. I’m not too skilled when it comes to things in the kitchen like chopping with a scary knife and remembering to turn off the oven, so I didn’t find standing over an open flame very desirable. Um, plus… have you seen my hair? Someone likes hairspray.

I love this dish for multiple reasons, one of them being that it is not tomato based (duh) and the second being that the sauce leaves just a light coating on the pasta. I do not like my pasta swimming in sauce, unless we’re talking alfredo… the language of love. Give me cheese or give me death. My suggestion would be if you do like tons upon tons of sauce, double the sauce recipe to the same amount of pasta. That’s a lot of garlic and delicious spice. Maybe just don’t make out with anyone right after eating it? Or do. Whatever. Maybe you like that sort of thing.

Roasted Red Pepper Penne

serves 4

2 large red peppers

3 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

4-5 basil leaves, torn

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

4-5 tablespoons olive oil (I used a garlic-infused from Fustinis)

2 cups of dry whole wheat penne

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 thin sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt & pepper for seasoning chicken

To roast peppers: remove core and seeds from peppers and slice into pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and preheat the broiler in your oven. Place under the broiler skin-side up until skins are completely charred and black – this took about 10 minutes for me but will depend on your oven. Just check every 2 minutes or so. Immediately remove peppers from oven and using kitchen tongs, quickly place them in a ziplock bag then seal it. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.

While peppers are “steaming” in the bag, pat the chicken breasts completely dry with a pepper towel, then season them with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brown chicken on both sides until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. {I made the chicken the same as this recipe.} Set chicken aside to cool, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet with onions and a sprinkle of salt. Saute over medium-low heat until onions soften and caramelized. Cut chicken into pieces.

Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions. Remove peppers from the bag and peel the skin off to discard. It’s okay if a little bit of char remains as it adds to the flavor. Add peppers, garlic, parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper to a food processor. Blend until pureed, then stream in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil so mixture comes together.

In a large bowl, combine penne with chicken and onions. Add red pepper sauce and toss thoroughly to coat as it is very thick. Serve with additional parmesan cheese and a few basil leaves.

I need a cookie after all of this.