Colorful foods are better for us, and this lusciously sweet pasta sauce is filled with a splendid spectrum of bell peppers that lend vibrant colors and vitamins to the meal.
Red onion and fresh basil add piquancy and summery flavor. Simple and satisfying, we think this garden-fresh Mediterranean dish will be a summer staple at your house. Here is the recipe:
8 ounces penne pasta, or your favorite shape
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wide strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wide strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wide strips
1 red onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup Merlot or other full-bodied, plummy red wine
1/3 cup fresh basil, rolled lengthwise and cut crosswise into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or to taste
Dash red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly-ground black pepper, optional garnish
Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, optional garnish
Toasted pine nuts, optional garnish
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and stir constantly for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato and wine, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is nearly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in the basil, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
3. When the pasta is done, drain well. Return it to the pot and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
4. To serve, place pasta in shallow bowls, then spoon the bell pepper topping over it. Garnish with pepper, Parmesan, and pine nuts, if using.
Adapted from The Spirited Vegetarian, by Paulette Mitchell (Rodale Press, 2005). Copyright (c) 2005 by Paulette Mitchell. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from The Spirited Vegetarian, by Paulette Mitchell (Rodale Press, 2005).