I could eat pasta every day. And I actually did, until I lived with my parents, where following a Mediterranean Diet was the rule. They still make pasta every day, my father cannot bear a single day without it (but I want to reassure you they’re not overweight or unhealthy, I think it depends on how much you eat and what you eat with it. Everything in moderation). After all, there are so many different shapes, sizes, and sauces that you can never be bored of it. With Loreto, though, we try to differentiate the meals so to have variety and balance, and pasta is on our menu usually one/two times a week. Our weekly menu goes something like this: pasta; fish; meat; ethnic; vegetarian; pasta/pizza; vegetarian/vegan. And dessert as much as we can 😉 .
As for me, pasta is pure love, and if/when I get to cook, it is a “safe” dish to make, both comforting and highly satisfying.
In our house I am still the “Queen of Pasta”. 🙂
I’m not fond of all shapes of pasta and all kinds of sauces, though. Meat sauces are a no no for me, they were not on my list even in times when I still ate a little bit of meat. Simple, fresh, tomato sauces; flavorful and uncomplicated oil, garlic and chili pepper; delectable and nourishing pesto sauces with vegetables, are on my favorite list.
The pasta I made today is a delicious, creamy, rosé sauce with a blend of roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes: I call this dish, Farfalle with sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper cream sauce.
Few ingredients make for a big success: beautiful organic red peppers, roasted in the oven; sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil; whipping cream, some garlic, chili peppers and basil. One of my “things” is to match what kind of sauce best suits a certain kind of pasta. Pairing the correct pasta shape can make a big difference in the overall satisfaction when eating pasta.
Roasting the peppers in the oven is something I learned from my father. You need to place the peppers on the top rack in the oven, and a rimmed baking sheet filled halfway with water underneath them. That helps to keep the peppers moist while catching the dripping juices. You can broil the peppers on low for few minutes, checking on them constantly and turning them as they turn black on one side. In order to remove the skin, cooling them in a sealed plastic bag (or wrapping them in plastic) helps loosen the skin from the flesh of the peppers. You can afterwards discard the stem, core and seeds, and chop them. Voilà.
The marriage between roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes is a match made in heaven. Blended in a cream sauce, they are flavorsome and oh so tasty you are going to lick the plate or use some bread to collect the last drippings of it (we call it scarpetta).
I opted for farfalle (bowtie) pasta because I find farfalle to be great with intense fragrances and flavors, its ribbon-like pleats perfect for the creamy sauces to pool in.
When you think there’s nothing in the fridge, or feel you don’t have much time or energy to cook a meal for your family, just think of making a pasta dish. Quick, easy, always good, and if done properly, the best “fast food” you’ll ever have.
This plate of Farfalle with sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper cream sauce was absolutely delicious: creamy, packed with intense flavors and that nice little crunch from the al dente pasta. Not to mention that it was beautiful to look at also.
Ending the post, my hommage to David Bowie and Freddy Mercury, in “Under Pressure”. May you two have fun together, up there.Print
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
- 1 cup whipping cream
- few leaves of fresh basil
- 350/400 g farfalle (bow ties) pasta
Roasting the peppers:
- Wash the peppers and place them whole in the oven on the top shelf. Place a rimmed baking sheet filled 1/2 with water underneath them. That helps to keep them moist while catching the juices dripping from the roasting peppers. Broil them on low for few minutes, checking on them constantly and turning them as they turn black on one side. To remove the skin, cooling them in a sealed plastic bag helps loosen the skin from the flesh of the peppers. Discard the core, stem and seeds. Chop them roughly. Set aside.
Making the cream sauce:
- In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook garlic until slightly golden, about 1 minute.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and chili flakes.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in cream, simmer until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in basil.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the time indicated on the package.
- Drain, but keep some of the water in case you need to lighten the sauce if it gets too thick.
- Place the pasta in the saucepan with the sauce and toss to coat well.
- Plate and add fresh basil, if wanted.
If the cream sauce gets too thick, add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.