Monday, August 3, 2009

Penne with Sweet Pepper and Tomato Sauce

This was a nice pasta dish. The cooking time was long, but the prep time wasn't terrible. Lots of sitting down and playing with Maddie for 15 mins. The sauce turned out this lovely shade of orange. With the flecks of basil it was a very pretty dish. Garison described the flavor as creamy.

Taste: 4
Ease of Preparation: 3
Weight Friendliness: 4 (6 Weight Watchers points if you assume 6 servings per recipe)
Maddie Friendliness: 3 (She ate a little of it)
Cost of Ingredients: 4
Overall: 3.6

Recipe from The Mediterannean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein

2 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1 tbsp)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used 2 very small onions)
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (for information on peeling and seeding tomatoes, see these instructions at The Veggie Table)
1 large red bell pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 to 3 tbsp vegetable broth or water (I used water)
1 pound penne or other short tubular pasta

*Note: The sauce for this recipe takes a long time to cook, so don't start boiling the pasta until you are simmering the tomatoes and peppers. Cook the pasta following the package directions until al dente around halfway through the simmer time for the tomatoes and peppers.

  1. In a large nonstick skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Add the garlic and raise the heat to medium.
  4. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion begins to caramelize (about 5 minutes). [I didn't so much stir constantly as occasionally and it was fine.]
  5. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  6. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  8. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is very soft (about 15-20 minutes).
  9. Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  10. Return the mixture to the skillet.
  11. Stir in the basil.
  12. Reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally, adding the broth or water as needed.
  13. Toss the sauce with the pasta. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve at once.

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