- Penne with Roasted Peppers, Saffron, and Basil Cream
Makes 4 servings
1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup hot water
2 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 medium-sized red onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, pounded to a paste or finely chopped
A handful of basil leaves, finely sliced
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 pound penne or other dried pasta
Freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Roast the peppers. Cut them into small squares and set aside.
Cover the saffron threads with the hot water. Bring a small pan
of water to a boil, submerge the tomatoes for 15 seconds, and remove
them. Take off the skins, slice the tomatoes in half, gently
squeeze out the juices, and cut the flesh into small squares.
Warm the oil in a wide skillet and add the onion. Cook over
medium-high heat until the onion is just starting to color; then
add the garlic, a few tablespoons water, and half the basil.
Continue cooking until the onions have softened; then add the
peppers, tomatoes, saffron threads and the liquid, and half-and-half;
simmer until the sauce has thickened as much as you like.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt to taste and the
pasta, and cook until it is al dente. Drain and add it to the
sauce. Gently toss to combine and season with plenty of
pepper. Serve garnished with the remaining basil and a light
dusting of cheese.
Makes approximately 2 cups
2 large red or yellow bell peppers with thick flesh
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper
Red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
After roasting peppers, set in a bowl, cover with a plate, and allow it to stand for at least 10 minutes to steam.
Carefully scrape away the charred peel with a knife. Save any of
the syrupy juices that collect in the bottom of the bowl. Cut open
the peppers, scrape out the seeds, cut the flesh into strips, and add them to the bowl with the juices. Toss with the olive oil,
add the garlic, and season lightly with salt, pepper, and vinegar,
to taste. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.