Weather: 32 degrees, unbelievably clear and snowless for January
What I’m listening to: Soldier, Ingrid Michaelson
There are those nights. You know the ones. The nights that come at the end of those days that went every which way but the way you planned. Those long days where everything unraveled and came undone. The days when dinner has fallen off your radar completely and is lost in the abyss of stress, frustration, and tasks left untouched.
Blast you, dinner. Why are you another thing that needs my attention tonight? I can’t even deal with you.
But then, you turn on some music. You put a pot of salted water to boil. You hear the sound of butter melting in a skillet, popping and sizzling as it meets up with the extra virgin olive oil. Soon the undeniable smell of garlic and onions fills you up and wafts through the house.
I can do this. I can conquer dinner tonight.
And it might even be quick and painless and therapeutic. Because, after all, a steaming bowl of noodles swimming in a spicy homemade sauce is always a little bit of therapy, isn’t it?
Yes, I believe it is.
Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
A spicy roasted red pepper pasta sauce that comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta. Topped with loads of fresh basil and shaved parmesan. To make it even more hearty and flavorful, add browned Italian sausage. Adapted from [Food Network|http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/quick-and-easy-roasted-red-pepper-pasta.html].
Yields: 4-6 servings
- 1 pound of pasta (like penne, farfalle, rigatoni, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste; I like this spicy)
- 1 (16 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup half and half cream
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (rolled and sliced into ribbons)
- 1/2 cup parmesan shavings
Set a large pot of well-salted water to boil over high heat. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions.
In the meantime, heat the oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic, onions, and red pepper flakes together until the onions are translucent. Add the roasted red peppers to the pan and cook until heated through. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender along with the chicken broth, salt, and pepper to taste. Whirl until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan and heat through. Stir in the half and half. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes as needed. Stir in half of the fresh basil, reserving the other half for topping each dish.
Drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with the roasted red pepper sauce. Serve the pasta promptly topped with more fresh basil and a generous amount of parmesan shavings (this dish is best with copious amounts of both fresh basil and parmesan).