This bell pepper parmesan pasta, which the whole family refers to as “Pepper Pasta,” is one of the longest-standing recipe favorites that I created; it didn't come from further up the family tree.
It dates back to when I was first married in 1993, almost 27 years ago! My new husband took me to Italy for a dreamy 2-week honeymoon. We both fell in love with the country, the people, and of course, the delicious food. As a new bride with very little cooking experience it became a favorite exercise of mine to recreate the foods and dishes we had experienced in Italy. This is one that I pieced together based on a delicious meal in Rome and some digging around in several Italian cookbooks. It has lasted as a family favorite for 26+ years and counting.
One key to successfully making my pepper pasta is to roast the peppers in advance. It keeps prep time to a minimum during the busy hours leading up to dinner, when I’m rushing between bringing one kid to practice and helping another with homework. I like to use a mix of ½ red and ½ yellow peppers, but any combination will work. The peppers roast in the oven for an hour and then need to cool before being peeled, chopped up and added to the sauce. (When my college-aged daughter tried this recipe she was a little impatient and tried to peel the peppers too early--she wants you to know not to make that mistake!) I find it easier to roast them at least one day ahead of time and then store in the refrigerator until I’m ready to make the sauce.
It’s important to make sure you do not overcook the pasta. The sauce works best with al dente noodles, and angel hair cooks so quickly it’s important to keep a vigilant eye on them. Pay attention! I have also used other types of pasta with this recipe and I find all types are delicious, so feel free to substitute another kind of pasta if you wish. Angel hair is the consensus favorite around our house, however, so I recommend trying it at least once.
Everyone who has tasted pepper pasta enjoys the light, flavorful and colorful experience of this dish. Whenever I’ve made it for extended family or friends they always ask for the recipe. I love to serve it with baked or grilled fish and a green salad and find it perfect for both a hot summer night and a cozy winter evening in!
Summery Bell Pepper Parmesan Pasta (Pepper Pasta)
6 Organic Bell Peppers (3 red and 3 yellow)
16 oz. Angel Hair Pasta
¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus 1 Tbsp
¼ c Butter
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated + more for serving
Put the peppers on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 for 1 hour. (May be done ahead of time and stored for up to several days.)
Allow the peppers to cool before you peel and seed them. They only need to be cool enough to handle, though they’re easiest to work with when completely cool.
Chop the peppers into a chunky sauce in a food processor or blender. It should not be totally smooth.
Add the peppers to a medium saucepan with ¼ cup olive oil and the butter. Heat over medium low heat, stirring. Add salt to taste.
While the sauce is heating bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the water and then cook the pasta as directed on the package until it’s al dente. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
Gradually stir the parmesan into the sauce. If your sauce is too thick, add the reserved pasta water. Add more salt if desired.
Combine the pasta with the sauce. Serve immediately with extra parmesan.
I love this!! I didn’t need the reserved pasta water, the sauce came out perfectly. I blended the peppers until they were pretty fine, just a bit chunkier than typical marinara sauce.
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