Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fusilli with Red Pepper Sauce

It has been a while since I've blogged about a new recipe! And it's not that I haven't been making new things. I have. I've just been short on time. And brain cells.

I have to say: this is one of the best dishes I've made in a long time. Of course, I wish I was inventive enough to have come up with this on my own. But, alas, I still have no idea how to create and combine flavors. But whoever created this did a wonderful job, especially considering I used 2 red peppers instead of 3 and half a red onion instead of a whole. All the same, wonderful flavor. And the fresh basil is the perfect finishing touch!

This recipe doesn't give a prep/cook time estimate, but I'll tell you it took me an hour and a half. That's because I was moving slowly, doing dishes as I went, etc. I also used some time to brown a pound and a half of meat, some of which I added to this dish. (The recipe listed is vegetarian.) If you are a skilled dicer--or if you have a handy dandy food chopper--you might get it all done quicker. I didn't even wait a full 10 minutes for the sauce to cool before blending. I waited about 5, transferred it to a bowl, and used my second favorite hand-held kitchen tool, my immersion blender. LOVE that thing!

So, in the end, if you aren't in a hurry, take the time to try this. I'm sure you can substitute vegetable broth for the wine if you'd prefer.

Rigatoni with Red Pepper Sauce

Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound rigatoni
1 large red onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and minced
3 red bell peppers, trimmed, seeded, ribs removed, diced
1⁄4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 cups low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh basil leaves

Fill the stockpot 3⁄4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain in the colander.

Set the fry pan over medium heat. When hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sweat the onions, garlic, and peppers until onions are translucent, not brown, and peppers are soft.

Stir in the wine, 1 teaspoon salt, the paprika, and the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the yogurt and cream cheese to the sauce, and allow to cook until just simmering, but not boiling. Take off the heat and cool for about 10 minutes, or long enough to safely transfer the sauce to the blender without risk of being burned by hot liquids. Blend until smooth and lump-free.

Return pasta to stockpot and mix in sauce until pasta is well coated, or transfer pasta to individual plates and spoon sauce on top. Add freshly grated Parmesan, basil, and pepper, as preferred.

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