Pretty to look at and a treat for the tummy, this pasta dish was eye-popping good, flavorful, packed with fresh ingredients and, hyperbole aside, truly delicious.
The pasta, available here, is hand made in Italy. The colorings are all natural, made from tomato or red peppers, beets, spinach or nettle and turmeric. I mean, wow!, what's not to like here?
Compulsive readers (should I have any) will know that I don't normally "do" carbs like pasta. But this particular one changed my mind. Rich with vegetable goodness, high in protein (a 2-ounce serving had 9 grams), and low in fat with zero saturated fat, this is the kind of pasta into which I can stick my fork every once in a while.
Aren't they beautiful?
Italian Pasta in a Spicy Tomato, Portobello, Golden Bell Pepper Sauce
Christine's original recipe
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 golden bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 medium portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice
5 medium organic tomatoes, coarsely diced, juice and pulp reserved
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping teaspoon organic, dried thyme leaves
1 very small, hot dried red pepper (or 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
freshly ground pepper medley
1/3 cup dry white wine
juice of 1/2 of an orange
good olive oil
1 teaspoon Earth Balance (or a few spritzes cooking spray)
Prepare all of your vegetables and keep separate.
If using a dried chile pepper, place it and a pinch of salt in a mortar and grind it with the pestle until it's in small flakes. If you like your chile hot, leave in the seeds. Otherwise remove them. Set aside.
Set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
Drain the water from the pot by pouring the pasta into a colander. When drained, place the pasta back into the pot, drizzle with about 2 teaspoons olive oil, toss gently until coated, cover and place at the back of the stove to keep warm.
In a large skillet over medium heat, place about 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon Earth Balance (or, spray the skillet with cooking spray then add 2 teaspoons olive oil).
When oils are hot add the diced onion and gently saute until the onion is beginning to soften. Do not brown.
Add the thyme, crushing it between your fingers, and stir the pan.
Smell the good smells wafting from the pan.
It gets better.
Add the portobellos and saute until they begin to soften and release their juices.
Add the garlic, stirring until it becomes aromatic. Take care to not let it burn.
Add the bell peppers and saute until they begin to soften.
Up to this point, you should be sauteeing, adding ingredients and sauteeing some more for a total of 10 to 12 minutes. In other words, do this quickly. You don't want your pasta getting gummy on you.
Now, pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices and turn the heat up to medium high. Give a few stirs.
Pour in the white wine, orange juice and red pepper flakes, stir and continue to cook until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes.
Off heat, season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
Divide pasta among warm plates and top with the sauce.
If you're serving your vegan son, do not add grated parmesan.
Serve with a salad of spring greens and walnut pieces drizzled with a tasty vinaigrette.
Copyright © 2005-2007, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved.