It’s been a few weeks now since my obsession with jarred roasted red peppers began. I’ve been finding ways to include them in everything, from soup to salsa to this pasta sauce. I like to add freshly roasted sweet peppers to the jarred variety to punch up the pepper flavour, but there’s something so piquantly pleasant about the bright red strips and the brine they’ve been embalmed in . Oddly enough, I like to eat food that’s even spicier than my normal year round preference in the summertime so I’m always sure to add lots of my beloved dried chilies to the final product. Parmigiano-Reggiano is without a doubt the best choice for this pasta, the older the better. If you must substitute with another cheese I would opt for something entirely opposite of Reggiano such as fresh chèvre or Macedonian feta, crumbled.
bow ties with roasted red pepper sauce:
Enough bow tie pasta for 2 or 3 people
2 sweet peppers, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 Tbsp. olive oil + more for drizzling
1 small onion, diced
1 jar of roasted red peppers, cut into thin strips + 1/3 cup of liquid from the jar
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, cut in a very fine chiffonnade
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
Generous pile of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Dried red chilies
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the sweet pepper strips in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the peppers for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently towards the end. You want the peppers to be softened and just beginning to darken in spots.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the onion, jarred roasted peppers, the freshly roasted sweet peppers, and plum tomatoes. Add salt to taste and allow to cook for 10 minutes or so, or until the contents have become soft.
3. Add the vegetable stock and liquid from the jarred peppers and continue to cook down until the liquids have begun to thicken. Using a hand blender, carefully blitz the sauce in a few short bursts – you want the sauce to still have a somewhat coarse texture (if you don’t have a hand blender put a few ladlefuls of the sauce in a regular blender or food processor and mix back in afterwards).
4. Turn the heat down to low and prepare the bow tie pasta according to package directions. Top with a generous amount of roasted red pepper sauce, grated cheese, and, my favourite, dried chilies.
Aw! Love! When we moved last month Ian found all of our mix CDs from a decade ago; these CDs are so important because at the time I lived in London, Ontario and he lived in Olympia, Washington. Receiving one of these in the mail, all the tracks hand-written and oftentimes with a sweet love note tucked into the case as a surprise when you opened it for the first time, was so much bigger than a letter in some ways because it felt like you could experience the other person’s reality just a little bit easier and more tangibly.
Stars – Elevator Love Letter