We have two raised garden beds that are fully fenced to keep the critters out. The past two years, we’ve had no problem apart from the time I found ten wild turkeys munching their way through my lettuce. This year, however, the deer are jumping over the fence and enjoying my newly planted vegetables. They have eaten all of my greens, some lettuce, sweet peppers, and most of my beans and cucumbers. We’ve sprayed a noxious liquid that is supposed to deter them, but they keep coming back. Luckily they haven’t touched my tomatoes or hot peppers, but I guess I will have to buy my other vegetables at the market this summer. Luckily we have a few good farmer’s markets around that I can visit to buy great, locally grown produce.
I love visiting markets in late summer when they are overflowing with an abundance of fresh local vegetables. Unfortunately, I often buy too much of everything and end up coming home with lots of ideas on how I’ll use up my market bounty. As well as any other veggie that looks good, I usually always buy brightly colored bell peppers. I use the peppers in many ways, but I love to use them in pasta when peppers are at their best.
This pasta dish begins by frying the peppers and onions in a good quantity of olive oil until they are lightly browned and almost melt into the pan. Next, the pepper mixture is mixed with hot cooked pasta cooked “al dente,” along with some fresh torn basil leaves, chopped Kalamata olives, and lightly toasted pine nuts. I serve this pasta with a sprinkling of Ricotta Salata cheese, but any grated cheese you prefer would work. This pasta dish just screams summer and is so easy to create that I can quickly prepare it and get it on the table anytime I am craving pasta. When it is hot and humid, I usually try to limit my time in the kitchen, and when I cook, I like quick and easy tasty dishes like this one. Best of all, this dish is excellent served hot, warm, or even at room temperature as a pasta salad.
- 1 Cup Pine Nuts
- 3 Pounds Colorful Bell Peppers
- 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Chopped
- 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Red Chili Flakes (Optional)
- 3 Teaspoons Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Pound Rigatoni Pasta
- 1 Cup Torn Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1/2 Cup Pitted, Chopped Kalamata Olives
- 3/4 Cup Shredded Ricotta Salata
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread the pine nuts over a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for about 5 to 7 minutes or until light brown.
- Cool nuts and set aside.
- Cut the peppers in half, removing stem, membranes and seeds.
- Cut the peppers into 1-inch strips lengthwise, then cut the strips in half.
- In a large fry or sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the peppers and onions, and cook, stirring often until the peppers begin to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, chili flakes, sugar, and vinegar, and reduce the heat to medium-low heat.
- Continue to cook until the peppers become very soft, about another 20 minutes.
- While the peppers are cooking, bring a large lightly salted pot of water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta until it is "al dente", then drain.
- Return the pasta to the pot, then add the pepper mixture, along with the torn basil, olives, and pine nuts.
- Serve in individual bowl topped with the cheese.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 696Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 6gSugar: 10gProtein: 14g