Every family has the recipe—the reliable dish that it can count on being served at least once a week and that it will never grow tired of, no matter how many times it’s made. For some, it’s spaghetti—for others, it’s Domino’s pizza. In my household, it’s my mom’s special pepper pasta. For as long as I remember, my mom’s pepper pasta was a staple. In fact, we’ve been eating it for so long that I remember my taste changing from wanting absolutely nothing to do with the sautéed peppers to enjoying my plate being filled with them. Although it’s impossible to master my mom’s special touch, I’m thrilled to share this hearty, healthy pasta recipe with you all, along with a taste of my childhood.
DISH: Pepper Pasta
8 oz. (4 servings) farfalle pasta
3 bell peppers (I like to do a range of colors, but pick your favorite!)
2–3 garlic cloves
1 small yellow onion or ½ large yellow onion
⅓–½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Squeeze of lemon juice
1–2 tablespoons of butter
- Cut all three peppers into 1 c.m.–thick strips, keeping the length of the pepper. Move the peppers aside. Slice the onion into pieces of the same size. Be sure to separate the onion layers to reduce cooking time. Then, mince the garlic and set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt the pasta water to your taste.
- Put a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. After about one minute, add one to two tablespoons of olive oil, and allow the oil to heat up for about a minute.
- Add the cut peppers to the pan, stirring constantly at first. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Once peppers have softened, allow to cook on one side for a few minutes until charred (be watchful so they don’t burn). Stir and repeat this process until the peppers are charred to your liking. Place peppers in a heat-proof bowl off to the side.
- Add pasta to the boiling water, allowing it to cook in accordance with the package directions, which is usually about eight to 12 minutes.
- Using the same pan, add an additional one to two tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of the pan and add the onion. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the onion until translucent. If the pan becomes too hot, lower the heat to allow onions to cook through, rather than browning only the outside. Once the onion is translucent, lower the heat to medium before adding the garlic (be careful because garlic can burn easily).
- Remove pasta from the water once cooked through, and drain. Add the butter to enhance flavor and prevent sticking. Season with salt.
- If you’re using a gas stove, turn the heat of the stove down to low—if you’re using an electric stove, turn it off. Add the peppers back, along with the pasta. Stir to incorporate evenly. Add oregano and garlic powder as well as salt and pepper to taste. You can add the lemon juice at this point, if you’d like.
- Add feta cheese and stir. (It shouldn’t melt completely, but its softened state makes the dish have a more saucey texture.)
- Serve immediately, and finish with more feta and lemon if you’d like. Bon appetit!
Photos Courtesy of Lauren Alcock / Heights Staff
Graphics Courtesy of Liz Schwab / Heights Editor