Cooking, it soothes my soul

There aren’t many things in life that I can really just zen out an enjoy.  Reading is one of them, gaming is yet another of them.  Cooking however is the main one.  I could cook all day – and I have!  Two years ago I tackled Thanksgiving Dinner, no turkey – but I did make a giant beast of a ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, honeyed carrots, dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and that’s all my now hungry brain can remember.  It was an entire days worth of work, but it was one of the best cooking memories I have!

This past week it was ridiculously hot in New York, especially at my house where we live in the dark ages of no Air Conditioning and no Central Air. I have a small tower fan and two windows, and a very energy usage conscious mother.  Turning on a TV in my room makes it feel like a Sauna, so I can tell you it was not a fun place to be at 90 degrees.  This did give me the opportunity to spend lots of time downstairs however to cook! Currently my oven is out of commission due to a Natural Gas Leak as well as a since fixed rodent issue with the insulation between the range and the oven.  As in, they took it all away.  Nice little pests we have.  it would make sense I’ve never wanted to make cookies as much as I have since pretty much the second they shut the gas to my oven off.

But let’s talk of happier things! And Peppers! This recipe is good Hot or Cold in my opinion, uses a lot of salt though so prepare your taste buds and your body for a little water retention.  Or you can experiment with different spices to add flavor boosts as you will.  I found this recipe over at the Pioneer Woman and had to adjust it to fit what I had in my pantry and fridge.  The substitutes I used worked perfectly though! It is important to know I doubled this recipe so I’d have lunch this week at work!

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Pasta

  • 1 Jar Roasted Red Bell Peppers (whole)
  • 2 Tablespoons Pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced or 2 small spoonfuls of minced garlic from Jar
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (I use half and half)
  • Flat Leaf Parsley, Finely Minced (optional)
  • Fresh Parmesan, Shaved Or Grated (I don’t know how anybody could view cheese as optional ever)
  • 1/2 pound (to 1 Pound) Pasta: Piccolini Mini Pipe from Barilla (made/flavored with Squash and Carrot)
**it’s also important throughout this recipe to have a snack next to you so you don’t end up eating all the toasted pine nuts/walnuts while you’re doing everything else**Begin by toasting the walnuts over low heat, gently move the pan back and forth over the flame every so often and make sure not to burn them. Nobody likes burned anything, least of all a nut. Actually no, Burned popcorn is much worse.  I warn you, toasted walnuts are addictive, taste test at your own risk.

Time to break out the Blenders! To the right are the yummy and rinsed Roasted red peppers from a jar – I highly recommend checking out actual roasted Red peppers (you need about three for this recipe), I just don’t have access to a grill yet this year and thus no way of roasting them myself. You’re going to want to do this in batches if you’re doubling the recipe like I did.  Please make sure the top is on securely.  It’s a mess if you don’t.  Big mess. Mess of epic proportions.  Just do it. Puree setting and pulse + pulse + pulse!

Should look like this by the end.
 Look at that beautiful red coloring!
Add the Olive oil to the pan and over medium low add the onions and garlic and combine and saute until softened.  If you’re multi-tasking like I was I suggest putting the burner on low so they don’t begin to actually burn or darken, you just want them to be soft and delicious!Boil the water in a good sized pot – always salt it!  Add pasta when the water reaches a nice rolling boil, and cook per directions! In this case 6 minutes.
 Now, add that beautiful pepper puree to the softened onions and garlic and combine.  Should look pretty similar to regular tomato sauce at this point. Add a generous amount of salt at this point.
Add the Heavy cream or half and half at this point and combine well.  Turn off the heat!
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, combine well.  Just stir and fold and do whatever you can to get that sauce all over that pasta – the nice thing about shells and mini pipes in this case is they cup the sauce and just add to the yummy factor.
Is your stomach growling yet? Spoon into a bowl, top with some Parsley and shaved or grated Parmesan cheese and you are ready to eat!
Chow down.  You won’t regret it.
Don’t forget to recycle your pasta box! ❤ nobody likes a trashy person!
Thus concludes this recipe! If you’d like a step by step list without pictures I can happily add that later.
Happy cooking all and Enjoy the week!

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