Life is so dull and dreary nowadays with the onslaught of the rainy night season. The sky always seem to turn pitch black just before work ends leading to huge traffic jams on the roads. To cheer us up, I recently made my traffic light pasta with peppers. It's actually pasta peperonata from Jamie Oliver's cookbook, Jamie's Dinners but the colors of the yellow and red peppers with a sprinkling of green parsley reminds me of traffic lights!
Jamie Oliver's recipes are all extremely simple to make and yummy to the last pasta tube. I omitted the cream and mascarpone cheese since I did not have any available. I prefer the taste of balsamic vinegar so I used that which had evaporated quite a bit hence you don't see it in the picture. To warm the pasta bowls, I usually hold them about 2 inches above the boiling pasta pot for a short while. Don't put them over the pot and leave it as the water will overboil messing up your cooker hob.
Pasta Peperonata (Serves 4)
2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
2 yellow peppers, deseeded and sliced
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
2 handfuls of fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped, stalks reserved
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 handfuls of grated parmesan cheese
optional: 2 heaped tablespoons mascarporne cheese or creme fraiche
455g rigatoni, penne or spaghetti
Put all the peppers in a large frying pan over a medium heat with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place a lid on, and cook slowly for 15 minutes until softened. Don't rush this too much, as cooking the peppers slowly like this really helps to bring out the flavour. Add the onion and cook for a further 20 minutes. Then add the garlic and parsley stalks and toss around, keeping everything moving in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes more. Have a little taste, and season with a bit more salt and pepper. Add the vinegar - it will sizzle away, so give everything a good toss. Then add one handful of the grated parmesan and the mascarpone or creme fraiche if you are using it and turn the heat down to minimum while you cook the pasta.
Meanwhile put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. When cooked, drain in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water. Put the peppers, pasta and parsely leaves into a large warmed bowl. Give them a good toss together, then add a little pasta cooking water and few lugs of extra virgin olive oil to coat the pasta nicely. Serve straight away, sprinkled with the rest of the Parmesan.