Monday, February 23, 2015

Shells with Peppers

A super simple Italian dish for Meatless Monday: pasta shells in a hearty sauce of peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Flavored with some basil and Parmesan cheese. All that there is to it and chock full of delicious veggies.

Pasta Shells with Peppers
(serves 4-5)

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled
1 pound bell peppers (whatever color you like), about 3 medium peppers
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
5 sprigs fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Core the peppers and then slice lengthwise. Cut the onion in half, then slice. Pick the leaves off the basil sprigs. Rip or chop the leaves coarsely. Start a large pot of boiling salted water for the pasta.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions until golden and no longer crunchy, but not browned. Add the peppers and raise the heat to high. Sauté until the peppers are limp. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, reduce to low, and continue cooking while you cook the pasta.

By now your pasta water should be boiling. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and dump into the skillet. Stir to combine - a large spoon and tongs work better than just a spoon. Then stir in ½ cup of the cheese. Stir gently. Taste for salt; add more if needed. Serve immediately with remaining cheese as garnish.

Adapted from Food alla Florentine by Naomi Barry & Beppe Bellini, Doubleday & Company, 1972.

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