Friday, December 9, 2011

Pepper pasta ala Vincenzino

A colorful spin on pasta

Vincenzo plopped the yellow pepper on the counter, handed me a knife and commanded in his wonderful Italian accent: "Julienne!"

Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds  and pulp

I didn't know what we were cooking but I got to work on chopping the peppers.  It turns out we would saute them in oil, add fresh oregano and toss into a bowl of pasta. 

Aren't these pretty?

This is another amazingly easy dish that is pleasing to the eye and the palate.  Vincenzo kept the dish simple using only the peppers and oregano.  I added cherry tomatoes for a little bit more color and, as you may have noticed, I love tomatoes!

Colorful dish

Saute the peppers first - they take longer to cook

Next add the tomatoes and (optional) lemon

Everyone in the pool!

This is great with any pasta - last night I used linguini

I had some pesto in the fridge and added that along with some parmesan.  You can use your imagination and see what's in the pantry if you want to put your own spin on it.  But the dish is probably best in its purest form - with just the peppers and oregano.

Et viola!


1 pepper - I like yellow - sometimes I use 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red - it's up to you!
1 tspn extra virgin olive oil
1 tspn fresh oregano (dried oregano works, too)
Optional pesto to taste - around 1 tpsn
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
Parmesan to taste
Salt & pepper to taste


Slice the pepper in half, remove seeds and white pulp
Slice the halves into a julienne - I cut mine on the thick side about 1/8" - 1/4"
Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat
Add the oil (don't get carried away with the oil - you don't want the peppers greasy)
Add the peppers - stirring occasionally until they soften
Cook the peppers until they soften - they take longer to cook than the tomatoes - about 3 minutes
Add the tomatoes (optional)
Cook peppers and tomatoes until they develope a brown char stirring every 30 seconds or so
Squeeze half the lemon over mixture; I toss in the lemon, too
Add the oregano (if you're using pesto you can skip oregano)

Meanwhile . . .

Cook the pasta of your choice - don't forget to add plenty of salt to the water
My linguini took 10 minutes to cook - I heated my skillet during the first five minutes
At five minutes I started the peppers
You can leave the pasta in the water while you finish cooking the peppers and tomatoes
Drain thoroughly and add pesto and parmesan to taste
You shouldn't need much salt if you salted the pasta water adequately
Add the pasta to the skillet with the peppers and tomatoes
Mix well and heat everything together so the flavors meld
Add additional parmesan if desired
Garnish your plate with a thin slice or two of lemon

Serve & enjoy!

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