Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fusilli with Roasted Red Pepper Cream

I'm taking advantage of my local farmers markets abundance of fresh red peppers.  Similar to my 'corn project', but not nearly as time consuming or messy.
Char the red peppers on all sides, then place them in a ziploc bag and seal for 15 minutes.  Let them cool enough to handle, and the charred outer skins will peel right off.
It's okay if little bits of the charred skin remain on the peeled peppers.
Now you remove the top center core along with all the seeds and veins.
Working in batches and 2 dozen red peppers later, I had 4 vacuumed sealed bags to freeze as well as several peppers to use for dinner.
There are so many great pasta recipes in this cookbook by Janet Fletcher that highlight seasonal vegetables.  Having everything else on hand, now that the peppers are done, this is what's for dinner tonight. 

Fusilli with Roasted Red Pepper Cream

1 Tb olive oil 
3 oz pancetta, minced 
2/3 cup minced yellow onion 
2 large cloves garlic, minced 
2 large, heavy red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
1 C chicken stock 
¼ C heavy cream 
Salt and cayenne pepper 
1 pound dried fusilli 
1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
2 Tb minced parsley
Heat olive oil and pancetta in a 12" skillet over moderately low heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta begins to crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add onion and saute until softened, about 10 minutes.  
Add garlic and saute 1 minute. 
Add bell pepper, stock and cream and bring to a simmer.  
Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.  
Puree sauce in a food processor until almost completely smooth.  
Return to skillet and season with salt and cayenne to taste.  
Just before pasta is ready, reheat gently.  
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.  
Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  
Transfer pasta to a large bowl.  
Add sauce and toss to coat.  
Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and toss again, adding as much of the reserved water as needed to help the sauce coat the noodles nicely.  Serve immediately, topping each serving with some of the remaining 1/2  cup Parmesan and the parsley.  Serves 4. 
Notes:  Hold back a little when saucing the pasta to make sure you need it all.  This sauce had great body and depth of flavor.  I'm thinking sauteed portabella mushrooms would be great in this dish.

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