Who doesn’t love pasta? I love pasta for it’s shape – tubular, spirals, angel hair, ridged, ruffled, grooved, twisted, stuffed, twirled, curled, elbow shaped, little spindles, diagonally cut, bronze cut, bow-ties, corkscrews, wagonwheels, dumpling like, pea pod shaped, conch shells, stamped coins, cock’s comb shaped, flat sheets, basket shaped, half moon shaped, star shaped, purse shaped and lots more.
Specialty pastas have added ingredients, such as vegetable colors and flavors, herbs and other seasonings. Spinach – green color, Carrots – orange color, beets or tomatoes – red color, black beans – brown color and squid ink – black color. Herbs and seasonings include basil, rosemary, black pepper, garlic, lemon peel and chilli..
It’s interesting to know that a Pugliese blend pasta named ORECCHIETTE MARITATE literally means ‘married’ (the round orecchiette and the long casarecci consummate their ‘marriage’ when cooked together)
My knowledge about Pasta was limited to cray fish pasta cooked in tomato sauce in Swensen’s, Singapore. Until, I saw the display of different types of pasta in a food shop in Ascona, Lugano. I stood enthralled by the available variety of Italian staple. Since then, Pasta is one of the regulars in my list.
I was curious to taste this version of pasta when I found it in the Whole Foods Market. As a healthy option, I tried this instead of the regular durum wheat semolina with home made roasted red pepper pesto. The red pepper pesto adds color and texture to this flavorful dish.
2 cups cooked brown rice spaghetti (I used Lundberg Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti)
1 1/2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 tablespoons Tomato paste or any pasta sauce ( I used homemade tomato paste)
1 teaspoon Paparika or 1/4 teaspoon Red chilli powder
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (grated) or any cheese of your choice *If vegan, use soy cheese.
Salt to taste
Parsley for garnish (I used the curly parsley)
2 roasted medium sized Red Bell Peppers ( I prefer roasting the bell peppers at home. You may roast your own or use canned/ bottled roasted red peppers)
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
6 toasted Almonds/ Pine nuts /Peanuts ( I used peanuts)
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Put all the above mentioned ingredients in a food processor and grind to a paste. The pesto is ready.
* To cook pasta
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon oil to water if desired.
- Add pasta to boiling water and begin timing for 10 minutes until tenderness is reached. Stir gently for 3 to 5 seconds. Maintain a boil while cooking.
- After 10 minutes, drain pasta then rinse with cold water. For best results, rid pasta of surface moisture.
* To roast peppers
- Turn your grill on to 400 degree F. Place the bell peppers on the grill an inch apart.
- Char grill the peppers for about 10 minutes turning over the pepper a couple of times. Turn off the grill and place the roasted peppers inside of plastic resealable or papaer bag.
- Close the bag and wait for about 15 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag. Hold the stem and peel away the charred skin. Pull out the seeds and innards, then cut up each pepper for the pesto.
Heat Olive oil in a skillet. Spoon in the tomato paste and cook for 5 mins. Stir in the paparika and the pepper pesto. Add the cooked spaghetti and mixing well so the sauce evenly covers the pasta. Turn off heat. Sprinkle grated cheese and mix one last time. The cheese will melt and coat the spaghetti. Garnish with fresh parsley. Remove the pasta onto a serving dish and serve warm.