Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Linguine with Red Bell Peppers and Kalamata Olives ushers in pasta-eating season

Generally speaking, I never eat pasta in summer. 
   I like to dig into a beautiful plate of noodles in the fall and winter months.
   I have happily ushered in fall pasta-eating with Linguine with Red Bell Peppers and Kalamata Olives (click for the recipe), a simple and satisfying dish from Bon Appetit magazine.
   Red bell peppers are in season in early fall, so it was a great time to give this dish a whirl.
   The secret ingredient of the dish is grated Parmesan cheese, which is added to the cooked pasta and vegetables. The cheese melts, and, aided by some water, creates a lovely coating on each strand of linguine.
   The recipe calls for pitted Kalamata olives. You can buy these in the olive and pickle section of the supermarket – you don’t need to take out the pits yourself. You do need to quarter them, however.
   The recipe is very easy to make.
   Linguine (I used Catelli Smart) is boiled until tender, then drained, with one cup of the cooking liquid being reserved. (I turn off the heat, take the pasta pot off the burner, and use a soup ladle to dish out water into a glass measuring cup. Then I drain the rest of the water out of the pasta.)
   Chopped red bell peppers, Kalamata olives, minced fresh garlic and crushed red pepper are sauted in a skillet. The cooked pasta, ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid, fresh basil, grated Parmesan cheese and white balsamic vinegar are added to the vegetables in the skillet and the mixture tossed until the sauce coats the pasta.
   The recipe says to transfer the pasta to a bowl for serving, but we simply left it in the skillet. More fresh basil is sprinkled on top, and additional grated cheese can be sprinkled on each serving.

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