Zesty Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni – Celebrate the joys of summer with this naturally sweet and savory and unbelievably delicious warm weather pasta dish!
As I’m sitting down to write this at my patio table on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I can’t believe my 3rd grader is heading into his last week of school.
His week starts out with a trip to retrieve his things from school that were left when the pandemic forced a complete shutdown. It will be the first time he’s set foot on school property since March. His teacher also has a bunch of remote meetings planned for the week, including a virtual class party. It’s a weird end to the school year, to say the least.
Like every other student in America, really in the world, it’s been a weird 3rd semester of makeshift online learning. I say makeshift, but my son’s school district did an excellent job making learning happen under unprecedented circumstances.
Along with the end of school, the county I live in has finally begun to loosen some of its quarantine restrictions. We’re moving from “red” to “yellow!” Being in a Philadelphia suburb, a lot of people got COVID and a lot of people died. I’m a PCU nurse. The last few months have been the hardest by far out of the 10+ years I’ve been in the medical profession. I’m just beginning to process it all.
But now the sun is shining. I can hear birds chirping in the nearby trees, the virus count is tapering, and the sound of laughing children has returned to my neighborhood. Although I’m going to choose to keep my family pretty close to home this summer, while carefully widening our social circles, being able to relax just a little is such a reprieve. I don’t know what next fall and winter will hold, but I’m so thankful for now.
With keeping it close to home, I know I’m going to be taking the time to cook-up lots of delicious summer dinners. I’ve made one of my personal favorites a couple of times, this recipe for Zesty Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni.
This recipe is a big hit with the whole family. Just about everyone loves pasta, and the sauce is naturally sweet and savory. I added crushed hot pepper flakes to the dish which gives it an amazing zesty heat, but the hot peppers are totally optional.
Both times I recently made this I had to cut my 3-year-old off. He wanted seconds and thirds. I guess he recognizes a good thing when he tastes it. Like my little guy, I’m planning on savoring this pasta and this summer, because it’s just that good!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 C sweet onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes*
- 1 16 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 3/4 C vegetable broth
- 12 oz package rigatoni noodles
- 1/3 C heavy cream
- 12 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- shaved parmesan
- Cook the onions in the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until softened, for about 5 minutes. Next add the minced garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook an additional minute. Last, add the drained roasted red peppers and cook until hot, for about 3 minutes.
- Transfers the hot peppers and onions to a food processor, blender, or hand blender cup. Purée until smooth.
- Pour the mixture back into the skillet and set aside while you get the pasta started.
- Next, begin cooking a 12 oz package of rigatoni per the al dente cooking instructions. Add 2 Tbsp of salt to the water once it has started boiling.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the vegetable broth to the skillet with the pepper purée and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low and mix in the heavy cream. Continue to heat until the first bubble appears and then remove from the heat. Be careful not to allow the sauce to simmer or boil as this may cause the cream to curdle.
- Around the time the sauce is finished, the pasta will likely be finished, too. Drain the pasta and then added it to the skillet. Mix to evenly coat.
- To serve, cut basil into ribbons to sprinkle on top. Do this by rolling the basil leaves and then slicing them. Also garnish with freshly shaved parmesan. Serve hot.
*Add more or less crushed red pepper flakes according to your spice preference. This recipe as is, has mild to moderate heat.