Six simple ingredients come together to make a quick, easy, and delicious dinner!
It wasn’t until I visited Italy earlier this year that I developed a love for pasta.
What the hell, right? What’s not to love?
Luscious sauces? Check.
Quick, easy, and cheap? Check.
I think the problem I had with pasta was the way it is served in restaurants around these here parts (my hometown of Boring, Oregon). Most of my experiences with pasta were $15 plates of bland noodles topped with a slop of underwhelming sauce.
Now, I know better. I make my own concoctions at home, like this creamy roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato bucatini!
It’s an incredibly basic dinner made from things you likely already have lying around. I nearly always have a few half-empty jars of roasted red pepper and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes hanging out in the fridge, so in 15 minutes I can have dinner on the table.
If you don’t have roasted red peppers, just double the amount of sun-dried tomatoes. If you don’t have sun-dried tomatoes, replace them with roasted red peppers. If you’ve got a spare garlic clove, toss that in there, too.
The sauce is whipped up in a food processor. I use my mini food processor:
Then the sauce is added to a pan with some butter and half and half, then tossed all together with al dente bucatini and grated parmesan cheese.
If you’re not familiar with bucatini, it’s basically a spaghetti noodle that is thicker and hollow in the center. It’s my very favorite noodle because it slurps up a ton of sauce. My local Fred Meyer/Kroger store carries it, but you can also grab it on Amazon if needed:
Here’s an important part in the pasta-making process: finish the pasta in the pan!
We’ve all had plates of spaghetti that had a moat of tomato-y water around the rim of the plate, right? That’s what happens when you place straight-out-of-the-pot noodles on a plate and top it with a ladle of sauce.
Finishing the noodles in the pan allow the sauce to partially cook into the noodles. The luscious sauce coats every noodle so every bite is as satisfying as the last.
Now, when you’re finishing pasta in the pan there are two things that can sometimes happen.
The first is that the pasta sauce is too thin. In that case, let it cook down a little bit longer and add more parmesan cheese. The cheese thickens the sauce and encourages it to adhere to the pasta.
The second is that the pasta sauce is too thick. In that case, add a splash of the pasta-cooking water. The residual starch in the water binds the sauce together while simultaneously thinning it out.
I always like to garnish my pasta with a bit of parsley and black pepper. You know, for fancy reasons.
Here’s the Recipe!
- 8 ounces bucatini
- 1/2 cup packed drained roasted red pepper from a jar (about one pepper)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed drained sun-dried tomato in oil (about two tomatoes)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled (optional)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Prepare the bucatini according to package directions for al dente. Drain, but do not rinse.
- Placethe roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, and garlic (if using) in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until pureed. If needed, drizzle in a teaspoon of oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes to help things along.
- Place the butter, half and half, and salt in a 10" skillet set over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the red pepper and tomato mixture. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened and the garlic has lost its raw flavor, about 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the cooked bucatini noodles and parmesan cheese to the pan. Toss well; taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 383 Total Fat 26g Saturated Fat 14g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 11g Cholesterol 62mg Sodium 605mg Carbohydrates 30g Fiber 3g Sugar 4g Protein 10g