This vibrant comfort dish started with a fresh lemon and a couple of leftover sweet peppers

When I think Italian food, I think red.

Tomatoes. Spaghetti sauce. A nice glass of Chianti.

It’s a limited vision. But it doesn’t have to be so.

It could be yellow.

Or orange!

I conjured up the following recipe after a friend gave me some fresh lemons. I wanted to make some comfort food (and icy cold lemonade wasn’t gonna cut it), so I thought of linguine with lemon sauce. But I had some yellow peppers I wanted to use up, the inspiration for which brought me to a bunch of red pepper sauce recipes. Thus was born my Pasta with Lemon & Pepper Cream Sauce.

peppers before

I liked it so much, I made it again a couple of days later with some vibrant orange sweet peppers. And a couple of carrots. ‘Cause I’m just a wild and crazy gal (who likes to sneak veggies into everything).

The result had all the atomic orange goodness of a bowl of Kraft macaroni cheese without any of the scary dyes or preservatives. The half-and-half (or cream, if you’re really needing it) speaks of comfort. There is a ton of natural, delicious flavor here, but don’t skip over the fresh lemon juice or the red pepper flakes.

peppers finished dish

Pasta with Lemon & Pepper Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 orange (or yellow or, if you must be conventional, red) sweet peppers, seeded and cut into eighths
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks (skeptical? You won’t even taste these — but they’re orange! and good for you!)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and skins removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • about 12 cherry tomatoes, halved (I used red, but I really wished I had orange on hand — these are for garnish)
  • zest of 1 fresh lemon plus about a tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4-6 ounces of your favorite pasta (I like angel hair, but you have my permission to be unconventional)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. peppers cutArrange peppers, carrots and garlic on a cookie sheet. I tucked the garlic cloves into the pepper pieces so they wouldn’t get burnt (though a little browning just adds yumminess). Drizzle with oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast in a hot 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the cherry tomatoes and roast for 10 minutes more (35 minutes total).
  2. peppers roastedAllow roasted veggies to cool slightly. Reserve the cherry tomatoes for garnish later. Now’s the time to start your salted water a boilin’ for your pasta.
  3. peppers blendedCombine lemon zest, lemon juice, roasted veggies, half-and-half and dried spices in blender (I used a smoothie glass) and blend until smooth. It will be thick, like a smoothie. Taste it and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  4. When your noodles are done (al dente if you must, or a little mushier if you’re more like me), drain and add back to your hot pot. Dump your blended veggies into pot and mix well.
  5. To serve, divide between two bowls (or, if you’re really hungry, dump into a single big bowl). Garnish with parmesan, your roasted cherry tomatoes and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 1 or 2.

peppers after

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3 responses to “This vibrant comfort dish started with a fresh lemon and a couple of leftover sweet peppers

  1. Sounds delish! Gotta try it!

  2. Pingback: Vibrant Sunrise | Chris Breebaart Photography / What's (in) the picture?

  3. I can’t wait to try it!

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