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Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

When the fridge pickings get slim, I always find it fascinating what people choose to make for dinner, or whether they cook at all. Sometimes I choose to make breakfast—omelets, pancakes, etc. Or, maybe it’s a quick stir fry or a filling for burritos.

A few nights ago, I improvised a pasta sauce with a handful of end-of-season peppers, some fresh and canned tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden. The whole sauce was based on roasting the peppers under the broiler, so their skins would blacken, infusing that rich, smoky taste that only high heat can provide. And, the mix of peppers in our fridge—small, sweet “yummy” and banana peppers, along with some Anaheim peppers, which have a little heat—provided some good contrast in the sauce.

Once the peppers were roasted, peeled and chopped, everything else came together quickly. At the last minute, I decided to throw in some white beans to boost the protein and add some texture. Since it was good enough to make again, I thought I’d share it with you.

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

1 pound assorted peppers (Anaheim, sweet banana, “yummy,” etc.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
Handful of grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, if canned
Cooked pasta
Fresh basil, slivered
Grated parmesan cheese, optional

1. Preheat broiler. On a foil-lined baking sheet, roast the peppers until the skins blister and blacken, turning occasionally. Immediately place peppers in a heavy-duty plastic bag and seal. Let stand for 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, cut in half and remove the seeds. Cut into ½-inch pieces.

2. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with their liquid, along with the chopped peppers. Simmer for 8 to10 minutes until thickened.

3. Add the grape tomatoes and beans to the pan and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Taste and correct for seasoning.

Serve over hot pasta and garnish with basil and or parmesan. Serves 4.

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