VANILLA LATTE is a blog dedicated to food & travel with occasional random stuff thrown in. It is managed and written by me, Maggie Ha.

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Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper, Fresh Basil & Parmesan 7Jun11

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper, Fresh Basil and Parmesan

I know… I’m getting “where have you been?!” from everyone. Well, it’s been a while but I’m finally back with another post. I’ve been travelling a lot lately so it’s been tough finding time to cook and write about it. But I’m back at home now and the first thing I wanted was some home cooked comfort food. For me, comfort food can mean many things. Usually it’s inspired by what I saw last on TV or what image I saw last, or a dish I’ve been craving for weeks. This time, all I wanted was a simple pasta dish with some fresh basil.

This dish is incredibly easy to make and super quick. Perfect for whipping up a fast dinner after a long day of work. It has very little sauce, but lots of flavor. Theres nothing better than a simple home cooked meal.. mmm! So happy to be home!

2 cups of dried pasta, I like super curly ones like Campanelle so it holds the flavors
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, less if you prefer it more mild
1 roasted pepper, thinly sliced (learn how to roast a pepper here)
handful of basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Cooking the pasta!
Bring about 4 cups of water to boil in a medium sized pot. Once it’s boiling, sprinkle in about 1 teaspoon of salt and pour in the dry pasta. Stir so that the pasta won’t sink to the bottom and stick together. Bring that to a simmer and let it boil for about 5-10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta. Take one out to taste, you want it al dentel, with a bit of bite to it. Once ready, strain and set aside.

Step 2: The sauce!
While your water is boiling for your pasta, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium sauce pan.  Throw in the diced shallots and sliced garlic. Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil so that the butter doesn’t burn. Let that cook until the shallots are transparent and the garlic slices start to brown slightly. Now add in the tomato paste, water, red pepper flakes and roasted pepper. Let that simmer and cook down until the water thickens a little. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Mix and serve!
Once your sauce is ready, mix in the strained pasta. Stir until the pasta is mixed in with the sauce thoroughly. Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Right before serving, mix in the basil leaves!

It’s great as a meal on its own or as a side dish. I made a pan seared butterflied pork chop with pepper and thyme for Vini. Super simple… salt, pepper, thyme leaves on both sides. He loved it!

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper, Fresh Basil and Parmesan

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Ground Support

My local favorite is currently Ground Support in SOHO. I go there almost every day for a smooth creamy soy cappuccino or if it’s hot out an iced soy latte. When I’m not in a hurry to run out, I try to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the coffee in the shop… you know, chat with the staff, catch up on some calls and best of all… people watch. Always some interesting characters in NYC!

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