This week I went with another Jamie Oliver recipe. The last time I blogged a Jamie Oliver recipe it was a wildly successful post and dinner. I had to try his meatball-making technique, one that I still use to this day. Today however is a simple pasta dish. I have to admit, when I got home from work Friday I was not really in the mood to cook.
Usually when I force-cook food it turns out substandard. I just don’t put much effort into it and it comes out half-assed like something’s overcooked or undercooked, or I could have added this or I over-seasoned or something. Do you ever get that way? When you’re kitchen mojo just isn’t flowing? Friday night though was awesome. I started to sautee the peppers in this dish and just got into this relaxing rhythm of prepping the other ingredients. I got my timing down and everything came out excellent.
Like last week’s dish, this one hinges on simple and rustic flavors. There isn’t a laundry list of herbs and spices and some $10 ingredient that makes you curse when you’re finding the recipe for your next post. I loved the peppers in this, and I used celery and carrots in place of onions because they don’t agree with me. Stewed together and cooked over medium-low for about a half an hour everything was so tender without being mushy. The parsley acted as a medium between the sweet peppers and piquant Parmesan with made a nice broad-spectrum flavor over the pasta, and the Mascarpone was a stroke of genius lending its creamy texture as a catalyst for all of the flavors to marry.
I don’t think I could write more flowery about this dish. Needless to say I scarfed it down anticipating my next bite while still chewing the one in my mouth. Definitely try this – it takes about an hour to cook but it’s so worth it.
Jamie Oliver's Pasta Peperonata
- 2 Red Peppers sliced
- 2 Yellow Peppers sliced
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Red Onions sliced
- 2 cloves Garlic peel and grate
- 2 handfuls Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- 2-3 tbsp Mascarpone or Creme Fraiche optional
- 16 oz Pasta rigatoni, penne, spaghetti
- Slice the peppers and put them in a large frying pan over a medium heat with a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Place a lid on, and cook slowly for 15 minutes until softened.
- While the peppers are cooking, peel and finely slice the onion, and peel and grate the garlic. Finely chop the parsley leaves and reserve the stalks.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for a further 20 minutes. Then add the garlic and parsley stalks and toss. Cook for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the vinegar - tossing well.
- Add half of the grated Parmesan. Add the mascarpone or crème fraîche (optional) and reduce heat to low while preparing pasta.
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions. Drain, and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.
- Toss peppers, pasta and parsley leaves into a large bowl adding a little of the pasta cooking water and extra virgin olive oil to coat the pasta nicely. Serve, and sprinkle dishes with the rest of the Parmesan.
Just one more thing on my mind – I’ve recently started submitting photos to food-porn sites like Trainspotting and Foodgawker. I was rejected for last week’s photo because of “composition” for both sites. Am I angry? No. Going to use this time to protest? No. Disappointed? Maybe, sure. But not really because I learned something kind of cool – that my photos are way to zoomed in on the food. Look at this week’s for example:
There’s not much room for “composition” is there? It’s sort of in-your-face, isn’t it? People don’t see food like this, or at least if they do they need to learn how to sit up straight and use utensils properly. Or get a lower table, a higher chair? Anyway, I like discovering this sort of thing – possibly accepting constructive criticism? I do think my lighting, focus and colors are pretty good. This is on a point-and-shoot by the way. I need to back off the plate a bit and set the stage. Any composition tips would be welcome!