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Dinner Tonight! | QUICK FIX

Nearly No-Cook Pasta Sauce

October 20, 1999|CHARITY FERREIRA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It takes only minutes to prepare this fresh pasta sauce, which involves no cooking except for roasting a few bell peppers. Toss the sauce with cooked penne, round out the meal with a green salad and serve some bread sticks from the deli.

Keep things simple for dessert as well; dish up scoops of vanilla ice cream and put out a plate of your favorite fancy packaged cookie or biscotti.

Menu:

Penne With Red Pepper Sauce

Green Salad

Bread Sticks

Vanilla Ice Cream and Cookies

Penne With Red Pepper Sauce

Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes

3 red bell peppers (about 1 1/4 pounds)

Salt

1 pound penne pasta

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1/4 cup walnuts

Leaves from 6 to 8 sprigs parsley

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for thinning

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Freshly ground pepper

* To roast bell peppers, broil peppers 4 inches from heat source, turning, until skins are charred. Place peppers in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool 15 minutes. Remove skins and seeds and chop. Set aside.

* Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook penne according to package directions until al dente, about 12 minutes.

* Chop garlic in blender or food processor. Add peppers, 1/4 cup cheese, walnuts, parsley, 2 1/2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste and pulse to puree, about 20 seconds. Sauce should be well blended but have texture; it should be similar to pesto. If sauce is too thick, add a little olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. Toss with well-drained pasta and sprinkle with a little extra cheese.

4 servings. Each serving: 592 calories; 190 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 89 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 0.96 gram fiber.

Game Plan

30 minutes before: Boil water for pasta. Roast peppers; cool.

15 minutes before: Peel peppers. Cook pasta.

10 minutes before: Make sauce. Assemble salad.

Just before serving: Drain pasta and toss with sauce.

INGREDIENTS

Shopping List

Bread sticks

Cookies

Penne pasta

3 red bell peppers

Salad greens

Walnuts

Staples

Balsamic vinegar

Garlic

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Parsley

*

Plate from Crate & Barrel stores.

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