Sometimes a recipe lodges itself in my mind and refuses to budge. No matter how I cook around it, I am called by an dinner that must be mine. So it was with the pasta bake that was called Dad's Friday Night Pasta Dish
by Half Baked Harvest which lured me with amazingly beautiful photos, a great story and a simple dish. The clincher was that red capsicums were dirt cheap. So let me tell you about my week with red capsicums (or peppers).
I bought a bag of red capsicums on sale. The pasta bake called but I didn't quite have the time or ingredients. Instead I roasted a capsicum on a gas flame and made Isa's Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese
. It was very good, especially with the remainder of my sweet potato mash from the enchiladas added. I loved it but the pasta bake still beckoned.
Then I went shopping and bought more red peppers and basil on sale. The looming use by date on the basil really pushed me because I knew if I didn't use it, it would be a slimy mess in the fridge. (Been there, done that!) I made tofu bacon
and considered using the Vegusto vegan mozzarella in the fridge but I just wasn't sure enough (it melted ok but had no strings) and used regular mozzarella.
It was in cooking the angel hair pasta that I came unstuck. As usual I put on the pasta and checked the packet for time. This one only took 2 minutes. Which meant I didn't have the 10 minutes I expected to get together herbed oil to toss the pasta in. Then a plum crumble slice
came out of the oven at the same time the pasta was ready. In my haste I poured boiling water over my hand while draining the pasta.
The burn really hurt. I made the rest of dinner with my fingers pressed against a zooper dooper (fruit ice stick) from the freezer and wrapped in a tea towel. Otherwise it was too painful. Finally I looked up the web for ideas and wrapped it in clingwrap. The pain went away. It was a miracle that I recommend to anyone else unfortunately enough to have this problem.
What with making tofu bacon, grating cheese and chopping parsley, it wasn't quite as quick as the recipe suggested but then I just didn't take short cuts. It was delicious. E loved it for the same reason I was a bit unsure. It didn't have enough vegetables. It was also a bit oily because I added a bit more oil and the sundried tomato oil.
One of the things I really liked about the recipe was the author saying that when her dad made this dish it was always different. I would really like to try it again. Sylvia enjoyed the angel hair pasta tossed with oil before I added the herbs but not after. I would like more vegies. I forgot to season the pasta so the bake was a bit lacking in flavour. I have added a few changes to what I did below to reflect what I would do if I made it again. If I made it again I would like more capsicums on top. I'd love to try it with vegan mozzarella. There are many possibilities.
The possibilities for the dish are not just about how to prepare it but how to use the leftovers. I also made a lovely vegetable and bean soup last week. I had decided to serve the remaining noodles with a stuffed capsicum (yes I call them stuffed peppers too - either makes sense to me) but ran out of time. It was far easier to put the stuffing in the fridge, chop the remaining pasta bake and mix with the vegie soup. And so delicious.
The next night I had the stuffing and the red capsicums and it was quite easy to just stuff them. I used home cooked white beans from the freezer, tofu bacon, kale from the farmers market, and some leftover red pepper mac and cheese sauce. (If you didn't have a cheese sauce you could use some nut butter, nutritional yeast flakes and mustard.)
I used half the vegan mozzarella on top and grated some to mix into the stuffing. It probably would have been better to cut it into chunks rather than grate it. The mozzarella on top was brilliant and has converted me from a skeptic to a fan of Vegusto. The taste is great, the mouthfeel is right and it even crisps on top. (I still am not a fan of the mozzarella when cold but have been loving it on grilled cheese on toast.)
I was surprised at how well these stuffed peppers worked. I followed what I did in my nut roast stuffed peppers recipe
on the blog. I wondered if a bit longer might be good as I loved the one pepper was starting to char and blister. What was really great about this recipe is that most stuffed peppers recipe seem to involve some sort of carbs or grains. This one is big on protein. Yet E didn't even feel in need of a slice of bread with this because it was so filling.
I often find stuffed peppers a bit boring and old school vegetarian. These ones were full of interesting flavours and very modern. And like the pasta bake, the recipe is open to endless variations. I am sure I will make these again but with whatever takes my fancy.
I am sending the pasta bake to Manjiri at Slice of Me for Pasta Please
which focuses on olive oil
this month. I am sending the stuffed peppers to Avika at A Day Through My Life
#70 for My Legume Love Affair
, which is managed by Lisa
and founded by Susan
.Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Chocolate lime energy slice, the park and the beach
Two years ago: Purple Pomegranate Stew
Three years ago: Cheesey bikkies: what not to do
Four years ago: Butterscotch Bounty from Ricki
Five years ago: Wholemeal Chocolate Cake
Six years ago: Posh chocolate orange biscuitsRed Capsicum and Mozzarella Pasta Bake
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Serves 6 to 8
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Handful parsley finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
500g angel hair pasta
1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
125g tofu bacon
bits, fried til crisp
300-400g mozzarella cheese, grated
3-4 red capsicums (bell peppers), sliced
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Freshly torn basil, for topping
Preheat oven to 190 C. Heat water for pasta. Meanwhile, in a pasta dish, about 13 by 9 inch or a little smaller, mix olive oil with herbs, garlic, paprika, pepper and salt. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to instructions on the packet (mine only had to be simmered about 2 minutes). Drain and toss in herbed oil. Sprinkle pasta with olive, sundried tomatoes and tofu bacon. Then sprinkle with about 3/4 of mozzarella cheese. Arrange red capsicums over the cheese. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until capsicums are well cooked. Keeps for a day or two in the fridge.Peppers stuffed with white beans and kale
Original recipe by Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraffe
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of purple kale, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup PPK Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese sauce
2-3 tbsp chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup fried tofu bacon
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 large red peppers (capsicums)
100g vegan mozzarella
Preheat oven to 200 C.
Heat olive oil in frypan over medium heat. Fry onion for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Add kale and cook another 5 minutes or so until cooked. Stir in garlic and remove from heat. Meanwhile mix together beans, cheese sauce, sundried tomatoes, tofu bacon, parsley and seasoning. Grate about half the mozzarella into the bean mixture.
Prepare the red peppers by removing stem, membrane and seeds. Microwave each open side down for about 2 to 3 minutes or until softening but not collapsing. Stuff each with half the mixture, packing it in with the back of a spoon. Stand in an ovenproof dish. (I used a small ramekin in my dish to help the peppers stand up.) Slice the remaining mozzarella and place over the top of the filling.
Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and the peppers are soft and starting to blister. Eat hot.On the Stereo:Ball of Wax, audio quarterly, volume 26: a tribute to the anthology of American Folk Music
- various artists