This is a VERY easy pasta to create with veggies you might have laying around. I happened to have several banana peppers and cherry/grape tomatoes from the garden that needed to be used. Also, my basil is getting close to three feet high, so fresh herbs were needed. You can always use dried if you do not have fresh, but fresh always tastes better (especially when you want to do a quick sauce). I never have time to let sauce simmer all day long. To be honest, I don’t always plan ahead. Besides being versatile, short cooking time is what makes this sauce so nice. I’m guessing on the measurements because I usually cook to taste. So, remember to taste often to see if you need to add more herbs or seasoning.
- 1-1.5 pounds cherry tomatoes (for a sweeter sauce)
- 4 banana peppers sliced thin (if using bell peppers use 2 large or 3 small)
- 3 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 T balsamic vinegar (depending on taste)
- 1/4 C loosely packed basil chopped
- 1/4 C loosely packed oregano chopped
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- sea salt (or regular)and pepper to taste
- fresh grated Parmesan cheese (and/or goat cheese)
1. Put a pot filled 3/4 of the way with water on to boil. (start the next steps, but keep checking to see if its boiling. Once it does, add pasta and stir often until done)
2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once heated, add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper (1 t each?) and stir to get them covered in oil and seasoning. (Meanwhile, look at step 3) Let the tomatoes cook down until they start to burst or split. (stir occasionally)
3. Make sure the peppers are sliced thin to minimize cooking time. Once the tomatoes start to burst, toss in the peppers. When the peppers become soft, take out a blender and pour in the sauce. Be careful! Blend to desired thickness.
4. After blending the sauce, pour back into the skillet and bring to a simmer.
5. Add chopped fresh herbs and let cook for 5-10 minutes.
6. Taste for seasoning. If done, add pasta to the pan with sauce and stir to let noodles absorb the sauce.
7. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese or goat cheese. Goat cheese goes really well with marinara type sauces. It melts so well and becomes part of the sauce.
Observations: This was my first time using banana peppers, and I plan on using them again. They gave the sauce such a nice mellow flavor that worked well with the acidity of the tomatoes. If I were making this just for me, I would have melted 1-2 oz. of goat cheese in the sauce before tossing in the pasta. However, Brandon is not a fan of stinky cheese.
Analysis: If I were making this just for me, I would have melted 1-2 oz. of goat cheese in the sauce before tossing in the pasta. However, Brandon is not a fan of stinky cheese. Also, some people might prefer chunky sauce, so you can skip the blender step. It all depends on your personal tastes.