Monday, April 12, 2010

Penne with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

The main reason I love pasta is the sauce. Oh, the variety! I usually prefer pasta sauced with red sauce instead of white, but it's easy to get tired of the typical tomato version. So instead of the same-old, I whipped up a fabulous red sauce of roasted red peppers made creamy with the addition of feta cheese, which is naturally lower in fat than most other cheeses. The sauce was creamy, smooth and intensely flavorful. I served the pasta with store-bought chicken meatballs, but it would also be delicious with sliced sausage, grilled chicken or even shrimp. If you'd rather not use pasta this sauce would also be amazing served straight up on a variety of meats.

Penne with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper-Feta Sauce
A healthy and creamy pasta sauce with unique Mediterranean flavors. 
Serves 3

1 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 (8-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock (No stock? Use water with splash of vinegar or wine)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese or a 3-ounce block
1/2 pound penne pasta (use whole wheat to up the fiber)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves, optional

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor or blender with stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta. Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce, adding pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among pasta bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining feta cheese.

Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger

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