Roasted Pepper Penne

Roasted Pepper Penne

It’s just a few days before Halloween and my daughter announced she hates her costume. Honestly, this kills me. When I was a kid there was absolutely no fanfare around Halloween costumes the way there is today. At the risk of sounding like someone who tells one of those crazy tales of  “walking 10 miles to school in the snow….”, when I was a kid I made costumes out of stuff around my house. I’m pretty sure I was a gypsy–wearing my mother’s batwing blouses and flow-y pheasant skirts of the late 70s–three years running. There were no costume stores stuffed to the gills with clown paraphernalia where my parent’s dropped a boatload of money making sure I looked like I walked out of the special effects department of a Josh Lucas production. I honestly think my mom only bought me a pair of black cat ears and I milked those babies for all they were worth…bat, rat, mouse, panda bear. So to hear my daughter, who is normally slippery at best when it comes to deciding on a costume, declare that she now doesn’t like her costume it made me want to send her out with a white sheet over her head and say, “There! You’re a ghost.” The thing is I like my lovely, Egyptian cotton white sheets too much to subject them to her fickle flamboyance with costumes.

This whole rant in no way relates to the pasta you are staring at below. I just needed to get the costume debacle off my chest and you, dear readers, are my sounding board. To put the whole nasty incident to bed, I can tell you I did an impressive dog and pony show setting the world back on its axis: I promised my daughter Oscar winning makeup effects. I saved the holiday from disaster but it took a morning of convincing.

Now I’m sharing this lightening quick pasta with you. It was a dish I made all summer since it requires little attention from the chef. (The chef was out drinking on the deck!) I’m a fan of fresh ingredients roasted and then mixed with creamy, cheesy goodness so it was a winner with me from the beginning but it also appealed to a lot of my guests who tried it; they all wanted the recipe. So, I’m sorry to say, you guys are the last to get it. I think most wanted to recreate the dish because peppers (red, in particular) are the only vegetable their kids will eat making this the perfect dinner. If you suffer from the same malady, then this pasta is for you. If you just suffer from dinner burnout, then this is also for you. If you suffer from Halloween burnout, then a bottle of wine is for you.


Photo by Leila Ashtari

Roasted Pepper Penne

Makes: 6 servings


  • 500g penne
  • 4 peppers (an assortment of red, yellow and orange)
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tbsp
  • Salt
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • Pat of butter
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Asiago cheese (you can use parm too!)
  • Big Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped


Preheat your oven to 400 and prepare a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Dice your peppers into bite-sized and slice your shallots into strips. Toss with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and salt. Roast in the oven until tender and browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a big pot of salted water (it should taste like the ocean), prepare your pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.

Place the drained pasta immediately back into the pot over no heat. Stir in the reserved water, about 1/4 cup oil and pat of butter. Using a micro plane, grate the clove of garlic into the pasta. (You'll want to do this right away while the pasta is hot so it cooks the garlic a bit.) Stir in the roasted peppers and cheese.

Stir in basil and then sprinkle the top with a bit more cheese, serve and enjoy!


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