Sunday, February 15, 2015

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Roasted red pepper pasta with a creamy, savory-sweet red pepper sauce and fresh basil or parsley.
Incredibly satisfying: light, healthy and simple.
Healthy Benefits
Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron.  

Red bell peppers are a great source of vitamin B6 and magnesium. Vitamin B6 is also a natural diuretic, so try stocking up on red bell peppers to reduce bloating and prevent against hypertension.

Red bell peppers help support healthy night vision. Red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision. So when it comes to bell peppers, seeing red is a good thing!

Red bell peppers are packed with antioxidants. The combined effects of vitamin A and C create a great antioxidant capacity, and with lycopene in the mix, the red bell pepper becomes a top notch superfood. Lycopene is what makes tomatoes and peppers red. Red peppers are one of the highest veggies in lycopene, which has been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers including prostate and lung.
Ingredients   13 calories per serving (serves 4)
12 oz linguini or other noodles
2 red bell peppers
2-tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Sea salt and ground pepper
1.5 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1.5 tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot powder or other other thickener of choice)
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Fresh parsley or basil, finely chopped

- Heat oven to 500 degrees and roast red peppers on a baking sheet until charred (about 25-30 minutes). Cover in foil for 10 minutes, then remove the charred skins, seeds and stems. Set aside.
- Cook pasta, drain and set aside.
- While the red peppers are roasting, bring a large skillet over medium heat and sautée onion and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil until soft (about 4-5 minutes). Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Transfer sautéd shallot and garlic to blender with roasted peppers, almond milk, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast and cornstarch.
- Blend until creamy and smooth. Adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper or nutritional yeast for flavor. You want the flavor to be robust since the pasta doesn't have much flavor.
- Once blended, place sauce in the skillet over medium heat to thicken. Once it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and continue simmering.
- Once the sauce is thickened to desired consistency add the pasta.
- Serve with fresh parsley or basil on top.

Fun fact: 
Bell peppers also known as sweet peppers are native to Mexico, Central and South American region from where they spread to the rest of the world by Spanish and Portuguese explorers during 16th and 17th centuries and now grown widely in many parts of the world as an important commercial crop.
  1. Bell peppers are the only member of Capsicum genus that does not produce capsaicin, a lipophilic chemical that can cause a strong  burning sensation (or simply the hot taste) when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. The absence of capsaicin in bell peppers is related to a recessive form of a gene that gets rid of capsaicin. It is actually why the are called sweet pepper at times.
  2. Peppers are actually fruits. Why? Simply because they are produced from a flowering plant and contain seeds, though, most people think of them as vegetables.  
  3. Peppers were named by Christopher Columbus and Spanish explorers who were searching for peppercorn plants to produce black pepper.  
  4. The peppers have different names. In many Commonwealth of Nations countries, such as India, Canada, and Malaysia, as well as in the United States, they are called bell peppers  Australian and New Zealand  natives call the fruit Capsicum, the British simply call it Pepper while the Japanese call it  ’パプリカ’(papurika)
  5. In terms of nutrition, it is a fact that bell peppers are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamins
  6. Compared to green peppers, red peppers are known to have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene, like lycopene, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers.
  7. The pulpy white inner cavity of the bell pepper (usually cut off and discarded) is a rich source of flavonoids and can be eaten.  
  8. Bell peppers can be eaten at any stage of development. However, recent research has shown that the vitamin C and carotenoid content of bell peppers tends to increase while the pepper is reaching its optimal ripeness. Bell peppers are also typically more flavorful when optimally ripe. But remember the sweeter the bell pepper, the more calories it will have. Red pepper highest number of calories compared to other colored peppers. 
  9. The taste of ripe peppers varies with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest are fruit allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage are less sweet.
  10. Bell pepper is an excellent source of vitamin C at 117 milligrams per cup. (That’s more than twice the amount of vitamin C found in a typical orange.) Simple math: one green bell pepper is equal to two oranges. Spare the cost of two oranges; get a single bell pepper, stay healthy and live longer…
  11. Traditional Chinise Medicine (TCM) used bell peppers as a natural treatment for certain medical conditions relating to digestive issues and blood circulation such as indigestion, loss of appetite, swelling frostbite(Injury or destruction of skin and underlying tissue) and stagnation
  12. Red bell peppers are sweeter than green ones because bell peppers sweeten as they ripen. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly bitterer than all the other color varieties.

Inspired by The Perfect Pantry  Loosely adapted by LAUREN'S LATEST