As June comes to an end, I wanted to share a really helpful resource I’ve been using to educate myself about the Black Lives Matter movement, a Google doc called Justice in June. The more time I’ve spent reading, listening, and watching content about what it’s like to be black in America, the more horrified I am about how these TED talks and so many resources which were published years ago are still so scarily relevant today. My goal is to continue to educate myself and try and support the black community long-term, not just for the month of June, but that Google doc was a good start. I have also started donating to a few organizations, including the Legal Defense Fund and Campaign Zero, which are both doing important work in the fight for racial justice, along with so many other organizations. Social media is also great for finding new content posted by my friends, to keep the learning process going, and I have been trying to actively start conversations with friends and family to discuss what we have been learning and seeing in the community and how we can help.
On another note, COVID-19 is still a very real, very pressing ongoing public health crisis, which means that I am still cooking at home more than usual. Most recently, I made this creamy roasted red pepper pasta, based on a recipe from Damn Delicious. I use orecchiette instead of shells, since I love how the little ridges in the pasta really help the sauce cling onto the pasta, and I was going to use tomato paste instead of tomato sauce, but when I went to look in the fridge to gather my ingredients, turns out the tomato paste got thrown away. I substituted Field Roast vegetarian sausages instead of the Italian sausage to keep the dish vegetarian. Also, roasted bell peppers are expensive, so I just decided to roast my own. Overall, this pasta was lovely and creamy and the roasted bell peppers gave is a sweet, charred flavor, perfect for a summer evening! Here’s the recipe I ended up with!
Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
Makes 6-8 servings
Adapted from Damn Delicious
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 red bell peppers
8 oz orecchiette, or pasta of your choice
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 links of Field Roast Italian vegetarian sausage, or sausage of your choice, sliced
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp Italian seasoning, or herb seasonings of your choice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
5-6 basil leaves, thinly sliced for garnish
Parmesan for garnish if desired
Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Slice the bell peppers, and toss them generously with olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until the peppers are nicely charred. *This step can be done ahead of time and keep the peppers in the fridge for a few days until ready to use.
Bring a salted pot of water to boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions. When you drain the pasta, reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta water to make the sauce.
To make the base of the red pepper sauce, blend together the roasted bell peppers with the reserved pasta water until smooth.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the remaining olive oil to the heated pan. Sauté the onions, garlic, and Field Roast until the onions are translucent and the sausage is heated through. Add the flour, seasoning, salt, and pepper and stir for about a minute.
Add the roasted pepper sauce blend and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5-8 minutes, until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and add the heavy cream, stirring occasionally until heated through.
Garnish with basil and Parmesan if desired. Enjoy!