Written by Emily
Yesterday we had a dinner without incident. With. Out. Incident. Everyone ate. Everyone smiled. Everyone chatted as though they had been schooled in the art of conversation. It was amazing. It was like we stepped into the glossy pages of a cookbook with gratuitous family pics. You know, the pics that scream: “Hahahaha, we are so happy and we eat delicious food and we love each other every minute and aren’t we great? Join us for a perfect meal of anchovie stew. We’re so sorry the children ate seconds and thirds, they’re so silly.”
The kids didn’t eat seconds, but they ate firsts. And they liked it. “You can make this again sometime, ok, Mommy?”
Or everyday for the rest of your lives if we can relive this dinner again and again.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
- Whole Wheat Pasta–whatever shape makes your kids happy
- 3 Large Red Peppers–my kids like these raw but not cooked, so I pureed them in the end to hide them from my littles
- 1 Medium Onion, quartered
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 3 large tomatoes, quartered
- Vegetable Broth
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Fresh Basil
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Turn on your grill if spring has finally arrived! If not, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the peppers in half, the tomatoes and onions in quarters and toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper.
Cut the top and bottom off the garlic bulb and remove the loose, papery exterior. Place the bulb on the center of a square of foil. Douse the bulb with olive oil and salt. Wrap the bulb in the foil like a little garlic present. If garlic is too strong for you or your kids, roasting it makes it mild and sweet. Tasty for everyone 🙂
Prepare the pasta water by salting liberally. I’ve heard people say make it taste like the sea. Those people probably don’t vacation in New Jersey or Maryland. That ocean water makes me gag. But do salt the pasta water.
Put the garlic package and all of the veggies on the grill. When the tomatoes get grill marks, blister and soften, remove them from the heat. Let the peppers get a gorgeous char (you’ll think they’re totally burnt, but we’re calling that gorgeous).
When the peppers are done, remove them from the heat and check the garlic package. When the garlic is soft and golden, it’s ready.
Scrape or peel the charred skin off the peppers. Rumor has it you can remove the skin by shaking the peppers in a paper bag like magic. Or you can scrape it off with a knife.
Add all of the veggies and 2 or 3 cloves of roasted garlic to a sauce pan. Add enough broth to barely cover the veggies. Add two tablespoons of fresh chopped basil (less if you only have dried on hand). Let the mixture simmer so the broth is warmed and all of the grilled flavors dance in the bubbly hot tub. Delicious.
Prepare the pasta.
After 15 minutes, remove the veggies from the heat and then blend it in batches (be careful blending hot mixtures!). I blended it until it was completely smooth. The truth is, I was hiding the veggies…and it worked!
Toss the delightful, smoky sauce with the pasta. Add cubes of fresh mozzarella and garnish with more basil.
I’ve heard people eat with their eyes first. There are times I hope my kids get calories that way, so I dress up our dinners.
Ta-da! A dinner my children enjoy! And I hope yours will, too!
Our post-dinner entertainment included Chloe counting my teeth and then her brother’s. And then there was this:
We’re okay with her dancing on the table as long as she keeps her clothes on and it ends before she gets to middle school (just to be safe).
Note: This sauce makes an outstanding pureed soup! Add coconut milk or cream and garam masala for depth of flavor. Check out Oh She Glows for a fabulous, detailed soup recipe. Really, really yummy!