My First Meat-Free-Monday: Mixed Pepper Pasta

I meant to post this on Monday, 3 May, but while I was cooking, the insane need to pee immediately gripped me and as I was undoing my pants, my phone fell out of my back pocket into the toilet bowl My need to pee evaporated instantly, and all I could think of was crap, crap, CRAP!!! (no pun intended!) and then silently thanked the cleaning gods that drive me to bleach the loo every second day. At least I didn’t have to fish it out of the bowl with my hands. Needless to say, I tossed the tongs away. Next my brain said get the phone into rice straight away to give it a fighting chance at surviving the water that was slowly infiltrating its innards. Thank the Pope a colleague gifted me a bag last month. Somehow I don’t think she or I thought that an expensive bag of brown basmati rice was going to end up in a plastic Tupperware trying to dry out a phone. Why don’t the cellphone manufacturers make water resistant handsets? Because, from what I’ve heard, cellphones and toilet bowls seem to have an affinity for one another. Next I went to Elizabeth’s house, panic stricken, and tried to dry the phone with the hairdryer on a low heat, and then it went to Chante, whose sister repairs phones. My phone’s board is okay, but the screen needs to be replaced. I don’t have the money for it now, but fortunately Elizabeth has lent me a phone in the meantime. Anyhow, the intended post follows…

I’ve not really been big on the Meat Free Monday concept; I blame the fact that I have O-group blood. Apparently, people with group-O blood are more carnivorous than people with alternative blood groups. Whether this is indeed scientifically proven, I have no idea, but for the purpose of this blog entry, it is fact. Added to that, that I am a South African. The largest percentage of SA’ffers enjoy meat, even more so when it’s braaied. Tonight though, I decided to go meat free; I had quite several peppers in the fridge that needed eating. It was either that or have a science experiment mutating in the cooler.

I found a super recipe for Mixed Pepper Pasta on the Food & Wine website. It tasted delicious, and what’s great is that it is inexpensive, serves 4, takes less than forty-five minutes from start to finish, and it is suitable to serve to my non-meat-eating-mates. I used ordinary whole wheat spaghetti for the recipe but imagine that the dish would be even more colourful with spinach, beetroot, or turmeric noodles.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin oil, plus more for drizzling

1 small onion, finely chopped I love red onions for their flavour and colour, so used one instead of a yellow onion

5 cloves of garlic

1.5 pounds mixed bell peppers, finely chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

1 lb spaghetti

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

0.75 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. I chose to roast my peppers in the oven instead, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Add the spaghetti, pasta water, tomatoes and parsley to the skillet and toss over moderate heat for 1 minute, then serve. I added some toasted almond slivers to garnish.

I enjoyed my dinner with a glass of crisp de-alcoholised Chenin Blanc and toasted bread rounds. I know self-praise is no recommendation, but I did cook an amazing meal, despite the earlier drama.

Tonight I am going to attempt another meat-free recipe – watch this space!

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