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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple bell pepper recipes

Pasta, turkey sausage and asparagus are dressed with

Pasta, turkey sausage and asparagus are dressed with Romesco sauce made from roast bell peppers and almonds. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

FETTUCCINE, SAUSAGE AND ASPARAGUS WITH ROMESCO SAUCE

8 ounces fettuccine

1 pound asparagus, cut in 2-inch pieces

3 large red bell peppers, cut in half vertically (through stem end), seeds and membranes removed

1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage

2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

1⁄4 cup blanched or slivered almonds

1 slice bread, toasted

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1⁄4 cup parsley, chopped

 

1. Cook the fettuccine in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Two minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the asparagus to the water. Just before draining, reserve 1⁄4 cup of the cooking water.

2. Prepare the grill for direct-heat cooking. Place the peppers skin sides down on the grill and cook until the skins are blistered and black, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, pick off the charred skins with your fingers.

3. Place the sausage in a nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook, turning occasionally, to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add 1⁄4 cup water to the pan, cover and cook 10 minutes, until sausage is cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and add the garlic and almonds to the pan; cook 2 minutes until toasted and brown. Transfer the almonds and garlic to a blender. Add the toast, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, salt and olive oil and puree. Add the reserved cooking liquid and puree again.

4. Slice the sausage and toss with the pasta, half (1 cup) of the sauce, and the parsley. (Reserve the remaining sauce for another use.) Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 479 calories, 32 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 911 mg sodium

TIP: Serve the remaining cup of Romesco sauce later in the week on grilled fish or chicken or as dip with raw vegetables.

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BEEF-AND-RICE STUFFED PEPPERS

1⁄2 cup quick-cooking brown rice

12 ounces (93-percent lean) ground beef

1⁄2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄2 cup golden raisins

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon drained capers

4 medium red bell peppers, top 1⁄4-inch (with stem) sliced off and seeds removed

2 cups low-sodium tomato juice

 

1. Cook the rice according to package directions.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high; add the beef and cook, stirring to break into smaller pieces, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, raisins, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, salt, pepper and capers and cook, stirring, 1 minute until well combined.

3. Spoon the filling into the peppers and stand them up in a saucepan just large enough to hold them. Pour the tomato juice over and around the peppers and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer until the peppers are fork tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with the sauce spooned over the top. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 340 calories, 21 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 507 mg sodium

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ROASTED PEPPERS FOR NOW AND LATER

 

Roast local peppers to store in the freezer for use in the winter months.

 

8 red bell peppers, cut in half vertically (through stem end), seeds and membranes removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

 

1. Preheat the broiler or prepare the grill for direct-heat cooking. If broiling, line a baking sheet pan with foil (for ease of cleanup).

2. Place the peppers on the baking sheet pan with the cut sides down or on the grill with the cut sides facing up and cook until the skin is blistered and black, about 8 minutes. (The skin sides should face the heat source). Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap; allow to steam for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers are cool enough to handle.

3. Pick off the charred skin with your fingers. Cut into strips and toss with the olive oil and salt. May be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days, or in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes 16 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 33 calories, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 2 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 39 mg sodium

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