Due to the heat – and our desire to continue fitting into our favorite bathing suit – we all like light meals for the summer. Here are a couple of pasta dishes you can prepare quickly, for a side dish, main meal, or to bring to a potluck!
Quick and Easy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- 12 ounces of a pasta such as penne, farfalle or fusilli
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 whole large onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jar (15.5 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup parmesan shavings
- Finely minced parsley
- Chopped fresh basil (optional)
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until starting to soften. Add chopped red peppers and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until hot.
- Remove skillet from heat. Carefully transfer contents to a food processor or blender. Puree the pepper mixture until totally blended (there will still be some texture to the peppers).
- Heat the other 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat. Pour the pepper puree back into the skillet. Add broth, salt, and pepper, and stir until heated. (You can add about 1/2 cup cream if you want, but I prefer to leave it out for a lighter sauce)
- Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.
- Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Add Parmesan and parsley/basil, then stir it together to coat the pasta.
Some like it hot. Some like it cold.
The Best Macaroni Salad
I love this recipe from The Pioneer Woman – especially all the added pickle flavor.
- 4 cups elbow macaroni
- 3 whole roasted red peppers, chopped (more to taste, can also use pimentos)
- 1/2 cup black olives, chopped fine
- 6 whole sweet/spicy pickle slices, diced (about 1/2 cup diced)(plus some of the juice from the jar)
- 3 whole green onions, sliced (white and dark green parts)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp red wine or distilled vinegar
- 3 tsp sugar, more or less to taste
- 1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
- Plenty of black pepper
- 1/4 cup milk
- Cook macaroni in lightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside.
- Mix mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Splash in enough milk to make it pourable. Add pickle juice for extra flavor. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Place cooled macaroni in a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing. Toss and add more dressing if you’d like. The dressing will seem a little thin, but it will thicken up as salad chills.
- Stir in olives, roasted red peppers (or pimentos), pickles, and green onions. Add more of any ingredient if you like. At the end, splash in a little more pickle juice and stir.
- Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Sprinkle with sliced green onion to serve.
And I personally think cold pasta salads taste better the next day and the day after that!