This dish came up at a moment’s notice… There was a display of these gorgeous colorful peppers at my beloved Wegmans last week. I was looking at bananas, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw them. It’s my “sidetrack disorder”…you know… the one that makes me distracted when I see a pretty display… Everything falls to the wayside…
And there they sat…glistening from the mist of the produce rain…
Orange, yellow, red, green…
And I had to have them.
They weren’t on my grocery list..
But that didn’t matter.
It never does…
Bananas forgotten…It was a matter of seconds, and they were in my cart. I knew at that point exactly what I was going to make. Pepper Pasta. I haven’t made it in ages, and to be honest, I just don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the kids hate when I make it. The smell of the peppers just wafts throughout the entire house. They hate the smell of it. Jessica gets the hardest hit, because her bedroom is above the kitchen! Needless to say, I’m the only one who eats it, so I eat it for days. …And that’s probably another reason why I don’t make it that often.
But none of that is neither here, nor there. Kids? What kids? I had the peppers, and the wheels were in motion. I ran around the store with the mental ingredient list..and picked up the rest of the stuff I needed to get this pasta made.
There is something to this sauce that is just so delicious..it makes you want to take another bite, and then another, and then another…. I know exactly what it is…it’s the banana pepper rings. They add a wonderful zing to the flavor. Not a spicy hot zing…but just that pop of flavor that makes you go back for another forkful.
The beauty of this pepper pasta, is that you can eat it hot, as a main dish… or cold, as a side salad! I’ve brought it to many parties as a cold salad, and it’s always a tremendous hit! The dish always comes home empty!
Just a quick note: You know how I tend to add things at the last minute, right? Well, this time around, I thought it might be good to throw some chicken in with the pasta. I’m going to be honest here… it was good, but I definitely prefer this as a meatless dish, and I probably won’t add chicken again.
I normally use Farfalle for the pasta, but this time around I used the Campanelle. They’re both a beautiful pasta, and both equally hold the sauce well for this dish.
2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced into medallions (your choice, use the chicken or not)
1/3 pound Campanelle pasta (or your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 red pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1 yellow pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1 green pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1 orange pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1 jar mild banana pepper rings, (or hot, your heat preference)
1/4 cup of the banana pepper ring juice, discard the rest
1 – 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
In a large frying pan, sauté the chicken in the olive oil until fully cooked and browned. Remove from pan onto a plate lined with paper towels. To the pan, add the red, yellow, green, and orange peppers, and shallots. Saute them until they’re browned and semi-softened. Add the garlic, and sauté for another minute or two. Add the banana pepper rings, the 1/4 cup reserved juice, and the petite diced tomatoes.. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
While the pepper sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. You want it to be al-dente.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce using a wire skimmer, and let simmer for about 3 minutes.
If you are planning on serving this as a cold salad, stir the feta and chiffonade of a few leaves of fresh basil into the salad right before you serve it.
If you are serving it hot, garnish the top of the pasta dish with the feta and chiffonade of a few leaves of fresh basil.