~Fresh, flavorful, and filling~
- Kosher salt
- 12 oz mezzi rigatoni or other short tube shaped pasta (I actually used the spiral kind)
- 2 bell peppers (red and/or yellow) halved, stemmed, and seeded
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup almonds (I used whole almonds from the bulk section of the grocery store)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 8 oz bocconcini (small fresh mozzarella balls)*
- 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves torn
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the broiler and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the pasta to the water and cook as the label directs. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Shake off the excess water.
- Meanwhile, place the bell peppers cut-side down on a foil-lined broiler pan, add the garlic and broil until charred (7 - 8 minutes).
- Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover, and set aside for about 5 minutes.
- Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and toast, shaking the pan, for 4-5 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
- Squeeze the garlic from its skin onto the cutting board (this is fun). Add 1/2 tsp salt and mince/mash the garlic into a paste with a large knife (so was this).
- Peel the roasted peppers and slice into strips; transfer to a large bowl. Add garlic paste and drizzle with olive oil. Finely grate about 1 tsp lemon zest into the bowl and squeeze in all of the lemon juice.
- Add the bocconcini, basil, almonds, pasta, 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Then toss together and serve.
I enjoy finding recipes that don't have meat in them, but are still filling. This was a complete meal and even though my husband was skeptical ("But where's the chicken?" The man loves chicken.) he quickly changed his mind once he began to eat it. Becoming less dependent on having a meat for a protein at every meal is not only good for the environment, but also for your budget. If you have any meatless meals that you adore, please feel free to send the recipes my way!