I have to confess that I have never been much of a cyclist. I finally learned how to ride a bike—mostly because I was embarrassed that my younger sister was (literally) riding circles around me.
We would go out riding occasionally, and I rode a bit when I was in college, but it has never turned into a full-blown hobby, partially because my lack of height means I can barely touch the ground while on the seat, and it always freaks me out just a little bit.
I keep thinking I need to get over my fears and ride more, though, not only for my health but also to save some gas money here and there.
With the Bike Across Kansas folks coming through our area this week, I’ve been thinking a bit about it, although I’m certain you’ll never see me sign up for such an ambitious trek.
I keep thinking the benefit for those folks is they likely can eat whatever they want on their way across the Sunflower State. Carbo loading is probably a must to keep up.
So, if you’re like me and not planning on biking across our great state but would still like to eat like it, I have a great pasta dish to share with you this week.
This recipe comes from “Sweet Cindy’s Honey.” You can find her on Pinterest @sweetcindyshoney or on her website at https://sweetcindyshoney.com/. I added onion and garlic to my version below and changed up how the peppers were roasted.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 8 ounces dried pasta I used medium-sized shells
- 1/2 small yellow onion diced
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Wash and dry your bell peppers, and drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of oil over the peppers, using your hands to coat them thoroughly. Place them on the baking sheet, and turn the broiler in your oven on high.
- Let the peppers char on each side under the broiler, checking on them every few minutes until the outsides of the peppers are blackened on all sides.
- Remove the peppers from the oven and transfer them to a large bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let them sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Cook your pasta according to package directions. When it’s done, save about 1/3 cup of the pasta water in case you need to thin your sauce.
- In a skillet, heat another 1/2 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add in the diced onions. Saute until they are soft and toss in the garlic. Saute for just a couple minutes until the garlic is fragrant and just starting the brown. Remove from heat.
- In a blender or food processor, add the other two tablespoons of olive oil, the onion/garlic mixture, feta cheese, honey, chili pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Carefully remove and discard the skin from the charred peppers, discard the seeds, and then rough chop the peppers before adding them to the blender.
- Blend the mixture until it is smooth. If it is still thicker than you like, blend in a little pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. (If the sauce got a bit cold, add it to your skillet, along with the pasta, to reheat it a bit.)
- Serve immediately with the cooked pasta.
You can easily add a protein, too. We sauteed some shrimp to add to the mix, but it would also be delicious with chicken or even a rope sausage. You could also wilt some spinach into the sauce, if you wanted to.
The flavor of the sauce was fabulous, and it reheated really well, too. It was kind of nice to do something other than tomato sauce with pasta for a change.
This was definitely a nice, filling dinner. Now I need to get back on my bike so I can justify making it again.
This piece first appeared in print on June 15, 2023.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.