Angel Hair Pasta

April 4th, 2010

I ran into a Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen recipe for a Pasta with Olive Oil & Garlic last month and have been wanting to try it out. I’ve been putting it off because I was afraid the dish would turn out bland. Cori tested the recipe out and with a few minor changes, she said it tasted pretty good. But I still wasn’t motivated to test it out myself. Last night, we went to BJ’s Restaurant for Adam’s birthday dinner and I ordered their “Angel Hair Toscana”. It was the healthiest pasta on the menu (I also ordered the half portion, so it was half the calories), plus olive oil is good for you. The ingredients sounded very basic and similar to the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, but with a few extra ingredients. The pasta was fantastic! It had so much flavor, I was so glad I tried it. After last night’s dinner, it had inspired me to try the Cook’s Illustrated recipe but tweaking it to try to make it taste more like the Angel Hair Toscana. Results were amazing. It tasted pretty similar and has so much flavor. It’s light and healthy (for a pasta dish), I’m still thinking about it after 3 hours from eating it. This is definitely something I will be making again!

Angel hair with roasted peppers, garlic, and olive oil
Makes about 5 servings or so

Ingredients:

2/3’s of a 1 lb. pkg Angel hair pasta
4.5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup garlic, minced
3 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped (see recipe below) OR use jarred roasted red bell peppers (found in condiment section of grocery store)
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (Optional)
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Parmesan, grated
Cooked chicken meat (or any type of meat, like grilled shrimp)

Roasted Bell Pepper:
1) Turn on broiler. Place bell pepper on oven rack. Turn almost every 2 mins with tongs until charred on each side.
2) When the skin is blackened and the skin is soft, transfer them to a bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap or foil for 10-15 min, or until cool enough to handle.
3) Rub or peel the charred skin off. Cut or tear the pepper open to remove seeds and stem.
Can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Directions:

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2) While water is heating, in a medium skillet add olive oil, minced garlic, dried parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook over LOW heat. Once it starts to sizzle a bit, stir constantly until garlic foams and is sticky, 10-12 minutes. (Cook the garlic slowly, so you don’t rush and burn it.) Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes (if using), roasted red bell pepper, and basil.

3) When water is boiling, add pasta and salt liberally (about 1-2 TBLS). Boil for 5 min (or to your preference). When finished cooking pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the rest.

4) When ready to combine ingredients, mix the reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water with the pasta. Pour the olive oil mixture over the pasta and combine. Add the warmed chicken meat and grated Parmesan.

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