Have you ever been doing a television interview and been all like, “I just try my best and work really hard. I’m just so lucky to have such great fans. This one’s for YOU, fans!” Then you blush and do your best princess wave, pick up your air guitar and start the opening licks to Uptown Girl. No?
Just me then. Alrighty.
This week has been the sort of humbling, mom-in-the-trenches, peanut butter in your hair kind of situation that would bring Donna Reed to her knees. It’s been so exhausting that its driven me to daydreams about being some sort of rockstar that covers Billy Joel hits. In them I have my own dressing room equipped with bottles of champagne and silk robes and roses. I have my own personal makeup artist and hairdresser. Matt Lauer comes to personally escort me to the Today Show stage in Rockefeller Plaza.
And then I come to, realize I’m standing in the bathroom applying a god-awful shade of mauve eyeshadow, trip over a keyboard shaped like a cat and bang my knee on the toilet.
One of few great (and non-imaginary) things that emerged from this trying week was an incredible pasta sauce. It’s not glamorous. It’s not difficult and it won’t win any blogging awards for creativity or inventiveness. But it is creamy, satisfying, and a healthy weeknight meal for the whole family.
Since my successful foray into vegetarian cuisine, I’ve been anxious to work with roasted peppers again. There’s something about their sweetness, the flavor that roasting brings out in them that I can’t get enough of. Raw? Won’t touch ‘em. But roasted until they’re sweet and tangy? Perfection.
Throw them together with two of my other favorite vegetables—zucchini and carrots—and you’ve got a winning combination that makes a killer pasta sauce. It’s thick enough to coat tube-shaped noodles (my favorites), and makes a big enough batch that you could get two dinners out of it, or freeze half for a hectic night.
So the next time you’re daydreaming about having your own personal assistant who will peel grapes while you relax on a chaise lounge, wake yourself and whip up this sauce. It won’t clean the blackberry jam off the ceiling for you, but it will solve that whole “what’s for dinner” dilemma with ease.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a rousing rendition of Just the Way You Are to sing. My public awaits.
Pasta with Creamy Roasted Vegetable Sauce
Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 55 min
Tube shaped pastas work well with this thick, chunky sauce. It would also be a wonderful in lasagna! Makes approximately 5 cups of sauce. Serves 8-10.
- 3 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- salt & pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 6oz can tomato paste
- 29 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 c milk
- 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
- 1 lb or more of your favorite pasta
Preheat oven to 450F. Dice the peppers, zucchini and carrots into 1/2″ pieces. Toss with olive oil, oregano, basil and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once during cooking. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes or until garlic becomes aromatic. Add the tomato paste and saute 2 minutes more, stirring often. Whisk in the tomato sauce, milk and roasted vegetables. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (you may need to partially cover pan with a lid or splatter guard—sauce will be thick). Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve topped with parmesan cheese if desired.