Ask and you shall receive! I posted last night's dinner on Instagram right before we sat down to eat, and several people mentioned that they would like the recipe, which I'm more than happy to share! This pasta dish comes from Food Network Magazine, with some minor tweaks (at the bottom).
12 ounces mezzi rigatoni or other short tube-shaped pasta
2 bell peppers (red and/or yellow), halved, stemmed and seeded
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup almonds
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves torn
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the broiler. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta 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 to 8 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover and set aside about 5 minutes.
Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and toast, shaking the pan, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
Squeeze the garlic from its skin onto a cutting board. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt; mince and mash the garlic into a paste with a large knife. Peel the roasted peppers and slice into strips; transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic paste and drizzle with the olive oil. Finely grate about 1 teaspoon lemon zest into the bowl and squeeze in all of the lemon juice. Add the bocconcini, basil, almonds, pasta, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; toss.
This is a pasta salad, but I always serve it hot. If there are leftovers, though, they are delicious cold, so you could really eat this either way. Because my husband prefers meat with his dinner, I usually add either sauteed chicken sausages (I love Aidells Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese, shown above) or simple grilled chicken breast that's been marinated in Italian dressing and then chopped. I usually add raw spinach in the last step, which wilts nicely once the hot pasta hits it. If you can't find the small mozzarella balls, it's perfectly acceptable to cut up a big one, which I often do.
This can also be make gluten free by switching out the pasta with a gluten free variety, which I've done before. If using sausage, make sure it is a gluten-free version, or just stick to the grilled chicken.
This recipe is amazingly tasty and is easy to make, but it took a couple of times to coordinate all the things going on. It's not complicated, just a lot going on at once and totally worth it. It makes a ton and like I said, it's great for leftovers. Enjoy!