Piperade is a Basque specialty, a stunning saute of red, green, and yellow bell peppers scrambled with eggs fortified with paprika. Why not replace the eggs with pasta? You can certainly omit the ham if you're trying to reduce your meat intake.
- 4 cups penne (penne are like "quills," pasta tubes with ends cut on the diagonal)
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into penne-size pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into penne-size pieces
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into penne-size pieces
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 thin slices prosciutto, Black Forest ham, or Canadian bacon, cut into thin slivers (1 to 2 ounces - optional)
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (with juices)
- 1 to 3 teaspoons hot paprika salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 ounce feta, Machego, or other sheep's milk cheese (optional)
1. Cook the penne in at least 4 quarts of rapidly boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander, refresh under cold water, and drain well again.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, preferably nonstick. Add the peppers, onion, garlic, and prosciutto and cook over medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, paprika, salt and pepper, and half the parsley. Cook until the tomatoes yield their juices and the mixture is moist and saucy, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the penne and bring to a boil. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or paprika to taste. The mixture should be highly seasoned. Sprinkle the penne with the remaining parsley. Grate the cheese on top, ifusing, and serve at once.
277 Calories per serving; 9 g protein; 5 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 51 g carbohydrate; 16 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol.