A finished plate of pasta with red bell peppers

How to make pasta with bell peppers, anchovies, and pine nuts

I like pasta with bell peppers as it seems unusual. I don’t expect bell peppers to show up in my pasta. But it works and makes a super light pasta too. The only fat in this recipe is olive oil, plus the pine nuts that I added at the end. But you could do without the nuts. There is no cream or butter or cheese or meat. It’s a pure veggie pasta dish. Or, er, well a pure fruit pasta dish. Peppers, including bell peppers, are fruits.

I must also admit that I am still tweaking this recipe. I have not mastered pasta with bell peppers but I have made perfectly enjoyable dinners with it. Here is a similar recipe that uses the same approach with different flavors.

I also love the technique of blistering the peppers in the oven and then peeling off the skins and blending the peppers to make a sauce. This step I always keep. I’m just shifting flavors around at this point. Bell peppers are sweet and require some special attention. I also like the pine nuts in this recipe but not the way they look on top of the pasta so may add them in a different way next time around.

Pasta with red bell peppers, anchovies, and pine nuts

Serves 2

  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 small handful of pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • 200-250 grams (1/2 a package) pasta – I used tagliatelle, but most shapes will work.
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes until the skins begin to blister.
  3. Toast the pine nuts in a small pan.
  4. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins and seeds of the bell peppers and discard.
  5. Purée the peppers in a blender until smooth.
  6. Cook the garlic, anchovies, and red pepper chili flakes in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until the garlic is golden and the anchovies dissolve. Discard the garlic.
  7. Add the puréed bell peppers to the skillet and blend them together with the oil and anchovies and cook over medium heat for a minute or two.
  8. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente.
  9. Drain the pasta, saving some of the pasta water.
  10. Add the drained pasta and a little bit of the pasta water to the skillet with the bell peppers and toss.
  11. Cook over medium high-heat while tossing for about 30 seconds. Add more pasta water if needed.
  12. Plate, top with the toasted pine nuts, and serve.

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