Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Whole Grain Penne with Sweet Red Pepper, Ginger and Feta


I've been seduced, I admit. I fall helpless. It's all those luscious pasta recipes out there in blogland. They've been luring me in, and taking me captive, prey to my own noodle cravings. First, it was the Proud Italian Cook's butternut squash lasagna (scroll down for that one), and now it's the brilliantly creative Culinarty's weeknight pasta dish. In twenty minutes, sweet red peppers are simmered with fragrant ginger and garlic, then smothered with tomatoes and a drizzle of cream and feta over whole grain penne. It's an unusual combination of common and available ingredients. I love dinners like this! For one thing, I had everything I needed on hand and only about twenty minutes to get food on the table. For another thing, this dish is healthful, but still feels naughty with that little drizzle of cream and sprinkle of feta. And finally, it's downright scrumptious, familiar and exotic in the same bite. So go ahead and allow yourself to be seduced by this passionate pasta. One bite and you won't regret it.
Money Saving Tips: The whole grain pastas are generally more expensive than their white flour counterparts. My favorite brand is Barilla. When you find the whole grain pastas on sale, stock up for greater nutrition. Still, a simple pasta dinner is still one of the most affordable ways to feed a family. You can easily add in some meat for additional protein also.
Whole Grain Pasta with Sweet Red Pepper, Ginger and Feta

Slightly adapted from Lore at Culinarty
Estimated Cost for four servings: $6.00
Notes: I also added a plain chicken breast for the Quiet Man, browned in the olive oil, then removed and added back into the simmering sauce.
8 ounces box durum wheat penne pasta
4 green onions (greens only)
1 14.5 ounce can Italian style diced tomatoes, blended smooth in blender
1 large red bell pepper
1 small handful of fresh parsley (save some for garnish)
4 Tbsp cream of half and half
2-4 Tbsp Feta – crumbled
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt – to taste
Freshly ground pepper mix (red, white, green and black) – to taste
Directions
Heat the olive oil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Remove the top, seeds, and membranes of the pimento pepper and slice into thin strips. Toss them into the saucepan and let them soften on low-medium heat for about 10-15 minutes (if your strips soften quicker, there’s no need for you to wait 10-15 minutes), stirring every now and then.
In the meantime you can peel the ginger with a spoon, then finely chop the peeled ginger.
Begin cooking the pasta according to package directions.
Add the chopped ginger and garlic to the saucepan and give it another stir. Sauté for 2-3 minutes then toss in the crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper mix and stir again.
Chop up the green parts of 2 green onions and add them to the sauce. Simmer on low heat, partially covered, for 5 minutes. You might need to add 2-3 Tbsp of water during these 5 minutes (to keep a sauce-like consistency), depending on how watery your crushed tomatoes are. I didn’t need to so it all comes down to what brand you’re using.
Chop up the fresh parsley leaves and add them to the sauce. Let the sauce cook, partially covered, for another 2-3 minutes, then remove it from the flame and set aside.
Plate the cooked pasta, add some sauce on top then spoon 1 Tbsp of cream (per plate) on top of that. Crumble ½ Tbsp of Feta on each plate, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
Coming Tomorrow:
Barefoot Thursdays:
Butternut Squash, Corn and Roasted Green Chile Pot Pie with Pico De Gallo

46 comments:

Lisa said...

Interesting combination! It looks great.

Mary said...

What a nice combination of ingredients! Feta with ginger is something I haven't tried.

Maria said...

I posted pasta today too! It is always a favorite! Your combo looks great!

Marjie said...

This is really pretty! I love colorful food; I swear that the colors make the flavor ever so much better! My dearly beloved would have a fit if I served him a meal without meat, too.

VeggieGirl said...

There's definitely a lot of luscious pasta recipes in the blogging world - you've got that right!! :0)

Loooove that dish - great mix of flavors.

Katherine Aucoin said...

You have me curious with the combination of the ginger, garlic and feta. I'm have to give this a try, it looks fabulous.

Catherine said...

What a great flavor combination. This looks magically delicious!

Dee said...

I'm currently obsessed with red peppers. I've been having peperonata every which way - with chorizos and pasta yesterday, swoon. You can be sure, I'm saving this recipe. Thanks Prudy!

Kelly said...

Looks fantastic...
what brand of whole wheat pasta did you use?
I have tried my kids to eat the wheat pasta and it was a disaster..
I will try again..maybe it was the brand that was gross??

Amy said...

Yum!! I love anything with feta!!

jennifer rogers said...

that sounds wonderful..... i love pasta and especially love how affordable it is!

Prudy said...

Kelly:
Get the Barilla Plus in the yellow box. It is a no white flour pasta with a combination of whole grains plus ground legumes. It's not gummy or heavy like whole wheat flour but it has a great health profile plus protein.

Sara said...

Looks delicious & easy! Great combo for me! We love pasta at our house. It always goes over well with the kids.

Deborah said...

I'm easily seduced by pasta meals, too. This one has me!!

1freshstart said...

Oh, wow that looks good! What would you sub for feta? I'm allergic to goat's milk. I look like Barney after a bite!
~Cat

Emily said...

Wow Ginger . . . interesting combo! It looks mighty tasty though!!!

Okay another nail biter for ya with Miss Audrey . . . "Charade." It doesn't hurt that the one only Carey Grant shares the screen with her in this one, and to add a little weirdness . . . Walter Mathau plays a bad guy!

Mandy said...

I love the idea of including ginger with the feta. Looks and sounds delish!

Lore said...

Thank you so much for trying the dish and sharing it with your readers.
I'm really glad you guys liked it so much :D. It makes me soooo happy Prudy!

Allie said...

MMMM feta got my attention I love that stuff. Great combo of flavors.

Aggie said...

Very tasty looking and sounding! Pasta is my weakness, I'll try it any way! I would have had to sneak some chicken in for my hubby too!

Prudy said...

Emily:
Of course Charade! Who could forget Carson Dial? I love it! Plus it's got Henry Mancini for the music, just like Wait Until Dark.

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

Hmmm. Red peppers (or any peppers for that matter) don't agree with me. I may take this for a spin with some of the butternut squash instead...

Birdie said...

I've never tried whole grain pasta, but this looks good. Maybe I'll be able to sneak in a few extra grams of fiber with this recipe

Cathy said...

I really can't get enough of weeknight pasta dinners. It's always an easy way to get something on the table quickly, and make everyone (relatively) happy. I've been wanting to switch to whole grain pasta for years, but can never quite get myself to pull the trigger - I always think about the very heavy, very wheaty WW pasta of yesteryear. Barilla in the yellow box, you say, Prudy? Okay. I'll buy some. I trust you THAT much!! This recipe sounds wonderful!

Beth said...

I would never have thought to use ginger with pasta - Im going to have to try this one I think

Emiline said...

Mmm, the more the pasta the better!

Looks fabulous.

gigi said...

Oh my another good one. What are we to do but keep on cooking!

Anna M. said...

This looks so delicious, Prudy! We love pasta at my house...thanks! =)

Yasmeen said...

Prudy,I wish i could get a bite of that flavorful penne:)

Candy said...

This does look really tasty and quick!

The Blonde Duck said...

Lore knows how to make good treats. I can't wait for that pot pie you're whipping up tommorow!

The Blonde Duck said...

Lore knows how to make good treats. I can't wait for that pot pie you're whipping up tommorow!

Michal said...

ginger? really? you've never let me down before, so i know i should trust you. :)

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

That makes my mouth water! I love feta.

anudivya said...

Lovely Prudy. Another great way to save up on these whole grain beauties would be to buy them at the bulk section. I do that all the time at the local health food store.

Mary Ann said...

Sounds so good to me and it looks delicious too. I love peppers and ginger,so pretty much I think I could go swimming in this and be ok with it. Yum!

Girl Japan said...

Ginger, feta, what a lovely way to serve up Pasta, you amaze me with all your recipes Erin = )

The snaps are so colorful and full of YUM! At first sight I thought it was a huge ball of Mozzarella...

This looks so yummy, it is only Thursday am here but I could do this for breakfast any time of any day..

jenjen said...

That pasta looks beautiful! Can't wait to try it!

Patsyk said...

I love trying new pasta dishes! This one is going on my list!

Coby said...

Just let me grab my fork! I'm in - yum!:)

Steph said...

That looks delicious, as always!

Peter M said...

Ahhhh red peppers and feta...a flavour combo I'm familar with and love.

I'm intrigued with the addition of ginger...must try as I'm like that.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Did I ever had pasta with ginger? I can't remember, so maybe I didn't. I must try it now. And I love feta in everything!

Grace said...

like most everyone else, i'm fascinated by the inclusion of ginger--i think it would do very nice things to a pasta dish. count me in as someone eager to try it!

Emily Rose said...

ginger and feta? what a great combo- I never would have thought of it on my own! this looks like a good quick weeknight meal!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Ginger and feta? I'm taking your trusted word on this exotic dish Prudy! I'm trying to imagine how it would taste!