Pasta with Peppers and Saffron-Garlic Olive Oil
I love simple recipes. If something doesn't work for me, its usually because I have too many flavors competing with each other. Here's a very simple recipe that produces an exotic and sophisticated meal.
The saffron-garlic olive oil recipe comes from Marlena Spieler's The Vegetarian Bistro. Her recipe uses fresh peas, but I felt my beautiful fresh English peas would be drowned in the strongly flavored olive oil. Happily, I had a beautiful orange pepper! I had so enjoyed yesterday's pizza with grilled vegetables that I decided to grill the pepper along with chunks of red spring onion. This worked beautifully and filled the house with the most wonderful aroma!
Saffron has a slighter bitter honey taste and imparts a wonderful yellow coloring to dishes. In this recipe, the saffron is ground into salty garlic in a mortar, then soaked with lemon juice and olive oil.
Pasta with Peppers and Saffron-Garlic Olive Oil (adapted from The Vegetarian Bistro):
2-3 cloves garlic
1 pinch saffron threads
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz pasta (I used A. G. Ferrari's Gramigna)
1/2 tsp olive oil (to grill the veggies)
1 large orange pepper, cored and seeded and cut into strips
1 large red spring onion, roughly chopped or sliced
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes
Cook your pasta per directions. In a mortar, crush the garlic with salt. Add the saffron threads and crush into the garlic-salt. Add the lemon juice and olive oil.
Add the 1/2 tsp olive oil to a grill pan (mine is a Circulon) and grill the pepper and onion over medium high heat, turning as needed. When done, a few vegetables should be slightly charred, but they should still have crunch. Season vegetables.
Combine the pasta, saffron-garlic oil and vegetables and serve with grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes.