Tag Archives: bell peppers

RLB’s Warm Pasta Salad

REB’s brother makes the most amazing warm pasta salad. We’ve made it a few times and I’ve posted pictures of it on Flickr, but I decided it was time to post the recipe since I actually asked REB to tell me how much of what he put in.

This pasta salad evolved when REB and his family were in Vermont, where they vacationed every year when they were growing up (right through college, actually). They own a share out there and trek out there for a week. Apparently one time while out getting groceries, they wanted to get this pasta salad that looked uber delicious, but cost quite a bit (common in Vermont: the land of organic, delicious food). REB’s brother, who we’ll call RLB (/wink), said he could probably make it, so they bought some ingredients, went back to their share, and he made it. It was a success.

The first time I had this dish I was in heaven. it’s so simple and reminds me of summer and also reminds me of REB’s family. We try to make it a few times a year, but it makes a TON so be prepared to have leftovers for 3-4 days. This easily serves about 8-10. I’m sure it should be served as a side dish, but it always is a main dish for us.

Here’s what you’ll need:

•1 1/2 pounds Penne (that’s 1 1/2 boxes ;))
•1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
•1 red bell pepper, chopped
•1 orange bell pepper, chopped
•1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
•1/4 cup (basically cut a smaller half) red onion, chopped
•1 8 oz. block fat free mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
•1 can medium whole black olives (or whatever olive you prefer…we think black works better than green in this dish though) NOTE: save about half the liquid from the can
•1/2 cup olive oil (I know that sounds like a lot, but you’re making it in a big vat, so it’s not THAT bad
•1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce (more if you want a real kick)
•1/2 cup red wine vinegar
•1/2 the liquid from the can of olives
•Couple splashes of balsamic vinegar (you don’t want this dish to be sweet though, so 1-2 splashes will be fine)
•S&P to taste

A disclaimer:


In addition to the block of mozzarella cheese, we also buy fresh mozzarella. We don’t use the whole thing, but this is what we top the whole dish with (just a few pieces) so it kind of melts into ooey-gooey-cheesy-heaven as you eat it. This is totally optional and you’ll have leftovers of this cheese to make an antipasti platter or Caprese salad or whatever.

On to the cooking!

Boil water and cook the pasta according to the package. Drain and set aside. Add the dressing/liquid, half the cubed cheese and stir. Then you add the vegetables and the rest of the cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Top with the fresh mozzarella if you want, or it’s ready to go! We eat it warm, but it really tastes best if you let it sit a day and then reheat it. I don’t know why, but it does. Or you can have it cold as a side dish.


It’s the perfect summer dish and yes, it has a lot of dressing, but it’s well distributed so it’s actually quite light. I love it! And the best part is eating it for the next three days. Enjoy!

Rainbow Pasta

Michigan has graced us with four consecutive days of beautiful Springtime weather.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal, except, this time last year it snowed for the last time for the season. And it snowed a LOT.

I know it’s coming. I know it. We always get one more dump of snow and then winter is officially over (usually) the second week of April.

I’m not going to go over the logistics; I’m thoroughly enjoying this weather and hope to continue doing so for a few more days.

In lieu of the warm weather I made a most delicious pasta dish full of roasted vegetables. It just makes me think of Spring and warm weather!

You’ll see why I call it Rainbow Pasta if you keep reading.

Rainbow Pasta starring:


•1 pound Farfalle (bow tie) pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
•3 carrots, peeled
•1 red bell pepper (or 2..they roast up beautifully!)
•1 yellow bell pepper
•1 green bell pepper
•1/2 cup grape tomatoes
•1/2 red onion (or a whole one if it’s on the small size)
•1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings (marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley)
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•1 cup pasta water
*S&P to taste

Start by preheating your oven to 450ºF

Peel and cut the carrots into thin strips. Do the same with all the other vegetables.

See why I call it Rainbow Pasta?? So many pretty colors! Makes me antsy for Spring!
You could also use summer squash, zucchini, eggplant…whatever you like! I haven’t met a roasted vegetable I didn’t like.

Place all the vegetables onto a baking sheet in their own little piles.

Drizzle some olive oil all over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Toss them carefully and lightly, but try to maintain their little piles as best you can.

Put them into the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.

While that’s happening, start boiling your water and cook your pasta. I used Farfalle pasta, or bow tie pasta. Really, you can use any kind of pasta you like. Penne would work great, or rigatoni. I just had bow tie in the house and it’s one of my favorite kinds of pasta, so that’s what I used.

After 10 minutes, check on the vegetables and stir them around a bit. At this point, sprinkle the herbs on top and put them back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

This is what they look like when they come out of the oven. The vegetables are done when 1). you can smell them (and believe me, you can!), 2). they look a little wilted, which lets you know they’ve roasted beautifully. More importantly, the carrots are tender and soft.

Let them cool while the pasta finishes cooking. You can also get your grape tomatoes ready. The ones that were bigger, I cut in half. But for the most part you can leave them whole. When they’re in the pasta, they’ll burst in your mouth with amazing flavor – so delicious!

You can also grate your Parmesan cheese.

I buy the real stuff. I’ve said it before, but it’s true: using quality ingredients makes a world of difference. I’m also a food snob when I want to be ;-)

When the pasta is done, measure out 1 cup of the pasta water. The starchy water will help mix all the ingredients together and since we salted the pasta water when it came to a boil, it’ll intensify the flavor of the dish even more! Mmm! Mmm!

Drain your pasta and return it to the same pot (no use dirtying a new dish). Pour all your vegetables (carefully!) into the pot and stir.

Pour a little bit of the pasta water and stir a bit more. Add in the cheese, tomatoes and the rest of the pasta water, and give it one more good stir.


Grate some more cheese on top – honestly, you can’t have enough cheese – and enjoy!

It’s such an easy dish to prepare and it’s colorful, fresh and flavorful. I’m sure you’ll love it!