Much as I need easy dinner ideas, especially on soccer nights, I sometimes get a little tired of making what is quick and easy that the boys love- that I’ll eat because I’m not that picky, but isn’t what I’d make if I were planning according to my own cravings. But today’s easy dinner recipe is one of my all-time favorites. I’d make it even if I wasn’t pressed for time.
It’s from a recipe adapted from one of Top Chef’s Fabio(swoon). And it really is ready in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta. I love how flavorful this is without being too spicy for the kids to enjoy, so while this is one of my favorite recipes, my kids do like it, too. Even my oldest whose one picky eating habit is that he doesn’t like “red sauce” gobbles this up(I just keep him out of the kitchen when I’m making this so he doesn’t see the ingredients and have the chance to tell me he doesn’t like tomatoes or peppers).
I included some of my mom shortcuts and substitutions for an even easier dinner idea.
- 16 oz dried spaghetti
- 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 roasted red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted and salted cashews
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 3/4- 1 1/2 cup of cubed day-old bread
- Parmesan cheese
Timing Saving Tips and Convenient Substitutions
- I get a jar of roasted red peppers. A 12oz jar means I can make this recipe three times.
- I also get a jar of sliced jalapeño peppers for multiple uses. There’s a “tamed” version that will add flavor but won’t be too spicy.
- Finding shallots in my grocery store is almost as hard as finding unicorn meat, so I sub in either chopped white onions or some green onions, whichever I have on hand- it’s usually green onions.
- I almost always have a jar of minced garlic in my fridge, so I tend to use that over fresh cloves
- The cashews are the ingredient on this list that make me cringe a bit, price-wise, but if I only use what the recipe calls for and then hide them in the pantry so no one devours the rest of the bag as a snack, I can make this recipe at least two more time with the same package of cashews.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While waiting for it to boil, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.
- Add red peppers, jalapeño, and shallots(or onion of choice) and sauté for two minutes.
- Stir in cashews, paprika, sugar, tomatoes, and garlic and sauté for four minutes.
- Add spaghetti to the boiling water, and cook until al dente(according to package directions).
- While pasta cooks, pour red wine vinegar into a blender (I use the magic bullet for this part- just be careful as the ingredients are hot).
- Spoon in the veggie mixture and puree.
- Check the consistency of the sauce(you want it smooth but more on the thick side than the thin) and add bread cubes as needed(I usually use about 3/4 cup).
- Pulse until sauce is smooth(you can keep adding bread cubes if desired).
- Drain spaghetti when done and toss with sauce, until coated.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese if desired.