Pasta with Peppers, Onions and Beans – 3 Shades of Red in a Healthy and Delicious Dish
I don’t think you can ever get bored with pasta (at least I can’t!). There are so many sauces you can serve it with and so many shapes you can choose from. My favourite pasta shapes are orecchiette and casarecce. I like them not only because of their form but also because when I bite into them, they seem to me to be firmer than others. But in truth, all types of pasta will be firm, if you cook them al dente (from Italian “to the tooth”). The majority of packets give instructions on how long you should cook pasta to have it al dente but if not, then, in general, the standard cooking time should be shortened by 2 minutes.
Al dente pasta not only gives a better texture to dishes but it is also healthier: firmer pasta has a lower Glycemic Index than the softer or overcooked one. And lower GI ensures a gradual rise in blood sugar which helps to keep under control glucose and lipid levels (important for diabetes) as well as hunger (important for everybody who wants to maintain a healthy weight).
So how to have healthy pasta dish? Cook it the right way. And how to have even healthier pasta? Serve it with loads of vegetables like for example in the below recipe, where I combined it with three red vegetables to get a delicious, complete vegetarian Pasta with Peppers, Onions and Beans.
Pasta with Peppers, Onions and Beans
Very healthy pasta with three red ingredients: beans, onions and peppers.
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Preheat a grill in an oven.
Place the quarters of the peppers on a baking tray (skin side up) and put under the hot grill until the skin is black and blistered (it will take about 10-15 minutes – the time depends on a grill).
When done, put the peppers to a plastic bag, seal it and leave for at least 10 minutes (this will make it easier to peel the skin off).
Heat the olive oil in a big frying pan, add the sliced onions and fry them on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until soft and caramelised (but not burned!). Half way through add sugar and seasoning.
Peel off the peppers, cut them into slices and add to the caramelised onions together with the red beans, heat up.
Drain the pasta but save half a cup of the pasta cooking water.
Add the pasta to the frying pan, stir, check seasoning. If the dish is very dry, you may add a few tablespoons of the saved pasta cooking water.
Serve sprinkled with extra olive oil and grated Parmesan.