Creamy Pepper Pasta

If you've been getting your hands dirty in a garden this summer and made the mistake like we did of planting not one, but two banana pepper plants, than this is the blog post for you!  Since this was our first time planting a garden, we didn't exactly know how many tomato plants and pepper plants we would need for a solid 'yield' of produce.  We actually thought we were skimping when we only planted six tomato plants and six different pepper plants.  Now, like many, we have tomatoes and peppers coming out of our ears!  I'm poppin cherry tomatoes in my mouth every five minutes, and we have a small funeral for every tomato or pepper that has to be tossed.  Needless to say, we're on the lookout for lots of yummy recipes that call for veggies, and I fear that maybe just maybe, I may be sick of fresh tomatoes by the end of the season (as if that's even possible).  

The other night, I took a recipe that I usually cook with sweet yellow peppers, and substituted them with a few of these mildly spicy banana peppers.  Banana peppers are the bright yellow peppers you usually see pickled as toppings at Subway or Jimmy Johns.  They are a little spicy, but mildler and sweeter than a jalapeno.  Out of the garden, they're slightly bigger than a jalapeno, and chop up like a bell.  They're excellent on sandwiches, in salads, and as it turns out, the perfect addition to this quick, easy, and fresh pasta dish.

This one's a keeper.  It's no fail, and like most pastas, you can add or change what you want to personalize to your liking.  As I said before, I usually use yellow sweet peppers, but really liked the bite of the banana peppers in it.  This time, we also added a pound of spicy Italian sausage, only because it was in our fridge and needed to be used.  I actually like it better without the meat.  And topped with some garden fresh basil, this hit the spot after a hot day outside.

Creamy Pepper Pasta 
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 sweet yellow pepper (or 2-3 banana peppers, depending on heat and size), chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce (buy your favorite - we use Bertolli or Classico)
1 lb. bowtie pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tbsp. or so of dried)

1.  Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet; Add onion, pepper, and garlic, and saute until tender.

2.  Stir in flour.  Gradually add milk, cream, and salt; bring to a boil.  

3.  Once you're boiling, mix in spaghetti sauce and reduce heat to a simmer; simmer for 10 minutes.  

4.  While you're simmering, boil your pasta noodles in a large pot of lightly salted water until al dente.  Drain noodles and pour back into pot.

5.  Pour pasta sauce over cooked noodles and toss with basil and Parmesan.  Serve immediately (however, the leftovers are soooo good, too :))