Nina’s Pepper Pasta

One of my favorite parts of traveling with my boyfriend to visit his mother in Europe is being able to cook with her. She speaks a tiny bit of English but speaks mainly German. I speak a tiny bit of German but speak primarily English. So, when we cook together it is a bit of a game of charades as I am sure you can imagine.  Me- “Um….coconut, well, it is ROUND (Picture hand gesture, speaking loudly). Und sweet like honig (honey). Mit (with) haar (hair) on the outside (again, hand gesture to the hair on my head). You can make melch (milk), or use the fleisch (meat) for cookies or pies. ” Nina- Oh! Kokos?!” Me-“No couscous- coconut.” Kokos? No, coconut! and on and on until one of us finally understands (this time it was me, realizing she was saying coconut and not couscous, it took quite awhile.) Really, its hilarious!

The blessing of cooking though, is that we have very few of these moments as I can just watch her and take notes of how she makes these recipes that my boyfriend treasures (and of which, until now, none of these are written down for future use!). Below, find one of my favorite recipes of hers which has become a comfort food of sorts for us. Deliciously simple to prepare, and especially lovely when it is pepper season at your farmers market and you can snag purple, yellow, orange, red, green and multi-colored peppers. If you want to add some animal protein feel free to saute up a few diced chicken sausages, shred some extra chicken into it or even add some poached shrimp. But I would recommend you try the sauce just as is the first time. It is so satisfying and with plenty of different flavors abounding. As Nina would say, Guten Appetit!

Of course I had to feature Nina, giving a caring stir to her lovely sauce!

Nina’s Pepper Pasta Sauce

Serves 4-5
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 different colored peppers, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • ½ c. white wine
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • pinch dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • grated parmigiano-reggiano, if desired for serving

      1. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium. Add a nice swig of olive oil and add the sliced yellow onion. Cook until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the sliced peppers and sauté another 5-6 minutes.
      2. Meanwhile, if you have a small mortar and pestle, crush the sliced garlic with a big pinch of salt. Otherwise just add the 4 cloves sliced garlic along with a big pinch of salt along with the tomato paste. Stir to combine.
      3. Add the white wine and cook a few minutes until reduced by about half.
      4. Crumble the bouillon cube over the top and add the crushed tomatoes and dried thyme. Now pop the lid on, turn the heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. *Add a pinch of sugar to balance the acid from the tomatoes if you feel like the sauce is just “missing” something. It will help!
      5. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over your favorite cooked gluten free pasta, sautéed white beans, or creamy polenta.
    Happy Healthy Eating! ~Giggles