Makes 4 servings
A spectrum of sweet bell peppers lends vibrant colors and sweetness to this pasta sauce. Add a dash of hot red-pepper flakes to enhance the flavor with piquancy as well as sweetness. Pair the dish with Riesling or Gewürztraminer.
8 ounces penne
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch-wide strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch-wide strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch-wide strips
1 red onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup Merlot or other full-bodied, plummy red wine
1/3 cup basil chiffonade
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the penne according to package directions.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic; stir constantly for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato and wine; reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is nearly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in the basil, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
When the penne is done, drain well. Return it to the pan and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
To serve, spoon the bell pepper topping over penne in shallow bowls. Garnish with pepper, Parmesan, and pine nuts.