This pepper pasta is truly a no-brainer and is one of my favorites from the ‘I am NOT in the mood to cook’ menu here at the casa. If you aren’t familiar with the peppadew pepper let me take this opportunity to introduce you to this sweet, warm, red beauty and super fruit. It is similar in nutritional value to the red bell–low calorie, no fat, loads of antioxidants (vitamin c!), and a nice bit of fiber. They do pack SOME heat (similar to a pepperoncini) but fear not, it scores very low on the Scoville scale. The story behind the peppadew is pretty interesting! In short, about 18 years ago a South African farmer came upon an unfamiliar bush with these small, bright red fruits. Upon tasting this unique sweetie, he realized he had found something very special. He played around with the seeds to perfect the plant and patented the fruit under the name peppadew. He has recently sold the rights and now the pepper is readily available here in the states. You can most likely find them at your local grocer–Whole Foods even has them in bulk at their olive bar–which is the most economical way to purchase them right now. Five years ago my hubby and I were lucky enough to source seeds (very, very hard to do!) through a seed saver from Austria — yep, our babies have traveled a long way to be with us here in Missouri! The plants are late, but heavy producers. This year I hope to have 8-10 plants bearing loads of them for us! If all goes according to plan, there will be a whole slew of peppaDO! recipes on the blog by years end!
So, back to the recipe…Shrimp pairs very nicely with this pepper and adds a little more ‘weight’ to this sauce, but it is truly delightful without it! Toss a big salad, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get ready to enjoy your simple, heart healthy and satisfying dinner!
- 1 package whole wheat spaghetti noodles
- 1 1/2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (Bertolli Tomato Basil for me, thank you!)
- 1 t dried basil
- 1 t dried oregano
- 1 t (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 T EVOO
- 1-2 T diced garlic
- 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
- 1 c (or more) peppadew (piquant) peppers
- 1/4 c peppadew (piquant) brine
- 1/2 -1 # large uncooked shell-on shrimp (optional)
- Garnish of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large saute pan warm the EVOO over medium-low with the chipotle pepper flakes. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, and black pepper and heat for a minute or two. Add the peppadews and juice and stir well. Cook for 3 or so minutes, until it starts to caramelize just a touch. Add the jarred sauce, turn the heat down to low and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook another 5 – 7 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through. Be sure not to over-cook the shrimp or you will have a rubbery disappointment on your hands!
While your sauce is doing its thing, start your pasta by bringing a stock pot full of water (I like add 1-2 T kosher salt and 1/2 t hot pepper to flavor the pasta, but this is totally optional) to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente-usually 11-12 minutes. Drain and do NOT rinse.
Serve the pasta with a heaping scoop of sauce. Garnish as desired!