Penny Pinch Tuesday

I’m going to try to make at least one post every Tuesday about a meal you can make at home that is a) inexpensive b) doesn’t require even a food processor c) is made of ingredients easily found/relatively inexpensive d) can be adapted to one/makes a suitable amount of leftovers.

The pictures will be sort of crap, because it gets dark very early here so everything will be reflected in the harsh glare of overhead lighting. Just warning you now.

This weekend it was Maccheroni ai Peperoni

or as I like to call it, Ziti with Bell Peppers.
or as I also like to call it, Grown-up Hillview pasta*

I’ve adapted the recipe to serve one person with left-overs, and to the fact that I can’t be arsed to measure out 4 tablespoons of olive oil. So, please, reference the source recipe (linked above) for family dining.


olive oil
1 segment of a garlic clove
3 bell peppers (well, I only used half of each color, so 1 1/2, sliced lengthwise)
1/3-1/2 packet of dried ziti
salt and pepper

1. Pour a few glugs of olive oil into a deep-sided saute pan. Take the skin off your garlic segment, give it a whack with the flat of your knife to crush/release the juices. Once the oil has heated up in the pan a little bit (I usually take this opportunity to slice my peppers), pop the garlic in.

2. Put your pasta water on to boil and cover it with a lid. As it’s getting bubbly, keep an eye on your garlic segment. I like to flip it over in the pan so that it browns evenly and doesn’t give the oil a burned garlic flavor. Also, gently swirl the pan so the oil moves around with the clove. It will distribute the garlic flavor in the oil (and it makes me feel like I’m on the Cooking Channel). When the garlic has browned, discard it (though I put it off to the side for awhile before I totally throw it away because it would be my luck that the residual hot oil on the segment would light the contents of my rubbish bin on fire).

3. Generously salt your pasta water, then add your peppers to the saute pan of now-garlic-y oil. You want them to sort of spit at you a little bit. Keep them moving around every once and awhile, but I like to let the peppers brown in certain places, get a touch of color. Essentially, every once and awhile give them a Food Network-style swirly toss. If you’re like me (electric hob) you’re still waiting for the water to boil. Keep playing with your peppers (and if you’re like me, eat dessert first)

4. Water is boiling, put in your pasta and cook until it’s al dente. I usually take the peppers off the heat at this point to prevent them from over-cooking while the pasta is percolating (in the figurative sense of the definition). Drain your pasta and pour it in with your peppers and oil. Toss to coat. Add your pepper, to taste.

penny pinch note:
why buy tupperware when you can just use that washed out container your pre-made soup came in?

That’s a good three dinners if you space out your leftovers well!

*when I studied abroad at Oxford all the girls in my flat made this thing we called Hillview pasta, which was pretty much diced onions, peppers, and garlic sauteed in entirely too much olive oil and poured over penne pasta.


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