Oh. My. God. Let me tell you about my afternoon yesterday. It involved a phone call to my bank, two calls to my old apartment complex, and another call to a collection agency. All over an accidentally canceled check. It ended with my dad writing a check for something I don’t think any of us former roomies thought we should’ve had to pay (Thanks, Dad!). It was terrible. And so frustrating. Especially since I was using Skype to make the calls and the connection wasn’t great. It was also extremely frustrating because I moved out of my old apartment way back in July.
I’d like to say that after all the phone calls I went and made this, but I didn’t, I made it for lunch before the madness ensued. For dinner I made naan, which I had been craving after going to an Indian buffet over the weekend. It was great, and working with the dough and knowing it was something I (well, the bank and the apartment complex) couldn’t screw up was a relief. This pasta with roasted tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers totally has elements of comfort food as well, though. It’s so simple, but with an interesting flavor profile. Slightly sour from the vinegar but also sweet and with an occasional bite from the onions.
I have another story about this, too. I wanted to serve this with a creamy parmesan polenta, but after getting back from the grocery store I realized that rather than grabbing polenta I had grabbed the practically identical bag of semolina that was next to the cornmeal. Oops. You’ll have to wait until later to get a recipe for parmesan polenta. Instead, I went with my go-to quick meal: pasta.
I’m sure we’ve all been there. It’s late, you don’t know what to cook, you forgot to go grocery shopping and now it’s Sunday and all the stores are closed…pasta is always the answer. But there is one thing I won’t do unless I am in a serious bind and that is serve straight-up store bought pasta with straight up store bought sauce. I don’t mean to sound like a pasta sauce snob, and I’m not, so don’t get that idea. Really, I know nothing about Italian cooking except what I’ve learned through watching cooking shows and reading. But even just sauteing some onions makes a jar of sauce from the store sooo much better.
This is a great alternative to store-bought sauce because, as I mentioned before, it’s simple and has some interesting flavors. Plus, for those who are set in their pasta-with-red-sauce ways, it’s heavy on the tomatoes. It’s also got the basil, olive oil, and onion you’d expect to find in a typical red sauce. It took me a while to come around to balsamic vinegar but sometime in the past few years I was converted and, oh man, I’m so glad that happened.
Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes, Onions, and Bell Peppers
Adapted from Picture Perfect Meals
Makes enough to top 2-3 bowls of pasta or polenta
- 1 lb. tomatoes (about 4 medium), cut into sixths
- 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
- 1/2 a red bell pepper, chopped (or use a whole, I was going with what I had available)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Spread the tomatoes, peppers, and onions on a baking or casserole dish with edges (like a 9 x 13 pan). Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the dried basil and black pepper.
Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until tender.