Thursday, March 26, 2009

HHDD #26: Roasted Capsicum & Chickpea Pasta

What a difference a roasting makes. Sometimes things that wouldn’t normally appeal transform themselves into the sublime when put through extreme conditions – like diamonds, and people, and bell peppers. Add heat (or pressure) and a rock turns into a brilliant gem, a girl becomes a queen, and a crunchy red bell pepper which I don’t really enjoy turns into a soft, sweet, succulent piece of deliciousness. I say, magic does exist for those who believe!

I was never fond of red bell peppers. Call me unsophisticated, but I never properly made friends with its flavour and texture when in its crunchy, semi-raw state. So I lived in ignorance, unaware of the pleasure that waited down capsicum lane after a good roasting. Now I am a convert. Roasted red bell peppers are one of my favourite things. Especially since roasting them is eye-crossingly easy and the rewards are tremendous. When I see those shiny, bright red specimens in the market, a round of roasting is never far away.

But even as I line up for every capsicum-roasting opportunity, I still found myself late for this round of Hay Hay It’s Donna Day, where our lovely host Soma of eCurry has chosen Donna’s Chicken & Roasted Capsicum Pasta. Thankfully she has been kind enough to extend the deadline to Monday, March I, and all of you, still have a chance to join! And I encourage you to do so – especially if it’s warm and busy wherever you are, and making a fresh and simple pasta dish would be very welcome!

You can find the original recipe here at eCurry. For my entry, I changed things around a little to suit one of my favourite causes – recycling leftovers and avoiding food waste! Instead of the roasted red peppers and chicken in the original recipe, I used the leftovers of this Roasted Capsicum and Chickpea Salad which I had made the night before. In keeping with the spirit of this round, I tossed cooked short pasta (I used fusilli) with the leftover salad.

The salad itself is a cinch to make – chickpeas and roasted capsicum are tossed with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic (and salt and pepper!), showered with fresh chopped parsley, and topped with chunks of garlic-infused goat’s cheese. When I find myself with leftovers, I usually chuck everything in the processor and blitz it into a delicious dip. With this round of HHDD upon me though I decided to turn it into a pasta. Just as with the original HHDD recipe, it is a combination of fresh flavours, with the lemony dressing providing the “sauce”. The goat’s cheese tends to melt and blend with the dressing when tossed with the hot pasta, which may be bending the rules a bit, but it was still very light and, as it is on my shores right now, summery. Toss more freshly chopped parsley in before serving!

Totally by accident I realized that I also made this vegetarian! So if you are vegetarian, love Donna Hay, and do not want leftovers to go to waste...this one’s for you :) If you believe roasting is a magic spell cast on capsicums to turn them enticing...this is also for you! If it’s summer where you are...this is also for you! If you think we can emerge brilliant and all the better from difficult and taxing situations...this is for you too!

*** Hay Hay It’s Donna Day was created by Barbara of Winos and Foodies and is now under the care of Bron of Bron Marshall.


Elyse said...

This dish looks fabulous! I think the transformation by heating is totally amazing. Roasted red bell peppers are such a wonderful treat!! I can't wait to try out this dish; it looks delicious!

Soma said...

Joey, i absolutely love the way you "dressed" your pasta... yes the refreshing lemony flavor is awesome ! keeping up quite by this season. & great use of leftover.. No u have not bend the rules, it's a light dressing & a great one too..

Thank you so much for your lovely entry! For roasted bell peppers, i am a BIG fan!

Sarah said...

Beautiful photo!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delightful pasta salad! I love that combination!



inadobo said...

Ok. This looks really good. I agree that roasting is akin to "magic". Great photo!

Le @HC said...

Mmm.. i should try a hand at this event.. Nice pic.

veron said...

I don't really like red bell peppers either but I agree that roasting turns them into something else. This looks delicious , Joey!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Elyse! Thank you :) Roasted pepper are really amazing!

Hi Soma! I’m so glad you enjoyed my entry :) Thank you for choosing such a great theme and for being a wonderful host!

Thanks Sarah :)

Hi Rosa! I love this combi too :)

Hello Inadobo! Good and simple...hehe :) Roasting is so transformative!

Hi Le@HC! Hay Hay It’s Donna Day is one of my favourite events :) Join us!

Hi Veron! It really does! As it does with most veggies :)

Paz said...

I love your dish. I love the colors, too. ;-)


Katrina said...

I thought you'd posted the salad we had, then I realized you'd recycled it. How clever you really are at that! When I have leftovers, I usually just eat them as they are, but you turn them into something else so they seem new again. The salad was delish, so I'm sure this was, too.

I'm okay with bell peppers, but love them so much more when roasted, for sure!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Paz! I love how these roasted peppers add such a vibrant color to any dish :)

Hi Katrina! Necessity is the mother of invention! :) And although I can eat leftovers just as they are well, it’s not that easy to convince C ;) This works well with the pasta – kinda like a grown-up macaroni salad :)

Bharti said...

What a description! The pepper changing it's flavor is def. magic. I like the combination with chick peas.

Daniel said...

I love dishes like this that satisfy any kind of audience. Your veggie friends can eat it, your frugal friends can cook it, even your food-snob friends will love it too.

Thanks for sharing!

Casual Kitchen

Freethinker said...

Stuffed bell peppers are among our favorite in the household. Among those we've already done werebell peppers stuffed with: mushroom, corned beef hash, ground pork, cheeses as toppings, the possibilities are endless!

Ling said...

Am cooking up a bag of garbanzos right now! Idea for leftovers, if any: mix with some beaten eggs and chopped herbs, and make a fritatta... my solution for most leftovers!

Emailed you a coconut rice recipe, let me know if you didn't receive it?


Bron said...

Oooh Joey! I love your rendition, making use of your leftovers, chickpeas, roasted capsicum - which I'm also a big fan of, so much better than's just perfect! Really!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Bharti! I love the pepper/chickpea combination too :)

Hi Daniel! Me too...I try to make things that everyone can eat...well, most of the time, heehee :)

Hi Freethinker! That sounds delicious! Must try stuffing some of these peppers soon!

Hi Ling! Yes I got the recipe...thanks so much! It sounds super yummy :) A frittata is another perfect way to use leftovers :)

Hi Bron! I’m glad you like it :) Thanks! Always a good thing when leftovers get used :)

Erin said...

This looks incredibly good!

Midge said...

How pretty; the colors are so striking! And I like the fact that it's lemony; perfect for summer. ;)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Erin! It was really yummy :)

Hi Midge! Yes exactly! I foresee using a lot of lemon in the coming months :)

Paula and Skip said...

Hi, just found your blog and I am going to try this dish. The pic is beautiful but even more though it sounds delicious. Thanks. Paula

nayna said...

i love chickpeas! and i'm not a big fan of capsicums in raw form, but roasted... they're just so sexy! hehehe. great dish, joey :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Paula! Thanks for stopping by! Hope you like it! :)

Hi Nayna! I do too (love chickpeas)...”peas especially for chicks” is what I like to say, haha :) And roasted capsicums are sexy! :)