Eat this Mascarpone & Pepper Penne Pasta tonight!
That doesn't take a lot of effort...
Easy-Peasy, Breezy, and...
You don’t have to be a natural at cooking to make it L👀K effortless!
If you’re like me, every so often, I get in a mood where I don’t have much effort to cook.
When this happens, and my cooking mojo just isn’t flowing quite like it usually does, anything I force-cook comes out half-assed and mediocre at best. It’s not at all like when I’ve got my timing down and blissfully rolling along enjoying the process of cooking. So instead, it turns out overcooked, under-cooked, or seasoned way too much or too little.
To combat this happening, over the years, I’ve learned to “plan” for those days when my mojo takes flight to the normal relaxing rhythm of everyday cooking bliss. In a nutshell, I’m talking about planning out weekly meals allowing for those days when things are all off-kilter.
This easy Mascarpone & Pepper Penne Pasta recipe is one of my go-to meals perfect for those kinds of off-kilter days; it’s super delicious and vegetarian-friendly too!
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What are go-to meals?
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Here’s How to Make One of my Favorite Go-to-Recipes -
Mascarpone & Pepper Penne Pasta
This meal is so simple and one of my favorite go-to meals to get me back on track when my cooking mojo goes haywire.
The Penne pasta’s angled edges work amazingly in this dish to capture the chunky vegetable sauce made with sweet bell peppers, onions, olive oil, garlic, and mascarpone cheese. The ingredients build on rustic and simple flavors stewed together where everything gets tender and delicious without getting mushy.
You’ll begin by slow-cooking chopped sweet red and yellow bell peppers and onions
…with olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided pot or skillet for about 15-20 minutes or so on medium-low heat. Then add the garlic and season with salt, pepper, and a dash of ground nutmeg to taste, cooking for 2-3 minutes more. As the ingredients cook low and slow, the onions become translucent while the peppers infuse the oil, loading it with flavor.
While the peppers are cooking,
…put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the penne pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions: drain, and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Next, Mascarpone cheese (pronounced mahs-car POH-nay)
…adds a creamy texture when added to the pepper and onions to make the sauce. Add the mascarpone and reduce the heat to its lowest setting to slowly melt the cheese into the pepper and onion mixture, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking water in if needed to make a creamy sauce. This sauce acts as the facilitator to marry all the flavors into one delicious bowl of pasta goodness.
…pour the pepper and onion sauce over the pasta’s top; I like to add a handful or two of fresh baby spinach and toss lightly to coat the pasta nicely. To finish it off, sprinkle with a grating of parmesan cheese!
Picture the recipe step-by-step...
Recipe Timesaving Tips
It never hurts to meal plan earlier in the week to be ready for when you’re in a hurry or for when you aren’t in the mood to do a lot of pre-prep for your cooking. If you know ahead of time that you’ll be making this dish later, here are a few tips to save you time:
- Deseed the peppers, chop them up, and store them ready to go in the refrigerator in tight-sealing containers or zipper bags to use later
- Dice your onion too
- Pre-measure your pasta into a plastic zipper bag if you know you won’t be using the whole bag or box, or
- You can always pre-cook the pasta to al ‘dente and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to finish cooking and add it to your dish
- And remember to reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. It will save in the refrigerator too!
Are you a meat-eater looking for a little protein to add to this dish?
Here are a few suggestions for adding satisfying protein to this dish:
- Grilled, sliced chicken breast
- Grilled, sliced bratwurst
- Sauteéd shrimp
For more easy, healthy recipes that you can meal prep, check out this month’s round-up of ideas in the Meal Prep Collection!
P.S. If you give this recipe a try, let us know how you like it! Leave a comment below, share it, and rate it – it’s super helpful for us and other readers. Just click the blue-green comment bubble on the bottom left of your screen to jump to the comment area below.
And as always, don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #CookingGfreeDeliciously on Instagram. We love seeing what you cook up!
Mascarpone & Pepper Penne Pasta
- Cutting Board
- Heavy-bottomed, high-sided pot, skillet, or Dutch Oven
- Large Saucepan
- Utensils (Cooks Knife, Measuring Cups & Spoons, Large Spoon)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1 large Yellow Onion
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
- 12 ounces gluten-free Penne Pasta cook according to the instructions: drain, and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
- 2 handfulls Baby Spinach about 4 ounces
- Deseed the peppers and chop. Dice the onion. Add with oil, to a heavy-bottomed, high- sided pot over low heat. Place the lid on, and cook slowly for 15-20 minutes, occasionally stirring until the peppers soften, and the onions become translucent.
- Add the garlic, season with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg to taste, and cook for 2-3 minutes more. As the ingredients continue to cook low and slow, the onions become more translucent while the peppers infuse the oil and spices, loading it with flavor.
- While the peppers are cooking, put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the penne pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions: drain, and reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add the mascarpone and slowly melt the cheese into the pepper and onion mixture, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking water in (if needed) to make a creamy sauce.
- Before serving, add one or two handfuls of fresh baby spinach, tossing lightly to combine, and wilt the spinach.
- To serve, divide into bowls and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese!
(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)
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