Pepper in some flavor with a casserole

I am enamored by the pasta section in the grocery store. I’m amazed at how many shapes are available and often wish I was fancy enough to put some of the exotic ones in my cart.

I was pretty excited with the recipe I decided to try this week, because it called for “farfalle” pasta. If you’re not familiar, farfalle is also known as bow-tie pasta, which makes it sound considerably less fancy, so if you make this for someone, you should definitely refer to it as farfalle. (I looked it up, and it’s pronounced far-fah (pronounced like the “fa” in “father”).

According to the website “Walks of Italy,” it gets its name from the Italian word for butterflies because of its shape. With that in mind, you can wow dinner guests with not only a delicious pasta dish but a little word history, too. You’re welcome.

This recipe comes from the website “The 36th Avenue” and was written by Desiree Campbell. You can find the original at the36thavenue.com/stuffed-pepper-pasta-casserole/. I changed her recipe up quite a bit in my version.

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Stuffed Pepper Pasta Casserole

Ingredients

16 ounces farfalle pasta (something tubular, like penne, would be great, too)

1 green bell pepper

1 orange or yellow bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 tablespoon oil (I used olive)

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

15 ounces tomato sauce

2 cups shredded Colby-jack cheese

Directions

Boil the pasta according to package directions, drain it and set it aside (rinse it with cold water if you want to minimize it sticking together while you’re finishing the rest of your steps).

De-seed your peppers, and slice them into long, thin strips.

In a large pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the peppers and put the lid on the pan. Check on them and stir them around every few minutes until they reach your desired level of tenderness.

Break apart the ground meat and add it to the pan. Sprinkle in the basil, oregano, parsley, onion powder, salt and pepper. Replace the lid and again check it every few minutes, breaking the meat apart more and making sure it’s cooked through.

While the meat is cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

When the meat is almost done, stir in the tomato sauce.

When everything is finished, add the pasta to the pan and stir to incorporate all the ingredients.

Dump the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top it with the cheese.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted and the casserole is heated through.

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With just the two of us, we had quite a bit of casserole left over, but it’s been reheating really well out of the fridge, which has been nice for some great lunches this week.

Joey wasn’t all that impressed with my knowledge of farfalle, but he did like this casserole, which I guess is just as good. We’ve probably been married for too long for me to fool him into thinking I’m fancy any more, but sometimes it’s nice to try.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.