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Birthday Pasta

When X and I pulled in last Sunday night from our trip north, we were so worn out that we both probably could have gone to sleep without eating, but I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I opened the fridge to see what I had leftover from the week before.

This is the good thing about non-stop recipe testing – I’ve always got some interesting leftovers hanging around.

In this case, roasted red bell peppers and caramelized onions. This was going to be easy.

I warmed up the veggies while the pasta water bubbled away, and we ate dinner outside in the garden. No mosquitoes, no blistering heat. It was a perfect night, a lovely birthday dinner, and a wonderful end to a much-needed break.

And the pretty blue and white vintage serving plate? A 3 euro find at a brocante along the coast. Because it wouldn’t be a weekend away without a brocante, now would it?

Birthday Pasta

Makes two large servings

2 large white or yellow onions

3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 roasted red bell peppers

1 minced clove of garlic

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

about ½ box of penne pasta

half of a ball of mozzarella, torn into bits

chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Caramelize the onions by tossing them in a large skillet with the olive oil and letting them cook on low heat for about a half-hour. Stir them around every now and then, and when they’re a nice caramel color, they’re ready.

2. Go ahead and put your pasta water on to boil.

3. Add the minced garlic to the onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Then chop up the roasted red bell peppers in bite-size pieces, and toss them in.

4. Cook your pasta and add it to the veggies and toss. Taste. Add the bits of mozzarella, stir once or twice, and serve with some flat-leaf parsley and freshly grated Parmesan on top – whether it’s your birthday or not.