Green Chile Corn Chowder – Low Carb Style

Fall Soup Season is full blown and I’m in the mood for warm and spicy comfort food now that the temperatures are finally dropping. This creamy soup stars fresh corn and green chile from the fall harvest. You are going to love it!

What makes this chowder unique is the absence of the potato. Ever since my husband’s diabetes diagnosis, we have drastically limited our carb intake. This includes wiping out my love, the potato. I have found however, that rutabaga can be a delicious alternative and in some recipes, like this one an upgrade. Fun fact, rutabaga turns a lovely light orange when cooked.

A 1-cup serving of boiled cubed rutabaga contains only 51 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrates, including 3.1 grams of fiber, making the net carbs 9 grams. The same amount of boiled potatoes contains 136 calories and 31 grams of carbohydrates, including 3 grams of fiber, which means 28.8 grams net carbs.

Green Chile Corn Chowder

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped – about 2 cups
  • 1 Medium Rutabaga – chopped – about 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 4 cups (32 oz. box) Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 cup Green Chile, the frozen roasted & peeled kind is perfect!
  • 4 Ears of Sweet Corn – just the kernels
  • 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2

Directions:

  1. Skin the onions and cut up into small size chunks.
  2. Wash and peel the skin from the rutabaga, cut off the ends and cut the dense center meat into small size chunks.
  3. Melt the butter in a soup pot on medium heat and add the onions and rutabaga. Sauté for about 10 minutes until onions are becoming translucent.
  4. Peel and chop the garlic add in the soup pot. Stir and simmer for another minute.
  5. Add in the smoked paprika, garlic salt and Mexican oregano. Stir and sauté for another minute.
  6. Pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Test the rutabaga after 20 minutes and see if it is soft enough to slice with a fork.
  8. While simmering, add 1/2 cup of frozen green chile and sliced kernals from 4 ears of corn. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Add the 1/2 & !/2 and simmer until warm all the way through. Serve or save. This soup  is delicious right away or the next day.

Buffalo Cauliflower and Buttersquash Tacos

Late fall screams roasted veggies and I’m always looking for another meatless and gluten free meal. Think smokey red chile and blue cheesey green chile sauce smothering roasted cauliflower, butternut squash and red onions. Yum. This recipe feeds four.

Ingredients:

Taco Filling

  • 1 head of cauliflower cored and flowered
  • 4 cups butternut squash diced
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Korean-style red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup spinach chopped
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Corn Tortillas

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil

Blue-Green Chile Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Litehouse blue cheese dressing
  • 1/4 cup drained, defrosted Bueno Green Chile

White Corn Salsa

  • 2 cups drained, defrosted petite white corn
  • 2 tablespoons drained, defrosted Bueno Green Chile
  • 1/2 lime sqeezed
  • dash of salt

Directions:

Prep your cauliflower, butternut squash and red onion and place into a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, salt, onion powder, Korean-style red pepper and smoked paprika and toss lightly.

Spread on to a roasting pan and cook in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring at the 30 minute mark.

While your taco filling is roasting, make the white corn salsa and blue-green chile dressing. Defrost the frozen white corn until it is room temperature. Add the defrosted green chile, lime juice and dash of salt.I like to throw in a few pieces of chopped spinach for color. Stir and set aside.

In a separate bowl, add the Litehouse blue cheese dressing and defrosted chile. Use a hand immersion blender to puree the two ingredients together. Set aside.

Give your tortillas a smoky char and a crisp texture by heating tortillas them in a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet. I like to plate three torts and keep them in a warm oven while I’m cooking. Do that with three plates and keep the fourth out.

Fill with the Buffalo cauliflower, butternut squash and red onion filling. Sprinkle the chopped spinach, white corn salsa, blue cheese crumbles, blue-green dressing and pomegranate seeds.

Grilled Zucchini Spirals with Rustic Pesto

zucspirals

 

Summer squash overload?

If you are like me, you’ve  roasted it, baked it, sliced it, diced it. Perhaps you’ve even tried spiraling it!  But, have you tried GRILLING the spirals? Well now is the time.

This amazing, easy to make and delicious grilled zucchini spirals with rustic pesto is a huge crowd pleaser even with people who are telling you they can’t possible eat any more summer squash. You can make this as a main dish, it’s great for your vegan and paleo friends.

spiralerReady to try it? Of course you are…

But first…do you have a vegetable spiral slicer? I use the Gefu Spirelli Spiral Slicer from Bed Bath and Beyond. My sister gave it to me for my birthday, it is awesome!


 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups green zucchini spirals
  • 4 cups yellow squash spirals
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

photoGrilled Zucchini Spirals

  1. Preheat your grill to about 400 degrees
  2. Place the green and yellow squash spirals in a mesh grilling pan
  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt on top
  4. Grill over medium-high heat for 20-25 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally to ensure  all the spirals are cooked through.
  5. While the spirals are cooking, make the rustic pesto.
  6. When the spirals are finished, remove from grill and spread over the rustic pesto.
  7. Toss until fully incorporated.
  8. Serve immediately!

Rustic Pesto

photo 2I use my Kuhn Rikon Swiss Pull Chop to make this amazing pesto.  You can also use a food processor, but don’t over process. If you have another chopper, use that. Or, you can even use a very sharp knife and chop finely.

  1. Place the basil leaves, garlic cloves, sunflower seeds and olive oil in your chopper.
  2. Spin and chop until the leaves and sunflower seeds are chopped well.
  3. photo 1Place the rustic pesto in a pasta dish and set aside until the grilled spirals are ready.

 

 

Chorizo Stuffed Poblano


stuffedpoblano

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, loosely packed then finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 pound beef or pork chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 medium onion

Directions:

  1. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan.  Turn to low heat and cover for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
  2. Add 1/2 cup frozen corn, diced red pepper, chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, juice of one lime and garlic salt to the saucepan.  Gently mix until completely integrated. You now have a zesty quinoa salad that I generally serve as a side dish!  But wait, add the chorizo and cheese and mix again until fully incorporated
  3. chorizopoblanosPreheat your gas grill on medium heat to 350 degrees.
  4. Cut 3 poblano peppers lengthwise, remove  seed core. Quarter 1 medium onion. Set aside.
  5. Fill the poblano pepper halves with the sausage mixture. Press firmly into the pepper and allow for a little extra to raise above the edge of the rim.  Place the stuffed peppers on a perforated grill pan.
  6. Depending on the size of your peppers you may be able to fill all 6 halves.  If you run out of sausage mixture, just cut up the pepper into smaller pieces. Arrange extra pepper slices and onion pieces around the stuffed peppers.  Garnish with paprika and a little salt to taste.
  7. Place in the center of your grill and cook for 20-25 minutes until the sausage is cooked through and the peppers and onions are soft.

 

Fast and Easy Spinach & Corn Enchiladas

Fast Easy Veggie EnchiladasI adore red chile enchiladas in the wintertime. The smokey sweet and slightly spicy sauce fills your kitchen with a rich aroma and your belly with absolute deliciousness. My Fast and Easy Spinach & Corn Enchiladas are my husband’s favorite. He likes them better than beef enchiladas; he likes them even more than the traditional New Mexican Red Chile enchiladas I make that take three times as long to create.  I like that I can make these enchiladas and be ready to eat them in less than 30 minutes.

What makes this recipe so fast and easy is the incorporation of prepared sauce.  I use Rick Bayless Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce. Do me a favor, do not substitute for another sauce unless you have tried it and do not it. It is SO much better than any other prepared sauce I have tried.

Another ingredient I really recommend is Marcela Valladolid’s White Corn Tortillas. You can get these at Safeway. I promise you, once you try these tortillas you will be hooked.  Again, not as great as fresh corn tortillas, but hey – this is a recipe for Fast and Easy Spinach & Corn Enchiladas.  Here we go!

Frontera MarcelaIngredients:

  • 12 Marcela Valladolid White Corn Tortillas
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • 15 oz. Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese (swap to a lighter version at your own risk)
  • 1/2 cup defrosted frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup defrosted frozen spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese – divided in two parts
  • 1 8 oz. pack of Frontera Red Enchilada Sauce

Directions:

  1. Begin preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out a large 18″ x 13″ baking sheet. I like to use my old blackened one.  Spray it liberally with olive oil spray.  Place 12 corn tortillas, making 4 rows of 3 tortillas.  Don’t worry when they overlap, that is fine.  Spray the tops of the tortillas again.  Get them really good.  Place in the over near the heat for 3-4 minutes. While your tortillas are warming up;
  2. Dump the frozen corn and spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and zap it for 2 minutes on high. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, empty the tub of ricotta cheese. Add the garlic salt, 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, and the defrosted corn/spinach. Mix well until incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Your tortillas should be done. Pull them out and let them cool a bit. Spray an 11″ x 7 ” Pyrex casserole or other oven-safe casserole dish with the olive oil spray.  Make certain to get the sides as well as the base. Set the dish aside and get ready to assemble your enchilada roll ups.
  4. Cheese Roll Up

    Eyeball about 4 tablespoons or two heaping spoonfuls of the spinach/corn/cheese mixture across the diameter of a tortilla.  Fold one side over and continue to roll.  You should be able to fill one layer of the 11″ x 7″ casserole dish with 6 rolled-up enchiladas.

  5. Open the Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce packet.  Pour about 1/4 of the packet (2 oz.) along the top of the 6 enchiladas.  This just gets the tops of the enchiladas wet enough to coat them a bit and prevent them from sticking to the second layer.
  6. Continue to roll up the remaining 6 enchiladas.  Placing them on top and a little off to the side of the first layer.  Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top, trying to get all the tops of the corn tortillas covered. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese on top of the sauce.
  7. Bake in the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on your enchiladas.  Every oven is different and you don’t want to burn your enchiladas!  You can also cook your enchiladas at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, but that is less fast, even though just as easy.  Serves 4 people.

Summer Garden Ratatouille

Summer Garden RatatouilleWe had a luscious, wet and wonderful summer here in Colorado.  Between my summer CSA and the bounty of the local farmer’s markets fabulous fresh produce abounds!  Warm ratatouille is comforting on a cold winter night, but it is never so flavorful as it is during peak summer vegetable season.

I like my ratatouille chunky and stewlike.  I love this recipe because it doesn’t matter how nicely you chop your veggies.  I chop them big and sloppy.  Everything will cook down in this delicious Mediterranean stew, so don’t worry about perfection here, let your knife fly.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium eggplants, cubed
  • 5 inch stalk rosemary, chopped (1 tsp. dry)
  • 6 big basil leaves, chopped (2 tsp. dry)
  • 1tsp. thyme, chopped (1/2 tsp. dry)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 small zucchinis, chopped
  • 2 medium bell (red & green)
    peppers, chopped
  • 2 garden tomatoes, chopped (14-1/2 oz. can or 1 cup Chunky Marinara Sauce)

Chopped Veggies

Directions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onion and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and continue to saute for 2 additional minutes.
  • Add eggplant, salt, herbs and stir.  Cover and cook over medium heat, about 20 minutes until the eggplant is soft.  Stir occasionally.
  • Add zuchini, bell peppers and tomatoes.  If using canned whole tomatoes break them open with your wooden spoon. Cover and let simmer on medium-low heat until the zucchini and bell peppers are tender, about 10 minutes.  I prefer my vegetables a little more crisp, my husband likes them on the soft side.  I try to find a nice compromise. When I know he’s going to be eating my ratatouille, I usually go 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.

This is what is so great about ratatouille as a summer meal.  I like to accompany room temperature ratatouille with toasted bread and a little olive oil for a make-your-own bruschetta.  It is also wonderful over my zesty Mediterranean Quinoa.  In the winter, a hot bowl of ratatouille is a warming meal on its own.

Savory Fruit-Stuffed Butternut Squash

SavoryFruitStuffedSquash

Mmmm. This savory and substantial stuffed butternut squash dish can stand alone as the center of a meal.  It can also be served as a delicious side.   I adapted this recipe from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook.  Butternut squash can be used interchangeably with other winter squash like acorn or kabocha or even a sugar pie pumpkin.  This recipe serves 4 sides or 2 large main meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and pre-baked
  • 1/2 cup wild rice blend
  • 1-1/4 cup water
  • T butter
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium-sized Granny Smith apple, diced
  • mandarin oranges, sectioned
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • topping: plain yogurt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º and prepare squash for baking by removing seeds, salting lightly and brushing with a little olive oil. While squash is cooking, place rice and water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to lowest setting, and simmer undisturbed for 30–40 minutes, until tender. Transfer to medium-sized bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet. Add onion and sauté for about five minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic, apples, walnuts and spices, and sauté over medium heat about five minutes more. Add the orange sections and saute for an additional 3 minutes.  Add the sauté to the rice and mix well. Season to taste with salt and honey.
  3. When squash is done, fill the halves. I like to mound my stuffing across the length of the squash. Bake uncovered until heated through— about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with yogurt if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Chunky Marinara Sauce

Chunky Marinara SauceWhy buy “spaghetti sauce” when you can make your own, easily and control the ingredients to your own liking and come up with a sauce that tastes SO much better than store bought?  The only answer I can think of is convenience.  And, I do understand that.  But, when you have some time, my goodness, make your own!

I admit that I am picky about ingredients. I prefer organic vegetables and fresh cuts of natural meats if it fits in my budget.  I use just as many generic as brand names, and many are interchangeable to me. However, when I am making my Chunky Marinara Sauce, I will only use one brand of crushed tomatoes, Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil.  I usually use cheaper diced tomatoes in the recipe, but I do not substitute the crushed.  See what you think….

Best Crushed TomatoesIngredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion diced small
  • 4-5 cloves garlic smashed and minced
  • 1 28 oz. can Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 shakes of red pepper flakes
  • (optional) 1/2-3/4  cup vodka*
  • (optional) 1/2- 3/4 cup red wine

Directions:

  1. Add olive oil and butter to a Dutch oven on medium heat.  When warm, add onions and give them a good stir, coating them well.  Let the onions gently sizzle for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the garlic.  Continue to cook the onions and garlic until the onions turn translucent, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Do not allow them to brown.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, two shakes of red pepper flakes, stir and bring to a gentle bubbling simmer.  Now, here is where you make a decision about the optional ingredients.  Add the vodka for a vodka marinara – or – add the wine if you like a rich tasting marinara.  I haven’t tried adding both – for me – it’s one or the other.  Stir the option ingredient incorporating it into the sauce.
  3. Heat on a gentle simmer, mostly covered, for 2 hours.  I leave about a 1/4 inch crack on my Dutch oven. This lets more steam release and helps cook down the sauce so it is nice and thick.  I find myself stirring the sauce about every 20 minutes, checking on its progress.  After 2 hours it is cooked down to the consistency I like.

If you are using the sauce for a meal right away, you are ready to serve.  Typically, I make my sauce on a Sunday and use it throughout the following week or two.  If you plan on storing it, you can.  Just let the sauce cool to room temperature, pour into an airtight jar or plastic container.  You can also freeze it up to 2 months if using an airtight plastic container.

* for a creamy vodka sauce, add 3/4 cups of heavy whipping cream once the sauce has cooked its 2 hours.  Stir and heat through and it is ready to serve. I would not freeze this sauce, but you can store it in an airtight container for two weeks.

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant ParmMy husband discovered he had Type 2 Diabetes in January.  Immediately his diet needed to change.  No pasta, no rice, no potatoes, no bread and of course – no sugar. It’s been a whirlwind of doctor visits and endless monitoring of his blood sugar. It took a while, but he is stabilized now, and allowed small portions of whole grains and other starches.

I adore eggplant.  He has never been a fan.  I’ve made eggplant parmesan in the past, but he has pretty much turned up his nose. I admit, I’ve struggled to find a great recipe that didn’t taste overly greasy or mushy. I also wanted a recipe that tasted fresh and healthy. I went took out Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook and decided to give her recipe a go.  Like Mollie, I too made my sauce from scratch.  This way I was assured there was no added sugar. Amazing!  My husband devoured it. So, here it is slightly revised and more appropriate for smaller proportions and a family of 2-4 people (4 servings).

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 7 inches long)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup Italian or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 cups chunky marinara sauce
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a large baking sheet. 
  2. Slice the eggplants into circles, about 1/3 inch thick. Pour milk into shallow bowl and bread crumbs on to a lipped plate. Dip each slice in the milk, moistening both sides. Then, press on to bread crumbs ensuring both sides are thoroughly coated. Place slices on the baking sheet and bake until tender about 25 minutes.
  3. Spoon some marinara sauce, about 1/4 cup, on to the bottom of a deep casserole dish or 8 x 8 square baking pan. Add a layer of eggplant slices and cover with more sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella over the sauce, then repeat the layering until you’ve reached the end of your eggplant slices. Top the slices with the last bit of sauce and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes.  Casserole should be bubbly and brown around the edges.  Remove from oven and let the the eggplant parmesan set for about 10 minutes before serving.

(Thanks to Older’n Dirt for the nutritional values below!)

450 Calories; 21g Fat (42.2% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 41g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 62mg Cholesterol; 1745mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 3 Fat.

Roasted Red Pepper Rotini Casserole


redrotiniplate

Red peppers were on sale this week, 88 cents per pound!  That’s enough to get me motivated to try a roasted red pepper béchamel sauce instead of traditional marinara in a baked pasta casserole. It’s the new year, and I’m trying to keep it healthy, so this vegetarian dish uses whole wheat rotini pasta. To heighten the nutty flavor of the pasta, I decided to roast the red peppers to increase the flavor depth and use earthy tasting kale instead of spinach.  The results were absolutely delicious.

I have to admit this recipe is a bit complicated.  You could cut time drastically by using store bought roasted red peppers and Alfredo sauce from a jar, but you will be losing the entire flavor. I would still roast the kale. Don’t attempt to skip this step.  You want to cook the greens before adding to the ricotta cheese or you will have a watery, uncooked mess.

This recipe fills a large 9 X 13 casserole dish and should be used for feeding larger crowds of 4-6 people. When serving fewer folks, halve the recipe below.  That’s what I did for my husband and me. There were still be plenty for leftovers the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1 13.25 oz. box of whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 4 red peppers, washed and julienned
  • 8 kale leaves, stems removed, washed and dried
  • 8 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 15 oz. tub of ricotta cheese (whole or skim)
  • 1 egg
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk (skim may be used) at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and reserve.
  2. Preheat over to 350 degrees F and begin to prepare the ricotta filling.  Add the ricotta cheese, egg, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl.  Stir until completely mixed.  Set aside.
  3. Using two large rimmed baking sheets, place the kale on one sheet with the leaves spread open. Kale does not need to be arranged in a single layer. Use the teaspoon of olive oil to lightly grease the other baking sheet. Spread the julienned red peppers and the garlic cloves on the greased sheet. Lightly salt the peppers.  Pop both sheets into the oven.
  4. The kale will cook through first, taking about 10-15 minutes.  Kale should be wilted dark green and warm when ready.  The ends of the kale may even be a little crispy, that is okay.  While the oven is open, give the red peppers a stir.  Remove the kale from the oven and continue to roast the red peppers and garlic for another 20-30 minutes.
  5. Finely chop the roasted kale and stir into the ricotta cheese mixture.  Begin assembling the pasta casserole.  Pour half of the pasta spirals into a lightly greased baking dish.  Spoon the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the pasta. Pour the remaining half of the pasta spirals on top of the ricotta cheese mixture.
  6. You’ll know the red peppers and garlic are done when they are soft and the edges slightly brown.  This roasting process gives the peppers and garlic flavor.  Give them time to cook, you’ll be glad you did. When done, remove the sheet and allow red peppers and garlic to cool. Time to make the béchamel (white) sauce.
  7. Completely melt butter in a heavy saucepan using medium heat. Add flour to melted butter and stir.  When the mixture is a light golden color, add the milk.  Stir continuously until the sauce is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and pour 1/2 of the sauce evenly over the pasta. Arrange 1/2 of the julienned red peppers over the béchamel sauce.
  8. Return the saucepan to the stovetop now over low heat. Add the remaining roasted red peppers and all of the garlic cloves to the reserved béchamel sauce. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Add salt to taste.
  9. Pour the red pepper puree over the pasta evenly.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and pine nuts and a bit more kosher salt.
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Casserole will be warm through, bubbly and golden brown on the top when done.

redrotinicasserole