Tag Archives: pasta sauce with red peppers and artichoke hearts

The mother of invention: A lovely pasta sauce born from laziness

22 Feb

In a pinch, pantry remnants combine to make a tasty pasta sauce.


“Necessity is the mother of invention.” This is a popular proverb, a nifty way of saying that challenging circumstances can often push us to come up with creative solutions. I’d like to offer up an amended version of this saying: “Lassitude is the mother of invention.”

I am a lazy, lazy gal. Especially when the weekends roll around. Sundays are usually spent lolling on the living room couch, catching up on magazines, books, and bad TV, hanging out in stinky PJs until the cats try burying me like the waste in their basement litter boxes. I purposely do all the housekeeping and laundry on Friday nights, just so I can embrace true do-nothingness on Saturday and Sunday. Since we usually eat out or order in on weekends, I can defer the grocery shopping until Monday after work, giving me a chance to wrap my head around meals for the week and then ply the store aisles without weekend crowds.

This past Sunday, a homebound Hubby and I couldn’t decide on dinner plans. Neither of us wanted to leave the house, and nothing on the delivery menus seemed appealing. The fridge and freezer were barren of all but beer. So I reluctantly separated myself from the sofa and scoured the cabinets to see what non-perishables we had on hand, from which I could make some semblance of a meal. The result was a surprisingly good, incredibly easy, and relatively healthy pasta sauce. On Day 1, we enjoyed it “fresca” style. On Day 2, as suggested by Hubby, we stretched out the leftovers by adding vodka and half-n-half.

One sauce, two ways, two days. Long live slothful Sundays!


Lazy Gal’s Last-Resort Sunday Sauce


  • 12-16 oz. whole wheat linguine, cooked and drained per package directions
  • 16 oz. jar roasted red pepper strips, drained
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1.4 oz. envelope Knorr Vegetable Soup/Dip/Recipe Mix
  • Head of garlic, roasted*
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Few tablespoons olive oil
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, to top

This sauce would also be really tasty with feta cheese, and/or served with chicken or shrimp. Get lazy…then get cooking with your own creative twist!

Directions: In a blender or food processor, place the drained peppers and artichoke hearts. In a glass liquid measure, pour the soup mix contents, and cover with 1 c. boiling water.

While the soup mix is being reconstituted, prepare the roasted garlic.

*Steps for roasting garlic: Roasting garlic gives it a nutty, mellow flavor, and a creamy consistency that makes it a delicious add-in to any sauce or spread. Roasting garlic in the microwave is simple and quick! Cut the top 1/2″ or so, exposing the majority of the cloves. Place the head, cut side up, in a small bowl (deep enough to be covered) containing a few tablespoons of water. Drizzle the head of garlic with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and season lightly with salt and ground pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a small plate, and microwave at 50% power for 6-7 minutes. Remove from microwave and uncover, allowing the contents to cool. Once cool enough to handle, the individual cloves will be somewhat mushy, and can be squeezed out relatively easily from their paper-like skins.

Head of garlic before...and after roasting for 7 minutes in the microwave

To the blender, add the roasted garlic cloves, soup mix with water, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and a few teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes. Blend thoroughly to desired consistency (chunky versus creamy), seasoning with salt and ground pepper to taste. Pour contents into a small sauce pan and heat through. Serve hot over whole wheat pasta and topped with shredded Parmesan.

Ready to blend...and blended!

Vodka sauce variation: While heating, add 1 c. vodka and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add 1/2 c. half-n-half, stirring and simmering until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 c. grated Parmesan.

Chunky and "fresca"...or creamy with vodka

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