In August 2002 I accompanied Robert to a conference in Napa Valley. There were several excursions offered for attendees and spouses, and I elected to go to a cooking demonstration at the Culinary Institute of America followed by a tour of the St. Helena Olive Oil Company. The appeal to me was, of course, the cooking class, but I remember nothing about it other than the beautiful building that housed the CIA.
The St. Helena Olive Oil Company tour, however, was engrossing, and I was enthralled by its founder, Peggy O'Kelly, She is a fascinating entrepreneur and a single mother of two daughters. I bought several of her products and signed up for her email list.
I have continued to purchase products from her over the years (her raspberry balsamic vinegar is a favorite of mine), and periodically she sends interesting emails with recipes and stories (currently she and her daughters are living in Florence for a year, and I've been enthralled to hear how she's gone about enrolling the girls in school over there and about the wonderful local people, culture and cuisine they are experiencing).
Last year Peggy sent this recipe, and it has become a favorite winter dish at our house. It's not at all complicated and doesn't take a long time to prepare. Vivian can eat about half of it in one sitting!
3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
3 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1" slices
3 yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1" slices
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Italian Seasoning (or other Italian seasoning)
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups St. Helena Olive Oil Co. Red Heirloom Tomato Sauce (I love her sauce, but you could probably substitute any plain, not too thick pasta sauce)
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and ¼ more for topping
½ cup grated smoked Mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Fontina cheese (or plain Mozzarella, but I really think it's better with the Fontina)
Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and seasonings. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast at 450° for 20-25 minutes.
Cook pasta in a large pot of water for about 7 minutes. It will continue cooking in the oven so you don't want to overcook it at this point.
Drain pasta and combine with vegetables, tomato sauce and cheeses. Pour into a 9x13x2" baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.
Aren't the vegetables beautiful? My store did not have regular yellow squash so I bought these little ones instead. They were cute but a bit pricey. The zucchini looked a little small to me so I purchased a few extra
This is her Red Heirloom Tomato Sauce and the cheeses after I've chopped them. Fresh mozzarella is too moist to grate
Vegetables roasting - you can't believe how good they smell!
Ready for the oven. This dish only holds about two-thirds of the recipe, so I put the rest in a smaller dish and freeze it for another time
Sometime I serve this with a baguette and a green salad, but if I'm feeling lazy, I call it a one-dish meal!
I unintentionally contaminated all of the pictures on my blog when I changed my privacy settings on Flickr. I am working backwards to correct them all, but it is quite a tedious procedure! If you encounter a post with error messages from Flickr where the pictures should be, then I haven't gotten to that post yet. Please let me know and I will update it immediately. Thanks for your patience!