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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sweet and Hot Pepper Relish Pasta - Gluten Free Optional

Summer conjures up emotions of carefree days and uncomplicated meals. Running through sprinklers and washing cars mean more than slaving in a hot kitchen. It just feels like the right time to simplify life.

At the beginning of summer, a jar of Sweet and Hot Pepper Relish came to me as a secret ingredient. Admittedly, this seemed like a challenging ingredient; most people would agree that this is an item enjoyed as is, nothing really needs to be done to it.

But my goal with secret ingredients is to make an actual recipe out of it, so I needed to pull out my thinking cap.  But summer-lovin means it had to be elementary, like tossing in a pasta dish that has the versatility of being served hot, cold or room temperature.

My love for all things pickled and relished is not a secret. I've been known to eat spoons of tangy, fiery and vinegary substances directly from the jar. I did question whether the sweet side of the relish would be too sweet for a savory pasta dish, but coupled with the chewy pasta, hot pepers and the salty cheese it worked great.

Boil pasta and mingle the ingredients; this recipe couldn't be easier. And it's an all-weather kind of dish to boot. Perfect for picnics with no fear of mayonnaise sitting in the heat. Fat and happy just pushed the easy button for you.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: I used a gluten free pasta from Whole Foods (made from potato flour and soy) for this dish; choose your favorite pasta brand.

The North Prairie Sweet and Hot Relish was a secret ingredient from Marty and Jenny (much appreciated!) You can find this on line or pick up a similar jar at your nearest grocery store.

Sweet and Hot Pepper Relish Pasta

Dried pasta (1/2 box)
Sweet relish (a few good spoonfuls)
Colby or cheddar cheese, cubed (handful)
Parmesan cheese (enough to grate over the top)
Basil (roughly 5 fresh leaves)
Olive oil (a good drizzle)
Pepper and salt (as needed)

Boil the pasta according to package directions, drain. Pour the pasta in a large serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil. Add a big spoon of sweet relish, the torn basil, cheese and fresh black pepper. Toss well. Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Serve while warm or let cool; your preference.

This is one of those easy recipes, don't complicate it by trying to measure out the ingredients. Just toss and taste. Add more or less of something based on your taste preference.


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