After enjoying caramelized banana peppers on a burger recently at a restaurant I have been wondering how I could incorporate them into a recipe – and that is how this spicy creamy pasta dish was created. The onions and the peppers become so sweet when they are caramelized and are great when paired with the three cheeses.
If you want to make this ahead it reheats quite well in the oven if you add a bit of milk and butter to loosen it up again. We enjoyed it as much as leftovers as we did when it was fresh.
Beef Pasta Shells with Caramelized Onions and Spicy Peppers(serves 4)
If you are efficient you should be able to cook the pasta, cook the beef and sauce and caramelize the vegetables simultaneously so first get a bunch of pots on the stove. Fill a large pasta pot with water and put it on to boil. Then choose a large saucepan and put it on medium and a large skillet on medium high.
To the saucepan add the olive oil and ground beef. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fry, stirring regularly.
While the beef is cooking, peel the onions, cut in half and slice. Add the canola oil to the skillet and toss with a pinch of salt and the banana peppers. Stir and toss regularly so they will caramelize and not burn. If they look like they are cooking unevenly or too fast stir in a few tablespoons of water.
Continue cooking the beef until it is browned and cooked through. If there is more than 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan, pour off excess. Stir in the flour and allow to cook until you can no longer see any white. Stir in the milk and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, bring to a simmer and simmer until it thickens, about 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, when the onions are caramelized remove from the heat and reserve. When the water boils, salt the water and cook according the package directions. When cooked, drain and reserve.
When the sauce has thickened, slowly stir in the cheese, and the green onions. Once melted and combined stir in the caramelized onions and the pasta. Taste and correct for seasoning, serve hot.