Thirty Minute Red Pepper Pasta

The start of autumn yanks me back to reality really fast.  Almost overnight, my leisurely dinner preparations from the summer evaporate and our evening meal has to be on the table by 5:30PM. After that, its the baby's bedtime at 6, then homework, church activities and household chores to finish up before bedtime. I keep a few quick, easy recipes around to make for these busy nights, and this one is a recent favorite.  

I use a prepared pesto, but everything else is fresh and it combines in a delightfully satisfying way! This is definitely a recipe to add to your repertoire of quick meals.  


  • 1 onion, sliced into wheels and halved
  • 1 red bell pepper*, destemmed, seeds removed and sliced into thin strips and halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper*, destemmed, seeds removed and sliced into thin strips and halved
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 Tbs butter*
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 oz cream cheese*, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese*, freshly shredded
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 12 oz box of fusilli or penne
*Creative Green Living recommends purchasing these ingredients as organic where available to avoid GMOs, pervasive pesticides and/or questionable farming practices. 

Nutrition information is approximate and may vary based on the freshness and brand of your ingredients. Nutrition information calculated at: Calorie Count.



In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onion. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to brown, and the onions are translucent.


While you are sautéing the vegetables, boil a medium to large pot of water.  Turn off the burner until you begin making the cheese sauce.


Remove the cooked veggies from the pan and set aside.  Do not clean out the frying pan. You are going to use it in just a minute.


Heat your water back up to a boil, if it has cooled down a bit, and once it is boiling, add your pasta.  Briefly stir.


To frying pan you were just using to cook the vegetables, add your butter.  Let it melt down a bit, then add the garlic, salt, and cream cheese pieces.  With a rubber spatula, smooth out the cream cheese until the lumps are gone, then slowly begin adding the milk, a little at a time.


Add the Parmesan cheese to the cream cheese sauce and stir until it has melted down.  Turn the heat down to low, and let the sauce sit for a minute while you drain the water from your pasta.


Add the pesto to your cheese sauce and give it one or two brief stirs.  You don't want the pesto completely incorporated, because the cheese sauce is really good on its own, too.


In a large serving bowl, lay down the pasta first, top with the sauce and then finish with the vegetables.  Serve immediately


About the Author:

Landen runs Measure and Whisk, a cooking blog with a focus on real food. She is a firm believer that quality is superior to quantity, and prefers small amounts of good food over large quantities of cheap food. Deeply disappointed in cheap bacon, she prefers to buy $6 bacon less frequently. Because of this, she typically cooks vegetarian meals for her family.    

Her blog also features photos of her baby, Fox, and suggestions on how to live an eco-friendly and minimalist life, both in and out of the kitchen. Follow her on Pinterest and Instagram for beautiful food photos and pictures of baby Fox.
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