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George Venegoni's Famous Stoplight Pasta


  I concocted this light and healthy pasta dish several years ago.  On one occasion when serving it as a side dish to family members, one of my brothers-in-law, Jim, looked at the colorful platter of pasta and exclaimed, “Oh, Stoplight Pasta!”  We’ve been calling it by that name ever since.




  • 2 each red, yellow and green peppers
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 10-12 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 oz package of spaghetti or linguine (I sometimes substitute farfalle - “bow tie” pasta - but spaghetti and linguine makes it more fun to “twirl” it around your fork)




   Peel and slice the garlic lengthwise. 


   Place 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil in each of two large skillets.  


   Place all of the garlic in the first skillet and begin sautéing at low temperature.    


   While the garlic is sautéing, wash, core and seed the peppers. Because its flavor is more bitter, I use a little less of the green pepper (a ratio of 2:2:1 or 2:2:1½).  Use any ratio you prefer, depending on your tastes.  Cut the peppers into julienne strips (or as close to julienne strips as you can, considering they are rounded vegetables).  Set aside.  


   Peel and slice the onions into rings – only use the larger, center rings of each onion.  The remaining portion of the onions can be put aside and used in other recipes.


   When the garlic in the first skillet is golden brown on both sides, squeeze out the last of the juices with a fork or spoon and discard the garlic cloves.  


   Place all of the peppers into the garlic and oil mixture and begin simmering slowly – let them cook at low temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the peppers to absorb the garlic flavor.


   Place the raw onion “rings” into the second skillet and begin browning the rings.  Allow them to take on a nice, golden brown color, turning them over and adding salt and pepper to both sides.  So that the onions brown really well, you may actually need a third skillet (and more olive oil) to hold all of the onion or you may need to brown them half at-a-time, using the same skillet.   


   While peppers are cooking and onions are browning, bring a large pot of water to a boil. 


   If using spaghetti or linguine, break into thirds (or halves or quarters – depending on the length you prefer).       


   Add salt (to taste) to the boiling water and then the pasta.  Allow pasta to cook per the instruction on the package.  


   When pasta is done, drain and place hot pasta into the pepper mixture and toss well under very low heat.  


   When peppers are uniformly blended into the pasta, add the browned onion “rings” into the pasta and pepper mixture and blend them well.    


   When all is blended together well, mill in a little coarse black pepper (to taste), toss and mill in a bit more pepper and then place “Stoplight Pasta” into serving platter.  It’s light, healthy but with a lot of flavor.  Serves 6-8 as a side dish.