Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pasta.
I’m on a bit of a roasted pepper kick lately. You’ll know this if you made Roasted Red Pepper Hummus a couple of weeks ago. For the hummus we used roasted peppers from a jar but today we’re roasting our own.
Why? Because we can. Because it’s easy. Because it’s fun. Because they smell really, really good.
When was the last time you got to cook something until it was totally black on the outside and still tasted great?
Let’s roast some peppers!
Here’s what you need:
Red Bell Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Basil, Pasta, Heavy Cream, Butter, Parmesan/Romano Cheese, Salt & Pepper.
Roasting peppers is easy and fun. Because I have a dumb, flat top electric stove, I roast my peppers outside on the grill. If you don’t have a grill, you can roast peppers directly over the flame of a gas stove or in the oven under the broiler. If you’re doing these inside, just be sure you keep a close eye on them….no walking away to watch tv or yell at the cats.
Oh, and this seems obvious but I think I’ll point it out anyway….be sure to remove any stickers that are on the peppers before you roast them. Roasted adhesive isn’t the flavor we’re going for.
Out to the grill! Plop your clean, sticker free peppers right on the hot grill.
I have 3 burners on my gas grill going at about a medium level. I want the grill temperature to get hot, hot, hot but also want the peppers to roast and not just char.
Close the lid and go away for about 5 minutes. When you come back, using tongs, carefully inspect the bottom side of the peppers.
Are they getting black marks like these? Great! If not, turn the heat up a bit and go water the patio plants for a few minutes.
When they are good and black and starting to shrivel up, turn them over to roast the other side. Close the lid and come back in about 5 more minutes. Continue to roast and char the peppers on all sides, turning them when they get black. This takes about 20 minutes total.
When the peppers are almost completely black on all sides. Turn off the grill and put the roasted peppers into a large zipper bag. Seal up the bag to steam the peppers. Don’t worry, the bag won’t melt.
Bring the bag of peppers inside and let them rest and steam (at least 10 minutes) while you make the rest of the sauce.
Chop up a medium onion (about 1 cup) and 3 cloves of garlic.
Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large pan (I’m using a non-stick pan to make my life and cleanup a little easier) and saute the onions for 3-4 minutes until tender but not browned.
After the onions have a few minutes head start, add the chopped garlic right on top of the onions and saute for a few minutes more. If you toss the garlic in right away, it will burn and become bitter. The onions help protect the garlic from cooking too quickly.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and drop in 1/2 pound of your favorite pasta. I suggest something small like bow ties, penne, or fusilli that will have lots of nooks and crannies to catch all of the sauce.
Turn the heat down to the lowest setting (or off) and let the onions hang out while you prepare the peppers. By now the peppers have really steamed up the bag and have gotten even more shriveled.
Move the peppers from the bag to a cutting board and cut off the stem end off each pepper. Cut them in half and remove any seeds and white membranes inside the pepper.
Turn the peppers over and using a paper towel, gently wipe the black skin away from the roasted flesh of the pepper.
Wipe until most of the little black bits have been removed and the delicious roasted pepper remains.
Some black specks will (and should) remain. Flavor!
Place the cleaned up peppers in a food processor or blender. Give them a QUICK whirl to crush them up. My personal preference is to leave them quite chunky – about the texture of salsa.
If you don’t have a food processor or blender, no problem. Simply chop the peppers into small chunks with a good, sharp knife. Be sure to save as much of the juice that comes out of the peppers as possible.
Add the crushed peppers to the pan of onions and garlic and turn the heat to medium low.
Stir in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Now we have some serious sauce.
Season with salt and black pepper to taste — for me, that was about 1 teaspoon each.
Drain the pasta and add it directly to the pan of sauce.
Chop up lots of fresh basil by stacking the leaves up and rolling them together like a basil cigar. Slice across the little bundle — careful of your fingers! — to make strips of basil.
The fancy French cooking term for this is chiffonade. Pull that one out next time you’re playing scrabble.
Add lots of fresh basil and grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup) to the pasta. Serve with a little extra cheese on the top.
If you’re going to obsessively take pictures of your food, don’t pick a yellow pasta dish. I need a food stylist. And a personal stylist. And a personal shopper. But that’s a whole other blog and a whole other set of weirdness.
Besides, this pasta is so good it won’t be in that yellow dish for long.
Here’s the recipe — adapted from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman
P.S. This recipe is Vegetarian but I won’t tell anyone if you want to plop a couple of grilled shrimp or maybe a link of Italian sausage up there. Most of the time I keep it just plain and simple, as is.