This magical pasta sauce may change the way you think about those cute little snacking peppers. You might associate mini rainbow peppers with healthy snacking, but have you ever thought of them as indulgent? Me either, until I made this sauce.
A few months ago I went a little overboard shopping for produce at Costco and ended up with piles and piles of veggies in the fridge I needed to use up quickly. It was cold outside and I wasn’t feeling the vibe of snacking on cold peppers while it was blustery and snowy, so I started thinking creatively about how I could use those little guys to make something warm and satisfying. The lightbulb went off in my brain. Roasted pepper pasta sauce made with those perfectly sweet little peppers!
This isn’t your average roasted red pepper sauce, and I can’t imagine making it with anything other than mini peppers. Sometimes overshopping at Costco really pays off.
20-25 mini rainbow bell peppers
1 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 c. whole milk
½ c. cream cheese
¼ c. Parmesan cheese
1 16 oz box of pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
PInch of red pepper flakes, if desired
Fresh basil, as garnish
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Roasted mini peppers:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stems and seeds and place them in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil (about 1 Tbsp. or so) over the peppers and add salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands so that all of the peppers are coated with oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet covered in foil. Roast the peppers for about 15-20 minutes or until the skins are dark and wrinkly. Let the peppers cool and then peel the skins off. They are ready to use!
Pasta and Sauce:
Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent (5 minutes). Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not burned (about 1-2 minutes). Pour in the milk and stir, being sure to mix the onions and garlic well. Add the roasted red peppers, Parmesan and cream cheese. Stir until well mixed.
Pour the sauce into a food processor and process until the mixture has a creamy, saucy consistency. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
Drain the pasta and put it back into the skillet, pour the sauce in, and mix together so that the flavors meld together. Add to a large serving bowl and serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Feel free to add protein, such as chicken or shrimp, to this pasta. It tastes great as a vegetarian dish, but is versatile. Enjoy immediately.