Smooth, creamy, and bursting with summer flavor! Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce is a summer essential and perfect for a quick meal on pasta, grilled chicken, or vegetables.
A College Education
In my junior year of college, I took a road trip with my roommates up to Oregon to visit my sweet mate’s parents and her childhood home. Jacksonville, Oregon in the fall was one of the most romantic towns I have ever visited. I can still see the fog rolling over the mountains as you cross into Oregon from the California border. It was a welcome break from college life, especially from the food they served us. Many kids gain what they call the Freshman 15 when they head off to college. Not me. My mom was an amazing cook and dorm food with its “surprise” sauces was not my thing. Fortunately for me, they had a pretty good salad bar I frequented that sustained me.
Needless to say, on our trip to Oregon, Mrs. Magallanes made this amazing grilled chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Pasta that was a welcome deviation from dorm food. In fact, it was so good, that I asked her for the recipe. Twenty-seven years later, I still prepare Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce every summer. I have adapted her recipe a bit because I don’t usually have Italian dressing around but feel free to substitute the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard for 1/4 cup Italian dressing to make life simpler. Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce is one thing I still remember from my college education. Thank you, Mrs. Magallanes.
Roasting Red Peppers
Theoretically, you could buy a jar of roasted red peppers and prepare this recipe in five minutes flat. But there is such a depth of flavor from roasting your own red peppers, that I think you will be hooked and make them again and again. Roasted red peppers are great on sandwiches, diced on pizza, tossed into salads, blended into hummus, and incorporated into sauces.
There are two ways you can roast your peppers: on the grill or under the broiler in the oven. You could also roast them over the flame of a gas stove but I never wanted to stand there that long. Technically, that makes three ways. My preferred method is under the broiler, only out of convenience (our grill is covered so it feels like such a hassle to remove the cover). Mental, I know. I included a video below for the oven method from Mary’s Test Kitchen.
The Recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
- 6 red bell peppers, roasted (or one jar of roasted red peppers)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 T Champagne Vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/4 rind preserved lemon, chopped (optional but amazing)
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup heavy cream or coconut cream (dairy-free version)
Roast your peppers either on the grill on medium high heat until all sides are blackened or under the broiler in the oven. Remove and place in a brown paper bag to steam and losen the skin. After 30 minutes, peel the skin off and discard.
Once your peppers are ready, add them to a food processor along with the remaining ingredients and processs until smooth.
Use on top of your favorite pasta or spoon over grilled chicken. Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce would even be amazing drizzled over grilled veggies. EnJOY!
Feel free to use 1/4 cup Italian dressing of your choice in place of the 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T vinegar, and 1/2 tsp dijon mustard. I don't usually have Italian dresssing around so I just improvised. Either way, it is an amazing sauce!
I also add Preserved Lemon to this sauce because the salty tart of the lemon takes it up a notch. If you haven't prepared my Preserved Lemons recipe yet, make sure you check it out. They are my favorite condiment that I use throughout the year in many of my recipes.