Pasta In Red Pepper Sauce

Pasta has secured a sure spot in home cooking these days. I've seen many of my friends making pasta at least once in a week, especially for their kids. Though it's just two adults here, I also cook pasta on a regular basis ;)

I guess the ease of making pasta is one of the reasons for it becoming a favoured dish at homes. For me, when it comes to pasta everything depends on the sauce. I prefer the sauce to be flavour packed with a kick to it. I dont like when the sauce is too creamy or cheesy, it's kinda overpowering and ruins the whole dish. I like a well balanced sauce. Well, that's how I like it, but each to her own!

We like the flavour of smoked red pepper and I wanted to try it in pasta sauce for sometime. Apart from the little hassle of charring the red pepper, it's quite a simple and easy dish to make. But, trust me, this sauce is worth the hassle! It's quite different from your usual tomato based pasta sauce. The flavour of the sauce is spot on and when you combine it with some good quality cheese, it's a total package.

If you like pasta, I strongly recommend you to try this.

Btw, if you are a fan of smoked red pepper, check out this Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Chicken Tikka Masala. Also, you can see more Pasta recipes here.

Here is the recipe…

Roast the red bell pepper over a gas stove until the skin is charred black. Use tongs for the same. Place the charred pepper in a bowl and cover tightly with a cling film for 15 mins, to let it steam. This helps to peel the skin quickly. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, rub the skin off. Remove the stem and seeds…

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Heat oil in a deep and wide pan. Add chopped onion and cook till it becomes soft, no need to brown…

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Add minced garlic, cubed smoked capsicum, tomato and salt. Cook till tomato becomes soft. Let it cool…

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Pulse it in a food processor, till it becomes a paste form. It will have a grainy texture. While running the food processor, gradually add 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Pulse till everything is combined. The sauce is ready.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in the same pan and add the sauce. Add chilli flakes, dried Italian herbs and cream cheese (if using) and mix well…

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Add cooked pasta and gently mix well…

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Add grated cheese and gently fold…

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Pasta In Red Pepper Sauce
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Pasta In Red Pepper Sauce

Print Pin
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 3 -4
Author: Maria Jose Martin

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 cups Pasta ( refer notes)
  • 2 med-big Red Capsicum
  • 2 med-big Onion (chopped)
  • 2 big Tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tbsp Red chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp Dried Italian herbs (refer notes)
  • 25-30 gms Cream cheese (optional)
  • 1/2-1 cup Grated cheese (Mozzarella, Cheddar, Gouda, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Colby etc)
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup Milk (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Butter (optional)
  • Salt
  • Oil (I used Olive oil)

Instructions

  • Cook pasta as per package instructions and keep it aside. Keep aside 1 cup of pasta cooking water for later.
  • Roast the red bell pepper over a gas stove until the skin is charred black. Use tongs for the same.
  • Place the charred pepper in a bowl and cover tightly with a cling film for 15 mins, to let it steam. This helps to peel the skin quickly. You can also roast red pepper in oven, you can see it here
  • When the pepper is cool enough to handle, rub the skin off. Remove the stem and seeds.
  • Cut the pepper into small cubes.
  • Heat oil in a deep and wide pan. Add chopped onion and cook till it becomes soft, no need to brown. Add minced garlic, cubed smoked capsicum, tomato and salt. Cook till tomato becomes soft. Let it cool.
  • Pulse it in a food processor, till it becomes a paste form. It will have a grainy texture. While running the food processor, gradually add 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Pulse till everything is combined. The sauce is ready.
  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in the same pan and add the sauce. Add chilli flakes, dried Italian herbs and cream cheese (if using) and mix well. Add cooked pasta and gently mix well. Add grated cheese and gently fold. If you prefer a creamier pasta, microwave milk with butter for a min and add to the pasta and mix well.
  • If pasta appears to be dry, add the remaining pasta cooking water to adjust the consistency. Let it rest for 15-20 mins, for the flavour to settle in.

Notes

I've made this dish with Penne pasta and macaroni.
If you dont have dried italian herbs, you can use fresh parsley. Use 1-2 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley.
Instead of cream cheese, you can use cream to make sauce creamier. In that case, skip the milk and butter too. You can use around 1/3 – 1/2 cup cream for the above qty.
If you want to make it more wholesome, add cooked chicken or mushroom or broccoli to the sauce and continue the rest of the recipe.
If you prefer a smooth sauce, grind it in a blender or mixie, instead of food processor.
Also, if you want to make it a healthier version, use whole wheat pasta and skip cream cheese and milk and butter. Also add only a handful of grated cheese. However I recommend you to try the recipe as such for the first time :)
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