Creamy roasted red pepper pasta comin’ at ya!
This sauce belongs on everything. And I mean EV-ERY-THING. Toss it with pasta, spread it on your pizza, drizzle it over anything in your refrigerator and pantry because it’s oh so yummy.
Can I tell you something? I could eat pasta for every meal for the rest of my life and be completely content. For reals. Lucky for me — the girl who’s trying to eat healthy but can’t help but crave comfort foods all winter long — this recipe is super sneaky and packs tons of veggies right into the sauce. The ultra creamy, stick to your lips alfredo is packed with smoky, tangy, charred roasted red pepper flavor. And perfectly cooked al dente whole wheat linguini soaks it all up.
CREAMY ROASTED RED PEPPER PASTA LOWDOWN:
- This recipe is vegetarian, but could easily be made vegan with your favorite nut milk.
- I like to cook my whole wheat linguini (or any pasta I’ve got on hand) al dente, so that it’s not too soft but still has a little bit of a bite to it.
- The sauce is extra creamy because of the lightened up bechamel — which is so much easier to make than it sounds! (Check out my 3-step process below.)
- If you’d like to add in some cheese, say creamy goat cheese or nutty parmesan, I’d be okay with that.
My white sauce base is a bit of a twist on the classic French bechamel — lightened up a bit and flavored with sautéed onion and garlic. But the process remains the same, and makes the perfect base for homemade macaroni and cheese, creamy soups, and casseroles. You’ll need a medium to large sauce pan, a whisk, and a few simple ingredients to make it happen:
- KICK UP THE FLAVOR: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Puree half of a medium yellow onion in a food processor or blender until smooth, and then add to the olive oil. Sauté, stirring frequently until fragrant and beginning to darken — about 5 minutes. Add a clove of minced garlic and sauté for another minute or so.
- MAKE YOUR ROUX: With your whisk at the ready, sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour over your onion mixture. Whisk together until completely combined and continue to stir frequently, allowing the floury taste to cook out for a minute or so.
- FINISH THE SAUCE: Keeping the whisk handy, pour 1 1/2 cups of veggie stock over your roux. Whisk pretty vigorously until the roux has dissolved completely into the broth. Add in 1 1/2 cups of milk — I like 2%, but whatever you have on hand will do — and whisk to combine. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep teh sauce from boiling. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s thickened up.
Once you get the hang of the process, you’ll be whipping up homemade ‘bechamel’ for all of your favorite creamy recipes.
My mom is in Mexico right now (lucky!) soaking up the sun under a palm tree in Nuevo Vallarta, pina colada in hand (at least that’s what I would be doing if I were in her sandals). A blizzard decided to roll through Michigan the night before she was supposed to take off — isn’t that how it always goes with winter travel in the midwest?? Luckily she got a flight out and was able to ride out this week’s snow-mageddon deep freeze from her poolside chair 😊
I can’t even be upset that I’m not with her because I get to take care of her three super cute little Shi Tzu puppies! Well, they’re not puppies anymore, but next to our sweet baby Lycka (I swear she’s growing in front of our eyes) they’re the tiniest little nuggets. They race around the house like the sweetest, fuzziest dog pack, hunting mini tennis balls and stuffed squirrels. And each time I come home from checking in on them, Lycka takes one sniff and looks at me like a traitor. 😂 😂 😂 Poor baby girl.
Soon enough Kristian and I will get our chance to escape this winter chill and enjoy a little heat of our own — in Austin, Texas! I’ve never been to Texas before, and I’m so excited that Austin will be my first stop. I’ll be heading down next weekend to SXSW for work, and Kristian will be joining me later in the week. Six days of great music, food, people and conversation awaits — and the sun! Can’t forget the sun, or my SPF 1000 sunscreen to protect my Michigan-girl winter white skin.
But back to this creamy roasted red pepper pasta though!
If you’re making this recipe for two, you’ll have plenty of leftovers — which you definitely want! The pasta keeps soaking up the sauce as it sits in the fridge, bringing out the flavor even more when you reheat it. Cooking for a few more? No problem — you can easily double the ingredients to make sure you can have leftover pasta for lunch tomorrow 😉
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp all purpose or white whole wheat flour
- 1½ cups vegetable stock
- 1½ cups milk (I used 2%, but your favorite milk will do)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 12 ounces whole wheat linguini
- Optional: shaved parmesan and parley for topping
- ROAST THE PEPPERS: Preheat your oven to 425 F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place your bell peppers in the center and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turing twice, until charred. Remove from the oven and place in a deep bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Once they're cooled down enough to handle, use a spoon to gently remove and discard the charred skin, stem and seeds. Roughly chop the roasted peppers and set aside.
- COOK YOUR PASTA: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt if desired. Add your pasta and cook according to package directions.
- MAKE YOUR SAUCE: Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Puree the onion in a food processor or blender until smooth, and then add to the olive oil. Sauté, stirring frequently until fragrant and beginning to darken -- about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or so. With your whisk at the ready, sprinkle the flour over your onion mixture. Whisk together until completely combined and continue to stir frequently, allowing the floury taste to cook out for a minute or so. Keeping the whisk handy, pour the veggie stock over your roux. Whisk pretty vigorously until the roux has dissolved completely into the broth. Add in your milk and whisk to combine. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep the sauce from boiling. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened up. Once it's thick, add the roasted red peppers and use an immersion blender to blend it all together until smooth.
- BRING IT ALL TOGETHER: Drain your pasta and pour directly into the red pepper sauce. Toss to coat.
Note: Though this recipe could feed six, I calculated the nutrition information above to be one fourth of the recipe.