This Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is smoky, sweet and will quickly become one of your favourite vegetarian pasta dishes. The roasted red bell peppers add so much depth and flavour to the simple sauce.
Roasting bell peppers gives them such an amazing depth and smoky sweetness. You can do them on an open flame (either the BBQ or gas hob) but the easiest and cleanest way is to cut each pepper in half, and place them cut side down on a baking sheet and set them under the broiler until the skin is completely black and charred.
Once the skins are charred, set them aside in a covered bowl and the residual heat will steam the skins, making them simple to remove. Just be sure not to wash off the skins, it is mess free but it also washes away so much of the sweet roasted flavor. And that flavor is what makes this pasta so delicious.
We like the bright pop of the red bell peppers, but you could easily substitute in yellow or orange bell peppers. We don’t suggest using green ones as they don’t have as much natural sugar in them and the flavor isn’t as sweet.
When you are removing the skins, don’t worry too much if there is some of the blackened skin that doesn’t come off. A little in the pasta will add to the smoky savory notes.
The roasted bell peppers are added to a creamy sauce enhanced with red onion and garlic. A quick simmer in this sauce is enough to permeate the sauce with the sweet smoky flavor.
Be sure to reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water, it is a trick we use with nearly every recipe here on Easy Pasta Sauces. The starch in the pasta cooking water, helps to thicken sauces and stick to the pasta. This means you can use less cream and still have a luscious creamy pasta.
Side: This creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is rich and silky, so serve it with either a peppery arugula and parmesan salad if you want to brighten the meal. But for an extra level of comfort serve this pasta with a soft butter lettuce salad with a oregano herb dressing.
Wine: Although this pasta does have a creamy base and rich taste it is still quite light. It also works fabulously with both red or white wine. For those that prefer white wine, add a crisp juicy Vera Vinho Verde to cut through the rich smoky flavours. For the red lovers a fruity red wine like a Sangiovese will pull out the sweet smoky pepper.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- 3 red bell peppers
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 red onion
- 3/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano
- 12 oz long pasta
Pre-heat the broiler (grill)
Cut each bell pepper in half and remove the membrane and seeds.
Place the bell peppers cut side down on a baking sheet and then cook them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until charred, black and blistered.
Transfer the bell peppers to a bowl and cover them with cling wrap (or a damp tea towel)
Let the peppers cool. Once cooled gently rub away the charred skin. (See notes)
If any juice has collected in the bowl, keep it for the sauce.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it generously and add the pasta. Cook as per the instructions until the pasta is al-dente.
Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Whilst the pasta is cooking finish the sauce.
Peel and slice the red onion into thin half moons. Then peel and chop the garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and cook the onion over a medium-low heat for 3 minutes or until softened and fragrant.
Add in the garlic and cook for an extra minute.
Slice the roasted bell pepper into thin strips and add them to the onion and garlic.
Pour in the cream and cook over a low heat for 3 minutes.
Add the drained pasta and 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.
Stir together over a low heat until the pasta is well coated and the sauce has thickened over the strands.
Add more pasta water if needed.
Serve garnished with fresh oregano.
Don't wash the skin from the bell peppers or you will lose the smoky sweetness.
If you want another creamy vegetarian pasta dish, why not try our Rich and Creamy Italian Herb Pasta.