As mentioned in the last post, How To Roast Peppers, I shared a recipe recently and had quite a few red peppers left over. Now that I have shared with you different ways to roast bell peppers, let’s put them to good use!
After a quick google search I came across a sauce I’ve been wanting to make. Romesco sauce is a classic Spanish sauce made from nuts and roasted bell peppers. It blends up creamy and flavorful. Typically, it is served as a dip for vegetables or spread on fish. Today I’m going to share a recipe using the sauce with pasta and peas. It makes a wonderful pasta sauce!
I was inspired and used this recipe from Epicurious as my guide. I love the addition of peas and decided to up the amount called for. Not only do they add a splash of color and sweetness, but they are a good source of protein as well. When it came time for leftovers, I tried adding a can of chickpeas and highly recommend that as well for added protein and texture. You can add them into the pot when everything gets mixed together. Next time I make this I will also add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. These can be added with the peas to rehydrate a bit. Another change I made was to double the amount of sauce used as many reviewers recommended. It was a good call. The doubled amount is perfect for 16 oz. of pasta but if you prefer a saucier pasta you may consider using less pasta, maybe 12 oz. or so. I also omitted the oil making this recipe oil-free, I don’t think it needs it but you can add 1/4 cup of good olive oil if you like. The recipe comes together quickly and easily once the peppers are done. If using peppers that have already been prepared or jarred, it will be ready in about 30 minutes. It’s a simple recipe that I think you are going to love!
First start with cooking your pasta. Towards the end of cooking add in the peas and continue. If using chopped sun-dried tomatoes, add those with the peas to rehydrate a bit. They will add sweetness, color and texture. Drain pasta and peas, set aside.
While the pasta has been cooking. Using a food processor/blender, pulse or blend the almonds until chunky. It doesn’t have to be a fine mixture. I used raw almonds here but you can use salted, even roasted almonds may be ok but it will change the flavor slightly.
Add in the roasted bell peppers, garlic, vinegar, pepper flakes, salt, and vegetable broth/water. Process until creamy. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. For the vinegar, I’ve used a few kinds and balsamic is my favorite here. Feel free to use red or white wine, sherry, or cider vinegar. If you like the garlic flavor, add the highest amount called for. Once this is ready we’ll add it the pasta and peas.
Add the pasta & peas back to the pot they were cooked in, add romesco sauce and mix well. If adding chickpeas, add them here. Gently heat over low until warmed.
Serve with a good sprinkle of almond parmesan and freshly chopped basil. A little fresh cracked pepper would be great too. Enjoy!
PASTA & PEAS + RED PEPPER ROMESCO SAUCE
- 12 – 16 oz. pasta of choice (I used a rigatoni)
- 1 package (12 -16oz) frozen peas or 2 1/2 cups fresh
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 4 roasted bell peppers or 1 jar (14oz.) roasted bell peppers, drained
- 2 – 3 large garlic cloves or 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (sherry, red or white wine is ok too)
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- mineral salt, to taste
- chopped basil, parsley or mint
- almond parmesan
- fresh cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Wash and dry bell peppers, slice in half, remove stems and seeds, place on a rimmed baking sheet cut side down. Bake in oven for 40 minutes, turning the baking sheet 180 degrees after 20 minutes. Steam peppers in an air tight container for at least 20 minutes. Remove skin. For a more detailed overview of roasting peppers follow this link: How To Roast Peppers
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Just before the pasta is ready, about 3 minutes before, add peas and all together. Move pasta and peas to a colander.
In a food processor/high-speed blender, add almonds and pulse or process until roughly chopped. Add in the bell peppers, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes and pinch of salt. Blend until desired consistency. Taste for flavors and adjust as needed. You may find you need a little more salt, especially if you’ve used water instead of vegetable broth.
Bring the pasta and peas back to the pot they were cooked in, add the romesco sauce and mix to combine. Warm mixture over low heat. Serve with a sprinkle of almond parmesan and chopped herbs of choice. Enjoy!
Serves 4 – 6
Use the called for 12 oz of pasta if you prefer a saucier pasta. For the pasta you can use just about any pasta you like. I would tend to stick with short shaped pasta such as rigatoni, shells, farfalle, penne, fussili, elbow, etc.
Add in 1 can (15oz) of chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups fresh cooked for added protein when combining everything into the pot.
Add in 1/4 – 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes if you like. They will add sweetness, color and texture. Add these in when adding the peas to cook with the pasta. It will help soften and rehydrate them.
Fee free to add 1/4 cup of good olive oil to the sauce if you like. I’ve kept this version oil-free but it is more traditional to add oil, and it would be great if you don’t mind it.
Make this a dip by omitting the broth/water and adding a couple tablespoons of olive oil.