Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce



(I know the picture's crap, but gimme a break--it's been a long week, man! At least it's an update, right?)

I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks early last week and wanted to try it as soon as I could. A few weeks ago I picked up some campanelle pasta at the store and knew this would pair perfectly. I made some adaptations based on our tastes and what I had on hand. I'm much better about adapting recipes now than I used to be, and I think it's made me a better cook.

I really liked this meal, and I loved that it's not simply combining a jar of pasta sauce with cooked pasta (can't say I've never done that!) and calling it a day. It's not spicy, but you can adjust that with some red pepper flakes if you really want some zip.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Salt
3 T. Extra-virgin olive oil
2 links turkey sausage
3 jarred roasted red peppers
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 c. heavy cream, divided
1 lb. pasta (farfalle, rigatoni, gemeli, etc.)
2 tsp. fresh minced flat-leadf (Italian) parsley
Parmesan cheese, to taste

Boil water for pasta. Cook according to package directions, and drain.

Slice sausage links on a bias and grill or pan fry until cooked through. Place on a paper towel covered plate to drain and cover with foil to keep warm.

Drain jarred red peppers, and scrape out any leftover membranes or seeds. Place peppers in food processor or blender and puree.

In a large skillet, drizzle in olive oil and add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until soft, stirring occassionally. Pour in red pepper puree and stir together. Taste mixture and add salt to taste. Continue cooking over medium and stir to keep from burning.

Pour in cream 1/4 c. at a time. Stir to combine. If needed, add remaining 1.4 c, or just a little at a time until sauce reaches desired consistency. Taste again and add salt if needed.

When pasta is ready, add pasta and sausage to skillet. Stir together to coat with sauce and heat through. When ready to serve, top with parmesan (grated or shaved) and fresh parsley.

Notes:
  • There are quite a few steps to this recipe but it's really delicious and so worth it.
  • Adding a few more herbs to the sauce, or red pepper flakes, would ramp up the flavor of the sauce.
  • I added the turkey sausage, but this would be equally delicious without it.
  • I really enjoyed every bite of this meal; Graham had leftovers. He's not a fan of sausage, peppers, or cream sauce. I knew that going in, but I thought I could try it anyway. He decided he'd rather be safe than sorry at work tomorrow, so I enjoyed it all on my own.
  • I chose to use campanelle over rigatoni because I love the shape of it. Campanelle means "little bell" in Italian, and the shape reminded me of a dress or skirt when I was younger.
  • Fresh parsley makes a world of difference here. When parsley is used only as a garnish, use dried. But the fresh, peppery taste of the parsley is added the sauce really brightens up. I can't wait until my parsley starts growing so I can use my own!

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