Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Pasta and Mozzarella

Better than tomatoes.

In a fit of inspiration (insanity?), I bought five pounds of peppers at Eastern Market the other day. The intention was to pickle them, but then a recipe for stuffed peppers struck my fancy. After I made those, I was one pepper short of the pickled peppers recipe. Instead I roasted them and left them in a jar of olive oil in my fridge for a few days. I thought I might try making a red pepper pesto to use up the leftover pine nuts, but then I found this recipe, which seemed perfect. Pine nuts and red pepper might be weird anyway.

The recipe calls for you to use store bought roasted red peppers. You can obviously do that, but to roast your own, heat the oven to 450 degrees and place two red peppers on a baking sheet. Cook 10 minutes, flip over and cook 10 more on the other side. You want the skins to be blackened and shrivelling. Remove from the oven and use tongs to place in a bowl. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap. The skins should slide off easily. Tug the stem and the top and seeds should also remove easily. Use immediately or pack in oil in a jar and refrigerate.

Eat Rating: Awesome.
Difficulty: Easy. Requires food processor or blender.

Adapted from Food and Wine February 2008, via Kate in the Kitchen

1 lb dried gemelli (LN: I'm not even sure which one that is. I used penne)
2 roasted red peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves of garlic
2 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil (LN: Omitted. I was out.)
9 fresh basil leaves, divided
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

While pasta is cooking, place the peppers, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, tomatoes and 3 basil leaves in a food processor. Pulse to combine.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and toss with the sauce and mozzarella. Tear up the rest of the basil and add to the pasta. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

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