roasted red pepper pasta sauce

Posted on January 3, 2014

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I’ve got this ability to cook for about a zillion people even though it’s only been me and Mr. Julia eating on a daily basis. Sometimes the things that I really want to cook, or when I find a recipe that looks “too cool to ignore” they don’t always re-heat to then become a second meal, or sometimes they just don’t end up being that amazing and are quickly retired to their final resting place in the trash. I think this new year might be the time to buckle down and figure out how to effectively store and freeze things so that I don’t end up trashing a bunch of stuff that should be able to be consumed. I try to ignore the fact that I’m more wasteful than I’d like to be, but when you live in a town that uses the PAYT system, it’s hard to ignore completely.

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Through I’ve tried throughout the holiday season I’ve tried to make sure we have actual meals, and or mealtimes – this can be pretty difficult because I’ve got a busy work week, and when I finally come home from that and the gym, I’m so pooped. Then there are the holiday parties, and family dinners, left overs from the Aunties (who always send us home with a plethora of food, they are so good to us!) and all the baked goods that I frequently opt to make for all these gatherings, due to the ease storing and transporting.

We’ve finally found a way that we can power through the ever present sink full of dishes. I’m on wash and stack, he’s on dry and put away – stick on a good playlist and BOOM, baby, you’ve got an empty sink. That feeling is beyond good. I hope that this one, two, punch is gonna be a 2014 standard.

To be less wasteful, and to work with how tired I can be after work and training at the gym, I have found myself searching for a recipe that fits the contents of the cabinets/fridge, assuming that since I have already purchased the majority of the ingredients that we will like the way it tastes. Sometimes I have all the ingredients, and sometimes… not so much. The other night I found myself without even a smudge of butter left in the house. Not a bit. Not salted, not unsalted, nothing hiding in the back of the freezer, nothing dumped into the cheese drawer… Nothing!

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Life without butter is something that I seriously cannot fathom. But I figured I could try making this recipe with a bit of oil, just to coat the pan, and hope for the best, cause really – it’s pasta! I love pasta, toss some cheese up in that, and even if it’s not the best, it will be edible.

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Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
(enough to coat more than 1 lb of pasta – or could be used sparingly to use on two lbs, for two meals!)

adapted from both pioneer woman and food network recipes

1 lb of your choice of pasta (I like to use ziti, or rigitoni or something with lines, so it holds the sauce a bit)
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 jar (24 oz, though I’m sure 16oz would be sufficient) roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream (depending on how creamy you want the sauce, I used less than 1/4c)
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
1/4 cup store bought grated romano/parmesan cheese
handful of fresh basil for serving

1. Coat a medium/large sized skillet/pan with oil. On a low heat, add the garlic and onion until they are soft and aromatic, this can take from 3-5 mins, depending on the stove, the pan, ecc.
2. Add peppers to skillet, and cook until warmed through – this should also take like 2-4 mins.
(start pasta now)
3. Without burning yourself, transfer to your food processor (or blender) and puree this mixture until it’s fully blended.
4. Either re-use the skillet, or use the pasta pot once the pasta is completely cooked, and reheat the puree on low adding the broth. Mix until combined. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
5. Put fully drained pasta in the pot and mix with sauce. Put in the 1/2 cup of cheese and make sure the pasta is fully coated. Toss in the chopped fresh basil, and serve warm with some more of the fresh grated parm cheese.

We had this with some roasted chicken and some quick garlic bread made from delicious LaRonga Bakery sub rolls.  Note: Turns out that you want to be able to wash your food processor immediately after making this sauce, or at least soak it and rinse it really well, because this stuff turns out frightfully orange, and though I managed not to stain anything in the process, it seems like it’s a good idea to get to it sooner than I did.

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