So this past Sunday I gave my food processor a serious workout. I originally got it out to make my classic hummus and figured while I had it out I’d knock out some other projects as well. I made some homemade breadcrumbs (I stash leftover pieces of bread in a bag in my freezer, and when I accumulate a few I grind them up for breadcrumbs). And I made some pasta sauce for dinner; specifically, roasted red pepper sauce.
Yum! This sauce was so delicious – I’ve been eating the leftovers all week. And it was super easy – and super healthy! First, I roasted up a red pepper in the oven. You’ll actually need three for the recipe but I had two already roasted that I had stashed in my freezer a while back. Alternatively, you can use jarred roasted red peppers – it’s up to you.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (for pasta)
– 3 roasted red peppers, chopped (jarred or freshly roasted)
– ½ medium onion, chopped
– 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pasted
– 2 tablespoons fresh basil (or two teaspoons dried)
– ½ cup canned white beans
– ½ cup milk (I used skim)
– 1/3 cup grated cheese – parmesan or romano
– 2 tablespoons butter
To roast the pepper(s), place them either on a baking sheet under the broiler, or on the stove top directly on the burner (if you have a gas stove), and turn the peppers every few minutes until they are black all over (or mostly black). Let the peppers cool, then remove the skins (a paper towel does a lovely job of this) then seed and slice them. I do this whenever peppers are on sale, or if I get a bunch of them in my weekly produce box, and stash them in the freezer. That way they are done and ready to cook with when I need them.
Place the roasted red peppers, half an onion and two or three cloves of garlic in the food processor and pulse into a fine chop or mince. Alternatively, you can chop these ingredients by hand, but I already had my food processor out and was feeling lazy. Also, I was hoping this step would stop me from having to puree the finish sauce. Add the pureed onion, peppers, and garlic to a medium skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil and fresh basil (or a few teaspoons of dried). Cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat.
Meanwhile, puree ½ cup of canned white beans (approximately half a can) with ½ cup of milk in the food processor. Add the resulting puree to the pan with the onions and peppers and stir to combine. Cook 2-3 more minutes, or until heated through. I had read in Rachel Ray’s magazine that you could use a puree of white beans and milk to replace cream in recipes – and it worked beautifully in this recipe! Talk about a great way to add fiber and cut down on fat :-). Finally, stir in two tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup of cheese into the sauce and serve over your favorite pasta! I served mine over tortellini and it was delicious. As a final note, the resulting sauce was still on the chunky side (with bits of red pepper) rather than a completely smooth sauce. It didn’t bother me at all, but you could also puree the cooked pepper/onion mixture with the milk and beans and then return it to the pan for a smoother sauce.