Delicious, quick and easy, this Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is full of fresh red peppers and cherry tomatoes.
This vegetable-rich pasta dish features red peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions and fresh arugula. The sauce for this pasta is made first quick roasting the red peppers, then simmering them together. They are then pureed and tossed with the hot pasta.
Enjoy this one as a meatless, vegetarian meal or you also have the option of adding in some prosciutto, bacon or sausage, for extra flavour and heartiness.
I used prosciutto here, with a bit pureed into the sauce and also used for garnish, though you can easily omit it for a vegetarian dish. You could also substitute bacon or sausage, if you like.
My Three Top Tips for Delicious Pasta Dishes
My pasta dish cooking technique has evolved over the years, to include a couple of techniques that I think produce the most satisfying pasta dishes ...
1. Be sure to generously salt your pasta cooking water, to bring lots of flavour to your finished dish. It's adequately salted when it "tastes like the ocean".
2. Rather than draining pasta in the sink, I scoop the cooked pasta right out of the boiling water with a spider strainer (or tongs, for long pasta) and put it directly into the hot sauce. Adding hot pasta to the sauce helps the pasta to absorb the flavours of the sauce more easily. It also allows for having the pasta-cooking water handy, in case you need to add some to thin your pasta sauce. Be sure to still drain the pasta well in the spoon before adding to the pasta, to avoid watering down your sauce.
3. I always cook the pasta with the sauce in a hot skillet (or saucepan) for several minutes before serving. I've found that the perfect pasta dish needs to come together in a hot pan first, not in the serving bowl.
Simply add the hot pasta to the hot sauce and cook, stirring, for just a couple of minutes. Take the time to taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, as needed, as well. If you sauce thickens or tightens up during this last short cooking, add a splash of your pasta cooking water to loosen it up.
To make sure I don't dirty another pan, I always start my sauce in a large enough skillet or pot so that it will comfortably hold my cooked pasta as well, when it is cooked and ready to be added to the pot.
Bonus Tip! For tomato-heavy sauces, stirring a small pat of butter into the tomato sauce at the end of cooking tempers the acidity in the sauce and rounds out the flavours.
Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb red peppers, fresh
- ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 lb dried spaghetti
- Optional 2-3 Slices or Prosciutto or Bacon or 1 fresh Italian sausage, removed from casing and finely chopped
- Additional salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Handful of fresh baby arugula
- Freshly grated Parmesan
- Roast the Peppers (Can be done ahead and refrigerated): Cut the sides off the peppers and place onto a baking sheet, skin side up. Place under your oven broiler and allow to cook until the skin is wrinkled and well charred, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place into a paper or plastic bag. Seal bag and let stand 5-10 minutes while you start the pasta water and sauce.
- Remove peppers from bag and use the edge of a sharp knife to peel and discard the skin from the peppers. Chop peppers roughly and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When it comes to the boil, add spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and place into a large bowl.
- If using Prosciutto, Bacon or Sausage, chop very finely and quickly sauté in a hot skillet until cooked. Remove to a plate and wipe out skillet.
- Meanwhile, Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened. Add roasted red peppers and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes. Add water, cherry tomatoes, sugar and ¼ tsp salt to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer sauce for 15 minutes then remove from heat and transfer to a blender or food processor to blend until smooth.
- Add pureed sauce to the bowl with the hot pasta and toss to combine. Add reserved Prosciutto, Bacon or Sausage, if using and toss to combine. Season dish with additional salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Serve garnished with some fresh baby arugula and some freshly grated Parmesan.
Nutritional information provided for general guidance only and should not be relied upon to make personal health decisions.