When I was younger, my mom and I would always make roasted red peppers whenever my dad was away. I loved watching the skins turn black under the broiler, and thought the way they peeled right off was magical. Since that time, roasted red peppers have been a favorite of mine. I love them on pizza, in salads, or simply as a side dish. They are wonderful.
Last week, I used roasted red peppers to create a pasta sauce – and it was AMAZING. This is one of the BEST pasta dishes I have EVER made. Scratch that – one of the best DISHES I have ever made. It was rich, creamy, and oh so delicious. I literally cannot wait to make this again. You’re going to love it!
I was inspired by this recipe: TexMex Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Blackened Chipotle Chicken, Black Beans & Spinach by Jen from Carlsbad Cravings. You should definitely go check out her version! She adds additional spices and veggies to her dish and has incredible food photography skills. (I am lucky to snap a quick pick before my big family devours their food!) I just made a few tweaks and adjusted the dish to my family’s palate.
2-3 red peppers
2-3 T olive oil
2-3 chicken breasts (optional)
1 T flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock
1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese
salt & pepper to taste
16 oz. pasta
1. Turn your oven to broil, and place one of the racks near the top of the oven. Remove the stem and seeds from your peppers. Slice in half, and place them skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil on high for approximately 8-12 minutes, or until the skin is mostly black and charred. I turned my pan about half-way through the time, to evenly char the peppers.
2. Once the peppers are blackened, remove from oven and place into a paper bag, to allow the peppers to steam. Once the ten minutes are up, the skin will just peel right off, leaving deliciously soft roasted peppers.
3. While your peppers are roasting/steaming, prepare your chicken if you plan to add it to the dish. I prepared my chicken by heating up 2 T of olive oil in an electric skillet. I added the chicken to the hot oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, and a touch of chili powder. A simple salt and pepper seasoning would be fine.
4. Once the chicken is cooked through on both sides, remove from pan and allow to rest. Do NOT clean out the skillet!
5. Put the roasted (and skinned!) peppers into a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Add the pepper puree to the same skillet you cooked your chicken in. If you are omitting the chicken, simply add the pepper puree to a hot pan with a little bit of olive oil. (You may want to add a few seasonings to your sauce if you are leaving out the chicken.)
6. To the pepper puree, add 1 T of flour, and cook for several minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Slowly stir in your stock. I didn’t add all of mine at once. I used about half, and then reserved the rest to help thin out the dish as it cooked.
7. Add your cream cheese. It will “melt” faster if you cube it up before adding it to the skillet. Stir until it has completely melted and has made your sauce one wonderfully creamy creation. As it cooks, it will thicken up. (This is where it comes in handy to have some reserved stock!) Simply add more as needed to make the sauce the desired consistency.
8. Prepare your pasta. I used tri-color rotini, but you can use any pasta you like. Cook and drain your pasta, and then add the pasta to the sauce.
9. Top your pasta with chicken slices and enjoy!
I implore you- make this recipe!!! It is so incredibly creamy and delicious. Next time I make this, I may double the recipe – it was just THAT good. Happy cooking everyone!