Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Caramelized Shallots


This is the best quick dinner ever. You can whip up this roasted red pepper sauce in a blender in minutes or the night before, so that the only prep involved for making the dish is boiling the pasta and caramelizing some shallots, which already kind of take care of themselves. I originally used this sauce to make cheesy kale chips in this application, but loved the flavor so much I decided I'd try it out on pasta. Straight out of the blender, this is a silky and velvety sauce with a deeply rich, slightly tangy and subtly smoky flavor. The caramelized shallots not only look really pretty on top of the pasta, but also provide a perfect crispy texture in this tasty and simple dish.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup raw cashews, soaked a few hours or overnight
7 ounces of prepared roasted red peppers
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 TB raw tahini
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond milk, plus a bit more if needed to thin it out to a sauce-like consistency
2-3 cups dried pasta, any kind (I used torchio pasta)
shallots, thinly sliced (use one shallot per serving)
olive oil

METHOD
Rinse and drain the cashews, then place them, along with the next five ingredients, into a small food processor and blend until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients, then blend well again.

Boil your pasta according to the product instructions.While you pasta is boiling, throw your shallots into a lightly-oiled pan over medium low heat. Resist the urge to stir them around a lot so they'll have a chance to develop some caramelization, but watch them to prevent burning. After about 10 minutes they should be nicely crisped. Remove them from the heat.

By this time, your pasta should be ready. Drain it, then place the desired amount of sauce over the top and stir gently to combine. Then transfer to serving bowls and top with the caramelized shallots.

Refrigerate any leftover sauce in the refrigerator and keep it separated from the pasta until you are ready to serve it again.


11 comments:

  1. oh, this sauce sounds great! i have such tunnel vision that i automatically think of olive oil or tomato based sauces for pasta. i don't utilize red peppers properly, at all!

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    1. Thanks Lan! Roasted red Peppers give a surprisingly cheesy taste to sauces. It kind of reminds me of pimento cheese, which I used to eat by the bucketloads when I lived in the south ...

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  2. what a beautiful pasta dish! i just love caramelized shallots.

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  3. Dear heavens, I love caramelized shallots! And that roasted red pepper sauce sounds fantastic! Great dish, Erin!

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  4. i just made this tonight, in preparation for dinner tomorrow... but i don't know if the sauce will last the long - i was eating it straight out of the blender!

    i had an abundance of orange peppers so i used those, i left out the tahini (i have complicated feelings about tahini) and halved the nutritional yeast and it is so good - very very cheesy, very similar to a butternut squash-based mac-n-cheese sauce, but with a lot more depth.

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    1. I always eat the sauce right out of the blender too! Glad you enjoyed.

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  5. I have been meaning to make this dish for some time now, and just threw it together last night. Very pleased with the taste and textures. The Italian in me tends to pile on those caramelized onions and kalamata olives as seen in your photo. A very nice play of flavors. Impulsively, I decided to throw some pepitas over the top which also merged nicely. Served with fresh baked rosemary/olive oil flat bread. A delicious and easy to make weekday dinner.

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    1. Thanks for trying it out, Leila! I always make extra shallots too so I can get that smoky and crispy element into each bite. So happy you enjoyed!

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