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An easy recipe for pappardelle pasta in a savory roasted red pepper sauce that’s perfect for your date-night in.
This post is sponsored by Garofalo Pasta. All opinions are my own.
If you’ve been visiting Familystyle Food on the regular, you know my love for pappardelle pasta is real and true.
I’ve always loved homemade roasted-red-pepper sauce on everything, from crispy roasted potatoes to scrambled eggs.
But this complex-tasting (and a snap to make) roasted red pepper sauce has moved to the top of our favorites list.
This savory roasted red pepper pasta is a dish I created especially with pappardelle in mind, using Garofalo® Pasta.
What is Pappardelle?
Pappardelle is a type of pasta shaped into long, wide noodles.
It’s a particularly good pasta cut to pair with thick, hearty sauces and ragus; both with or without meat.
Pappardelle has the advantage of being a long (read: slurpable!) pasta you can coil around your fork like spaghetti.
But instead of skinny strands, you get big, beautiful wide ribbons of pasta.
They are the perfect vehicle for carrying sauce and pasta straight into your mouth.
Pasta Shopping Tips
If you want to up your pasta game, learn to gravitate toward authentic, high-quality brands when you’re grocery shopping.
Here’s a tip: Whenever you see the words “Gragnano, Italy” on a package of dried pasta, you’re already on the perfect path.
Gragnano is a town in Campania located on a plateau near the Bay of Naples, an area that has been a center of pasta production for centuries.
I just learned that Garofalo has been at it since 1789! That makes it the oldest and longest operating pastificio (pasta factory) in Gragnano.
Their pasta meets the strict production requirements needed to carry the IGP (Identificazione Geografica Proetta) certification, which preserves the identity of the regions’s pasta production.
The savory roasted red pepper sauce topping the pasta is a lot like a red pepper pesto.
It’s over-the-top delicious, with a creamy body and texture from whole almonds and some red chili for spice.
Roasted red bell peppers already have a savory something-something going on — just the smell of them roasting makes my mouth water.
The smoky, almost sexy flavor of the red bells isn’t exactly spicy, but deeply peppery, if you know what I mean.
To zip up the sauce, I threw in a whole red chili – the spice of life!
The type of fresh chilis I tend to keep on hand for cooking are Fresno chilis, a type that is often milder in heat than jalapeños.
That means the sauce isn’t searing hot, but has enough of a pleasant undercurrent of warmth to make things interesting.
If you want, you can easily make this roasted red pepper pasta a vegan dish simply by omitting the cheese.
Roasting the peppers is a key step to creating that layer of smoky goodness.
That said, I’ve also tested this sauce using a jar of roasted peppers from the grocery store and it was fantastic!
So, if it makes life easier to skip the step of roasting the peppers, you’ll save more time and still have a really tasty bowl of pasta.
How to roast red bell peppers
- Put the peppers on small foil-lined sheet pan or heavy skillet (like cast iron).
- Adjust your oven racks so that they’re about 6-inches from your broiler element and turn on the broiler.
- Roast the peppers under the broiler until they’re evenly black and charred all over. Keep your eye on them and turn them every 5 minutes or so. Use a pair of tongs to avoid burning your hands!
- Remove the peppers to a bowl and cover with a lid or a plate until they’re cool. Covering them creates steam which makes them easier to peel.
- Peel off the blackened skin, pull off the stem, remove the seeds and discard all of it.
- Char bell peppers directly over a stovetop gas flame or on a hot grill if you prefer.
- Use your roasted peppers right away, or place in a covered jar and refrigerate up to a week.
Pappardelle Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 pound (450 g) pappardelle pasta or fettuccine
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fresh basil or Italian parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup (40 g) whole raw almonds
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 fresh red chili pepper, such as Fresno, chopped (substitute 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste)
- 2 roasted red peppers, peeled and seeded *(or use 2 drained jarred peppers)
- 1 cup (245 g) chopped fresh or canned tomato
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Reserved pasta cooking water, about 1/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
- Bring a large pot of water (4-6 quarts) to a boil and add 3 tablespoons salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions, about 8 minutes for perfect al dente texture (test and taste to be sure). Scoop out and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Make the sauce
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in an 6-8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and garlic. Cook, shaking the pan once or twice, until the almonds start to toast and the garlic is fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the chili, roasted red peppers, tomato and salt and cook 2 more minutes.
- Transfer the almond mixture to a food processor or blender. Add the cheese and 2 tablespoons of the pasta water. Process until a smooth sauce forms. Add more water, drop by drop, if needed to get a thick, saucy consistency.
- Put the pasta in a large serving bowl and pour the sauce over. Gently toss until the strands are coated in the sauce. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino cheese and the basil leaves and serve. Buon appetito!