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Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Recipe
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Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

Roasted red pepper pasta sauce from scratch made without cream or nuts, dairy free and good for you. Savory, hearty and comforting ideal for coating chewy bucatini noodles, spaghetti alla chitarra or rigatoni. Serve with a sprinkling of crispy fennel breadcrumbs for the ultimate meatless dinner.
Course Sauces
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pasta sauce, roasted red pepper sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 481kcal
Author Florentina

Ingredients

  • 6 red bell peppers (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic grated or minced
  • 3 Tbsp capers chopped
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste (double concentrated ideally)
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika (Optional)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch red chili flakes
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 3/4 lb bucatini pasta

Fennel Bread Crumbs

  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp fennel seeds

Instructions

The Breadcrumbs

  • Preheat a skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the fennel seeds and toast until fragrant. Stir in the panko bread crumbs until combine with the fennel and olive oil. Continue cooking and stirring until golden brown to your liking. Season with a pinch of salt flakes and set aside to cool.
    1 Tbsp olive oil, 1-2 Tbsp fennel seeds, 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Make the Sauce

  • If using fresh bell peppers start by roasting them on a hot cast iron plate or under the broiler until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a lid or tea towel until cool enough to handle. Peel the peppers (discarding the skins, core and seeds) and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the red wine vinegar, smoked paprika if using, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil or water. Process until smooth.
    6 red bell peppers, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion in a light drizzle of olive oil until nicely golden all over. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant taking care not to burn it (aprox.30 seconds or so).
    1 yellow onion, 5 cloves garlic
  • Stir in the capers and chili flakes then add the tomato paste. Stir well until everything is incorporated and you can smell the different aromas. Pour in the blended roasted pepper sauce, combine everything well and let the sauce bubble a minute or two. Season to taste with salt and pepper and adjust the tanginess level with more red wine vinegar if desired. Remove from heat.
    6 red bell peppers, 3 Tbsp capers, 1/3 cup tomato paste, salt + pepper, 1 pinch red chili flakes
  • Meanwhile have a large pot of boiling water going and season generously with salt. Cook 3/4 lb of bucatini noodles until al dente (to the tooth).
    3/4 lb bucatini pasta
  • Using a pair of kitchen tongs transfer the noodles straight into the sauce pan and toss to coat all over. Add a little bit of the pasta water to stretch out the sauce if need be. Serve hot with a good sprinkling of the crispy fennel breadcrumbs.
    3/4 lb bucatini pasta

Notes

  • Can the sauce be frozen? - Since this is a dairy-free sauce it can be frozen and reheated beautifully. Thaw out in the fridge the night before planning to serve. 
  • The Pasta - I love a comforting, thick and chewy I.G.P bucatini noodle here. Technically durum wheat semolina spaghetti with a hole in the center just like a straw, it's rustic and nostalgic and can hold up to both the texture of the sauce and its depth of flavor. Scialatielli noodles, long fusilli pasta or spaghetti alla chitarra would make great substitutes as well.
  • Aromatics - The flavor base of this divine sauce starts with sautéed onion cooked until golden, garlic, salty capers and double concentrated tomato paste. There's just enough sweetness to balance the peppers and yield a rich and flavorful thick sauce without being overpowering. 
  • Make it Creamy - If you prefer a milder creamier version of this sauce just add in about 1/3 cup of cashew cream or milk at the very end. Easy peasy! 
  • Add Nuts - Another variation of this sauce would be a pesto style rendition. Add 1/3 cup of blanched almonds, walnuts or pine nuts to the blender with the roasted peppers if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 437mg | Potassium: 906mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 6187IU | Vitamin C: 237mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 4mg