Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

Pasta with sauce is a common dinner dish in my house.  And while the traditional tomato sauce is a household favorite, I like to mix things up from time to time.  Some alternative sauces that I like to make are pesto, Alfredo, lemon butter and this recipe for a roasted pepper sauce.  It is a super simple and delicious sauce that offers various health benefits.

Red bell peppers are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin B, carotene, lycopene and para-coumaric acid.  A medium red bell pepper provides 1.18 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of natural sugar, with only 37 calories.  Red bell peppers are also full of essential minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.  Studies have shown that red bell peppers can reduce bad cholesterol, help control diabetes and ease inflammation.

The recipe below makes just over 2 cups of pasta sauce, enough for roughly about 3 to 4 servings.  The sauce can be made thicker or thinner by adjusting the amount of oil used.  You can also dilute the sauce by using water instead of oil if you prefer a less oily sauce.  The prepared sauce can be stored in the refrigerator or can be frozen to use at a later date.

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

2 red bell peppers (medium sized)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots (finely chopped)

4 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped)

1/2 teaspoon salt (more if you prefer)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.5 cups milk (can use almond or coconut milk instead)

2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (more if you prefer)

1.5 tablespoon cornstarch 

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Place red peppers (whole) on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Roast in preheated oven until charred (watch carefully, about 20 minutes). Remove from oven and cover the peppers in foil for 10 minutes.  This will allow the steam to loosen the skin so that it can be easily removed.  

A chopped shallot, garlic and olive oil to a large sized skillet.  Over medium heat cook until golden brown and soft.  Add salt, pepper and basil. Remove from heat, set aside and allow to cool slightly.  

Add the shallot mixture to a blender or food processor.  Add the peeled roasted pepper skin, milk, Parmesan cheese and cornstarch.  Blend until creamy and smooth.  Once blended, add the sauce back in the skillet and heat over medium heat to thicken.   Once sauce is thickened to desired consistency remove from heat.  Use the sauce to coat your favorite noodles or store for a later date in the refrigerator.  

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