Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

My mom’s request that I make something for dinner that my dad and I would like that she wouldn’t mind missing (she was out with friends tonight) led me to bell peppers. My mom loathes just about any kind of pepper, particularly bell peppers—she picks around them when I cook dishes that include them and she can taste the slightest hint of them in a dish (though, strangely, she makes a roasted red pepper soup that she will actually eat). My dad and I, on the other hand, are pepper fans, so I wanted to create a pepper-centric dish for us to enjoy. This creamy bell pepper sauce, tossed with pasta and chicken, creates a quick and easy meal that’s perfect for any season. Bell peppers, heavy cream, pine nuts, and a handful of other ingredients blend to create a light, spicy-sweet sauce that’s creamy and delicious.

Yields: Approx. 2 cups
Prep. time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Special equipment: Food processor

Ingredients

  • 2, 12 oz. jars roasted red bell peppers (or approx. 2-3 fresh red bell peppers, roasted)
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted*
  • 5-10 leaves fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
*To toast the pine nuts: preheat the oven to 350*F and spread the pine nuts evenly over the sheet. Toast in the oven for 3-6 minutes, or until fragrant and light golden-brown. Pay attention!—These are easy to burn.
Directions
Add all of the ingredients, except the heavy cream and butter, to the food processor and pulse to blend. The finished mixture will be slightly textured and thoroughly blended. Pour the mixture into a medium pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Slowly whisk in all of the heavy cream, then add the butter and stir to blend. Adjust seasonings as desired (if anything, add more salt, pepper, and maybe a splash of lemon juice or dash of garlic powder). Serve hot over pasta, chicken, or food of your choice.
I tossed penne pasta and diced chicken with the sauce
This sauce is easy to put together and it’s packed with flavor without being overwhelming. Bell peppers aren’t very spicy, but that little bit of heat they do have, along with their sweetness, blends perfectly with pungent garlic and onion, toasty pine nuts, fresh basil, and nutty Parmesan. The heavy cream and butter give this sauce a light, creamy texture that makes this dish filling without feeling heavy or overly rich.

A variation on this sauce, using orange and green bell peppers instead of red bell pepper
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