Friday, October 24, 2014

Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

This pasta recipe from Minimalist Baker really rocks. I loved the creamy sauce that happened to be vegan, so I’ll be making this dish again. I made it with macaroni, because small pasta shapes are easier to feed to the Little Prince! I used a bit too much pepper, but nonetheless, this was a big hit for all family members.

2 red bell peppers
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
sea salt and ground black pepper
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk, or lactose-free milk)
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 ½ Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder (or other thickener of choice)
pinch red pepper flake (optional, for heat)
16 oz. linguini or spaghetti noodles (or other pasta of choice, including gluten-free)
vegan parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)
fresh parsley or basil (optional, for serving)

Heat oven to 500 °F and roast red peppers on a baking sheet until charred, about 25-30 minutesQuickly put them in a metal bowl and cover it for 10 minutes to steam, then remove (peel away) charred skin, seeds and stems. Set aside. (I did this ahead of time because I was afraid I’d get flustered with the timing of all the steps otherwise. You also don’t want the cooked pasta hanging around too long before mixing it with the sauce, so roasting the pepper ahead of time made sense to me.)

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

While the red peppers are roasting, bring a large skillet over medium heat and sauté shallot and garlic in 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil until golden brown and soft, about 4-5 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

Transfer sautéed shallot and garlic to blender with roasted peppers, almond milk, red pepper flake, nutritional yeast and cornstarch. Blend until creamy and smooth, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper or nutritional yeast for flavor. You want the flavor to be pretty robust and strong since the noodles don't have much flavor, so be generous with your seasonings (though I went too heavy on the pepper here).

Once blended, place sauce back in the skillet over medium heat to thicken. Once it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and continue simmering.

Once sauce is thickened to desired consistency, add the cooked, drained pasta and toss to coat. Serve with vegan parmesan, red pepper flake and fresh chopped parsley or basil.

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