With the holiday season upon us, you might find yourself short on time and energy. This time of year can be hectic for many people, so I wanted to take a break from my Thanksgiving recipes and post a simple dinner that can be made in next to no time. When Eric and I went shopping last week, he commented how sad it was that so many people were eating in the mall’s food court, which is filled with mostly fast food restaurants. The lines were outrageous, as well, and I just can’t imagine waiting in line that long for mediocre (at best) food. To me, this is one of the reasons menu planning is so important. If I know I have a busy night coming up, I can plan something simple and quick to make for dinner rather than resorting to fast food. This pasta sauce can be made in less than half an hour, which I think is just as convenient as fast food or takeout.
I love roasted red peppers and I love pasta, so this recipe went on my “to-make” list the moment I saw it. The sauce tastes incredibly fresh, and I love the use of sage in it. There’s just a touch of heat from the cayenne and some smokiness from the paprika. Many recipes for roasted red pepper sauce use cream, but this one does not. I like that because it allows the flavors of the peppers to really shine. I had everything I needed for this except for anchovy paste, but I fully intend on getting some before I make this again. The sauce tasted wonderful without it, but I’ve never used anchovy paste (or anchovies, for that matter), and I’m excited to try this dish again with it included. I’m pretty picky about my leftovers, but this sauce tasted just as delicious the next day.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
2 anchovies or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (Use 1/2 teaspoon dark miso paste to make this vegetarian.)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
2 cups jarred roasted red peppers
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Grated parmesan cheese and minced sage, for garnish
Drain the roasted red peppers and soak in cold water for 10 minutes to remove some of the acidity. Heat the olive oil in a pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt as the onion cooks. Add the garlic and sage and continue cooking an additional minute. Add the anchovy paste and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the tomato paste. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the paste begins to darken.
Stir in the red wine and increase heat to high. Once the wine has reduced by half, add the roasted red peppers and decrease heat to medium. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until peppers are soft. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Transfer the pepper mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down sides of blender as needed. Return sauce to the pot and cook over medium-low heat until heated through. Stir in paprika and cayenne and serve immediately, topping with parmesan cheese and sage as desired.
Store leftover sauce in the refrigerator up to a week.