First up today - the winner of my recent giveaway of The Serpent and the Pearl - Allison Macias! Congrats, Allison - check your email for my message and send me your contact info.
Next - this fantastic pasta sauce, which I totally fell in love with. I've been super stressed and busy with school lately, so I've been trying to focus on cooking easy dinners that don't take a ton of time or mental energy. But, of course, I still want them to be delicious! This red pepper-cream sauce fills both requirements. The sauce cooks in about the same amount of time as boiling pasta, so dinner is on the table quickly. And, the sauce is total comfort food -- yum! I love the fact that it's creamy without a ton of heavy cream, and using roasted red peppers instead of the usual tomatoes makes the sauce feel different and special without any extra work. Don't skip the fresh herbs - they really add that fresh flavor that a pasta dish made with pantry ingredients needs.
And, the best part of this dish? It might be that it uses a cup of white wine...so you'll have the bottle open to drink the rest with dinner!
Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce (adapted from the Pioneer Woman, original recipe here)
12 ounces dry pasta
4 T butter
2 medium shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small fennel bulb, minced
12-15 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup white wine
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup minced fresh basil
Parmesan shavings, to serve
1. Put on a pot of water to boil, salt it generously, and then cook the pasta according to the package directions.
2. While the water is boiling/pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and fennel and saute for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften and brown. Add the peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Let cool slightly, and then very carefully blend until fairly smooth. Or - use a stick blender to puree the mixture even faster!
4. Return the pepper puree to the skillet and return to medium heat. When the puree is hot, add the wine and season with salt and pepper. Let bubble away for a couple of minutes, and then reduce heat to low and add the cream. Stir in the cream, and heat gently, stirring often, until hot. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs.
5. Drain the pasta well and add to the skillet with the sauce. Stir everything together, and then serve topped with Parmesan shavings.