Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Last night, in the 2 1/2 hour fervor of making spinach potato gnocchi, I was struck with the realizations that:

  1. I probably should have started cooking before 9 pm and
  2. I can make a bitchin’ sauce if I put my mind to it.

The gnocchi turned out great, and Healthy Food/Lazy People’s recipe is an excellent base to begin customizing (I used light buckwheat flour for the benefits of whole wheat, and next time, I’ll likely smush up some roasted garlic to add in).  As for the sauce, this roasted red pepper sauce turned out really well and ended up being the perfect tangy compliment to the mild spinach gnocchi.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

Spinach Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Equipment:

  • Medium saute pan, small baking sheet, measuring spoons (optional), liquid measuring cup (optional), silicon spatula or wooden spoon, blender, knife, cutting board, stove, oven

Ingredients:

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 3-4 stalks celery with leaves, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 4 Tbsp evoo, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Chop the red bell peppers in half, then core and seed them.  Rub the peppers inside and out with 2 Tbsp of the evoo, a generous pinch or two of salt, and a couple dashes of black pepper, and place them skin sides up on the baking sheet.  Bake the peppers in the oven on a upper rack for 25-30 mins, or until the skins have partially turned black and the peppers are soft.

2) Prep the rest of your veggies.  Once the peppers are out of the oven, allow them to cool.  Once the peppers are at a temperature that you feel comfortable handling them, peel off and discard their skins (the skins should come off relatively easily), and dice the roasted peppers.

3) Heat the remaining evoo in the saute pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and roasted red peppers.  Add a two-fingered pinch (about 1/2 tsp) kosher salt and a dash or two of black pepper to the pan.  Saute 5-7 mins until the veggies have become soft.  Add the dried basil, paprika, and dried parsley, and cook another minute.  Add the chicken stock and cook until stock begins to boil, about another minute.  Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.

4) Carefully pour the hot mixture into the blender (be really careful not to spill or splash yourself!! It’s really hot!).  Pulse until the sauce is pureed and has an even consistency (be sure to let the blender vent! See the section “How to avoid kitchen explosions“).  Pour the sauce back in the pan.

5) Reduce the burner heat to low, and add the milk to the sauce.  Stir to make sure the milk is mixed in evenly.  Once the sauce is warmed through, add the grated cheese.  Serve hot over your favorite whole wheat or spinach pasta.

6)  ENJOY!!

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