Here’s a tip that will help you make something very tasty with all those red peppers that are in season right now. Next time you barbeque, after you’ve cooked your meal and still have some hot coals, toss a few red peppers on the grill. Cover. Turn them every once in a while. They’re done when the outside is blistered and blackened. Yes, they will look very burnt, but inside they’ll be juicy and perfectly cooked with an intense smoky flavour.
Transfer them to a glass dish with a cover and let them cool. If you don’t want to deal with them until the next day, just store the dish in the fridge.
Once they have completely cooled, the skins will practically fall off. Peel them over a colander and bowl to catch the juices. Purée (or finely chop) the flesh and the juices and pour into an ice-cube tray. Freeze overnight and then remove them from the tray and put them into a zip-lock freezer bag. Now you have frozen cubes of delicious roasted red peppers to use whenever you need them. They’re delicious used in soups and sauces.
Here is a low-fat vegetarian pasta sauce we made with ours the other day. I say ‘we’ but really it was Nick doing the cooking. I was upstairs and could smell the aroma which was rich and delightfully smoky. The resulting pasta dish was absolutely delicious and after I had finished it, I wished that I could turn back time and eat it all over again.
Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- About 3/4 cup chopped white onion
- 1/2 raw green bell pepper, chopped
- 6 to 8 mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced (remove bitter centre core first)
- 1 large or 2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped. Keep the juice!
- 3 cubes of pureed roasted peppers or roasted pepper flesh finely chopped
- 1/2 cup pitted olives, chopped.
- 1 tablespoon each minced fresh basil and oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon each tried
- Salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
Heat olive oil in a deep frying pan and saute garlic and onions for about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and bell pepper, and saute until softened. Add tomatoes and juices and dried herbs if using. Cook together until thickened. Add roasted pepper cubes, olives and salt. Stir until heated through, taste and adjust salt. (Note the peppers make the sauce taste a bit sweet, but that is good!) If using fresh herbs, mix them in at the very end.
Serve sauce over cooked pasta, topped with some grated Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper and/or hot pepper flakes if you like some heat.
Sweet Red Pepper Pasta Sauce