Dad's Famous Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
We would beg, BEG, my dad to make this sauce. My sister, Lenore, and I would cause such a scene that he would have no choice but to say yet. Then we'd call Jen, the neighborhood girl who practically lived at our house, and tell her to run over quick because Dad was making "the sauce." We wouldn't have to say which one. She knew.
There are a couple of tricks to this sauce that help to make the sweetness from the peppers pop. First, don't rinse them after you roast them. Second, go easy on the cream. The amount of cream listed here works well for three pounds of peppers, but still, keep an eye on the color of the sauce. You want a bright, bold, orangey pink, not a muted mauve. Make it as spicy as you like, or omit the cayenne chiles if you prefer mild. Marash pepper also works nicely in this sauce.
3 pounds red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded (recipe follows)
2 cups heavy cream
8 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon roasted garlic (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cayenne chili of Marash pepper
1 pound cannolicchi
Makes 4-6 servings
Preheat the broiler, and position a rack about 6 inches from the heat.
Place the red bell peppers on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt. Broil the peppers for about 6 minutes, or until the skins are completely charred. Flip them over and broil for another 6 minutes.
When the skins are all black, transfer the peppers to a brown paper bag. Close up the bag to help steam the peppers and loosen the skins. When they're cool enough to handle, remove the stems, seeds, and skins, and coarsely chop. To store the peppers, cover with olive oil and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Preheat the over to 325°F. Cut the top third off the garlic head and discard. Place the garlic, cut side up, on a small sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt. Close the foil around the garlic, and roast, cut side up, for about 45 minutes. You'll know it's done when you open the package and the garlic is caramelized and soft. Squeeze the garlic cloves into a small bowl. To store, cover in olive oil and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Purée the roasted peppers with the heavy cream in a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat. Whisk the roasted garlic into the butter. Add the smoked paprika, chili pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cool for 1 minute, stirring, until it smells outrageously good.
Add the puréed peppers to the pot and stir. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt and add more if needed.
While the sauce is cooking, fill a 6-quart pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and then add the pasts and stir. Cook until the pasta is slightly firmer than al dente, 1 minute less than it says on the package, and drain. Add the pasta directly to the pot with the sauce, and gently stir to fully coat the pasta. Cok for 1 to 2 minutes, until the pasta is cooked al dente. Serve family-style right from the pot!
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Recipes provided by Pasta Louise.