When Kara first suggested we make a red pepper pasta sauce I envisioned a tomato sauce with red pepper flakes. Sometimes I just don’t think out of the box. Like at all. I actually like red peppers but a red sauce without tomatoes? Say what?!?
I decided to go with the flow, because let’s face it…Kara has better judgment than I do. Lo and behold this was one of the best pastas I’ve ever had. So good that I had a helping for breakfast the next morning. So good that I added it to my list of top 5 favorite pasta sauces. Now that’s HUGE statement.
The sauce was mildly sweet but paired with the savory sausage and the onions and cheese…it was just pure deliciousness.
1 pound small pasta (we used radiatore)
1 yellow onion, cut into medium slices
6 red peppers, halved, ribs and seeds removed
1 pound Italian sausage
handful fresh basil
¼ cup walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup reserved pasta water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place onions and sausage in a baking dish; drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. On a baking sheet, lay out the red pepper halves, insides facing up. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Bake the peppers for 30 minutes. Bake the onions and sausage for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
While the veggies and sausage cook, bring a pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
In a food processor, pulse cooked peppers, garlic, basil and walnuts. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Cut the cooked sausage into bite size pieces.
Add the red pepper sauce to the cooked pasta and pour in as much reserved pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce. Add the sausage and fontina cheese and toss everything together. Serve immediately.
Source: a Live Love Pasta original