LA CUCINA ITALIANA

LA CUCINA ITALIANA

Chef’s Recipe: Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce by Allison Arevalo

by Andrew Cotto contributor September 28, 2020

The celebrated comfort food chef shares a childhood favorite and a professional inspiration. 

Growing up in New York, Allison Arevalo and her sister would beg their father to make his signature sauce, which would inevitably attract neighbors over for a community meal. As an adult on the West Coast where she operated two successful locations of Homeroom, a Mac + Cheese restaurant, Allison Arevalo began having friends over for “Pasta Friday” where her father’s specialty, once again, attracted the community into their home. After relocating back East, the sauce can be found at Arevalo’s new Brooklyn eatery, Pasta Louise, among five other signature sauces paired with housemade pasta. 

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Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce by Allison Arevalo

Ingredients:

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 chile or Marash pepper
Kosher salt
1 pound cannolicchi, penne, gemelli, or radiatori (preferably short pasta)

Method:

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, chile pepper, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, until it smells outrageously good.

Add the pureed 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 pasta 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. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the pasta is cooked al dente. Serve family-style right from the pot!

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Roasted Peppers:

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.

Roasted Garlic:

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Cut the top third off a head of garlic and discard. Place the garlic, cut side up, on a small sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt. Close the foil around the garlic and roast, cut side up, for about 45 minutes. You’ll know when 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.

Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Crispy, Spicy Prosciutto (recipe follows):

Spicy Prosciutto:

Ingredients:

10 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto ends
1 to 2 teaspoons dried red chili flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Arrange the prosciutto in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, until crispy. Cool, then crumble the prosciutto with your hands, and place in a small bowl. Add the chili flakes to taste and enough olive oil to completely submerge (about ¾ cup), and stir.

This recipe was originally published in The Pasta Friday Cookbook: Let’s Eat Together by Allison Arevala.

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