I promise that I am showing you the 4th post (in a row) full of red food with good reason.

As a self-proclaimed tomato sauce hater, I’ve just about had enough. Enough tomatoes, enough sauce, enough chili… enough enough enough. I have two giant tubs of chili frozen in my freezer, and at this rate I’m hoping they will stay edible for two full years. They truly are giant and I sort of just want to chuck them in the trash. I seriously cannot imagine putting one more bowl of chili beneath my chin, no matter how good it tastes. Lord help me.


But at any rate, I did manage to make this pasta dish last week for dinner that I’ve been dying to share with you, red or not. It’s simple and in my mind – perfect for a Monday when you really just wish it was Friday.

You won’t find me eating raw peppers anytime soon, but I do really love them roasted on top of things like pizza and pasta. So I ended up roasting my own, which is totally doable. If I can do it, you certainly can too. Trust me. I am not a chef by any means… I just play one on this blog.


We have especially been loving roasted reds lately. It all started when my husband decided he was in a sandwich phase – but not just any sandwich phase – triple the meat (think turkey + ham + roast beef), three different kinds of jarred peppers, spicy mustard and two kinds of cheese. Similar to his diet Mountain Dew, cheddar and peanut butter cracker, and chocolate-chip-cookie-over-the-sink phases. He was going through an entire jar of roasted red peppers per sandwich, being that most jars are complete rip offs and only contain one whole pepper twirled together in a manipulative way to make you believe it’s really two or three. One pepper! Ha. What a joke.


And I got in on this too when I started slicing squares of fontina and topping them with the peppers then laying both on buttered toast. I’ve been all over that and was buying 4-5 jars of roasted peppers at time which was nearing the brink of ridiculousness.

All you need to do is throw the peppers under your broiler, char them ’til black, then stuff them in a ziplock bag and let them do their thing. It’s really not a big deal, and yes… I’ve tried that whole roasting-on-my-gas-burner thing and it just skeeves me out. I’m not too skilled when it comes to things in the kitchen like chopping with a scary knife and remembering to turn off the oven, so I didn’t find standing over an open flame very desirable. Um, plus… have you seen my hair? Someone likes hairspray.

I love this dish for multiple reasons, one of them being that it is not tomato based (duh) and the second being that the sauce leaves just a light coating on the pasta. I do not like my pasta swimming in sauce, unless we’re talking alfredo… the language of love. Give me cheese or give me death. My suggestion would be if you do like tons upon tons of sauce, double the sauce recipe to the same amount of pasta. That’s a lot of garlic and delicious spice. Maybe just don’t make out with anyone right after eating it? Or do. Whatever. Maybe you like that sort of thing.

Roasted Red Pepper Penne

serves 4

2 large red peppers

3 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

4-5 basil leaves, torn

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

4-5 tablespoons olive oil (I used a garlic-infused from Fustinis)

2 cups of dry whole wheat penne

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 thin sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt & pepper for seasoning chicken

To roast peppers: remove core and seeds from peppers and slice into pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and preheat the broiler in your oven. Place under the broiler skin-side up until skins are completely charred and black – this took about 10 minutes for me but will depend on your oven. Just check every 2 minutes or so. Immediately remove peppers from oven and using kitchen tongs, quickly place them in a ziplock bag then seal it. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.

While peppers are “steaming” in the bag, pat the chicken breasts completely dry with a pepper towel, then season them with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brown chicken on both sides until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. {I made the chicken the same as this recipe.} Set chicken aside to cool, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same skillet with onions and a sprinkle of salt. Saute over medium-low heat until onions soften and caramelized. Cut chicken into pieces.

Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions. Remove peppers from the bag and peel the skin off to discard. It’s okay if a little bit of char remains as it adds to the flavor. Add peppers, garlic, parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper to a food processor. Blend until pureed, then stream in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil so mixture comes together.

In a large bowl, combine penne with chicken and onions. Add red pepper sauce and toss thoroughly to coat as it is very thick. Serve with additional parmesan cheese and a few basil leaves.

I need a cookie after all of this.

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155 Responses to “Roasted Red Pepper Penne.”

  1. #
    Katie — September 19, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    We’re twins! I just made a roasted red pepper pesto this week and was about to post the recipe! Yours (obviously) looks better. I’m going to just direct people to your site when they ask me more about it. :-)


    • Jessica — September 19th, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

      Hahah you are nuts girl – I am SURE yours looks delicious.


  2. #
    Marcella @ Sweet Marcella — September 19, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    I never knew roasting your own peppers was so easy! I thought because they tasted SO good there had to be some magical trick to roast them.

    I just got my first food processor too, so this is a must try!


  3. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — September 19, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

    I absolutely love the flavor of roasted red bell peppers. Quite frankly possibly the only way they should be eaten in my book!


    • Jessica — September 19th, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

      Agreed! ;)


  4. #
    Michelle — September 19, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

    You just can’t go wrong here. Pasta and peppers? I’m so in.


  5. #
    Kelly — September 19, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    This looks gorgeous. I do love that you’ve been finding creative ways to do unique things with your chili, which at least in my house, makes me get sick of it less quickly.


  6. #
    Renee — September 19, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    This looks delicious. I wish red peppers weren’t $5.99 a pound here. Yikes!


  7. #
    Brooke — September 19, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    I need high heels made of roasted red peppers. And a shirt. Why, oh why don’t they make those more readily available?

    In the meantime, this recipe deserves it’s own fall designer line. Gorgeous!


  8. #
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — September 19, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    I love roasted bell peppers – they just taste sweeter and goes so well with pastas’ and sandwiches. YUMMY!


  9. #
    sara — September 19, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! I love roasted red peppers…such a delicious food! And this recipe looks like a really yummy way to use them. :)


  10. #
    Ashley — September 19, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

    bahahaha to the hairspray/oven comment!!! The pasta looks simple + perfect. Roasted red peppers are a favorite here as well. I guess it’s about time I roasted my own!


  11. #
    Morgan @ moments of mmm — September 19, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    I have never tried roasting peppers under the boiler! I always do the grill but this seems a lot less messy! This looks delicious and I happen to have a red pepper hanging in my fridge right now…dinner tonight!


  12. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — September 19, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    Yumm…this looks so good. I don’t mind red food at all! I love roasting my own peppers, I just wish they weren’t so darn expensive.


    • Jessica — September 19th, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

      Ugh I knooooow.


  13. #
    Kati @ The Ivey League — September 19, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    “Give me cheese or give me death.” Love it.

    I think I might try your roasting tip! And this recipe =)


  14. #
    Christina — September 19, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    I forget to turn off the oven all the time, too. :)


    • Jessica — September 19th, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

      Glad I’m not the only one!


  15. #
    Michelle — September 19, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    Love the change from a traditional tomato sauce!


  16. #
    Charissa — September 19, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    I’m on way to your house for supper, just thought I’d let you know. ;)

    Looks SOOOO good!


  17. #
    Cait @ Cait hates Cake — September 19, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

    I’ve never tried roasting red peppers, but you make it sound like it’s totally easy so now I want to give it a try!


  18. #
    Caitlin @ Vegetarian in the City — September 19, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

    Wow that sauce looks amazing. I always forget about my food processor – i think i might break it out tonight :)


  19. #
    jessica B — September 19, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    Making this right now! Pretty excited :D


  20. #
    Lisa (bakebikeblog) — September 19, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

    oh my – this looks DELIGHTFUL!


  21. #
    Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife — September 19, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    Oh my. Thank you! I’ve been anti-tomato sauce lately and I cannot find a recipe that uses only real tomatoes and nothing canned. This is a great alternative and looks really good. Plus, I’ve been wondering how to roast peppers without burning my face off.
    Thank you, you made my day!


  22. #
    Amy — September 19, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    This looks soooo good!!!


  23. #
    Katrina — September 19, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

    Can I have this now please?? Whyyyyyy did I have dinner already :(


  24. #
    Jessica B. — September 19, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

    I was looking for a chicken dish for tonight’s dinner and this fit the bill! I modified it slightly in that I simply sautéed the chicken in the roasted red pepper sauce – no pasta. Upon first bite, my husband’s comment was, “All chicken should taste like this.” Thanks!


  25. #
    jessica B — September 19, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

    This gets 10 thumbs up from my house. Everyone asked for seconds so I’m glad I doubled for our family. I followed it mostly as written. Hubby and I did add some red pepper flakes to ours to give it a little kick. Overall it was great and I will be making it again. Ty!


  26. #
    Deanna — September 19, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

    I just made this for dinner, and it was delicious! I love how quick and easy it is. This will definitely be a late night staple!


  27. #
    Liv B — September 19, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

    YUM! I’ve always been a bit scared of roasting pepper because my first thought is to do them over the flame and I’m not so keen on roasted fingers. Doing it under the grill makes so much sense! This seems like a really fresh & tasty summer dish, which is great seeing as that’s where we’re headed!


  28. #
    Mallory — September 19, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

    yum. quite simply yum. Gonna make this soon.


  29. #
    claudia lamascolo — September 20, 2011 @ 7:07 am

    I am so into new sauce toppings this may be my new favorite thanks for sending it on cant wait to try it!


  30. #
    Kita — September 20, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    I am a fan of raw peppers, roasted peppers and peppers in general – however the man is not – but if he didn’t know that’s what made the sauce slathering his beloved carbohydrates, he wouldn’t complain. This one looks like a win in my book!


  31. #
    angela — September 20, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    you’ve definitely got peppers on the brain with this post — the paragraph where you say to pat the chicken breasts completely dry with a “pepper” towel. paper…pepper…wha? ;)

    i’ve been on a trying-a-new-recipe-everyday kick lately… this definitely looks yummy and so easy to make. i’ll have to try it!


  32. #
    Jeanette — September 20, 2011 @ 10:31 am

    That looks amazing – love roasted red peppers, nice change from the typical tomato sauce!


  33. #
    Jersey Girl Cooks — September 20, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    Love this!


  34. #
    Allison Wilkes — September 20, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    Do we think that I can make this using a blender (I don’t own a food processor) using the puree setting?


    • Jessica — September 20th, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

      I think so!


  35. #
    Amanda — September 20, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    OMG!!! This is just what I need! I can’t eat tomatoes because they are too acidic for my bladder. But we struggle with pasta…there are so many ways the kids will eat it. This looks perfect!!! Hopefully I get peppers again in my CSA tomorrow because I want to eat this tomorrow!!!!


  36. #
    Dakota — September 20, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

    I made this tonight and will definitely be doing it again! I think the pepper-blend base could be delicious mixed with some goat cheese as a dip or stuffed into a chicken breast. Yum!


  37. #
    JulieD — September 20, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    I absolutely have to try this soon!


  38. #
    Jany@SuperCuteCookies — September 20, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I have got to try this.


  39. #
    Melinda — September 20, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    I just discovered your website and I’m SO excited about your recipes! Especially this one! Thank you!!


  40. #
    Jen @ keepitsimplefoods — September 21, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    Yum! This looks delish! I recently roasted red peppers and used a plastic bag to cook them, but then I couldn’t help but wonder how many carcinogens I was releasing into the air and the peppers! I wonder if a paper bag would be better? Maybe it doesn’t matter…I don’t know.


    • Jessica — September 21st, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

      Never even thought of that… yikes.


      • JM — October 31st, 2011 @ 9:34 am

        i tried this recipe last night and both me and my husband loved it! thank you so much for something other than a marinara sauce!

        Regarding the carcinogens: the Ziploc brand makes a bag specifically for steaming, which I think can be used in this recipe. I’m sure they’re in the grocery stores, but I can’t confirm it since I haven’t checked yet. Just google “ziploc zip and steam bag” and that should help.

  41. #
    Nicole Shafer — September 21, 2011 @ 10:02 am

    I made this pasta last night and it was AMAZING! I believe the words out of my husband’s mouth were, “yeah…this one’s definitely a keeper.” I’m new to your blog (shamful, yes) and so far the several recipes I’ve made have all been nothing less than fantastic. Thank you!


    • Jessica — September 21st, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

      Thanks Nicole! Glad you liked it. :)


  42. #
    Shaina — September 27, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    This sounds just fantastic. I hate getting into the marinara sauce rut, and I could definitely get behind a red pepper variety.


  43. #
    Janine — October 2, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    Delicious recipe, I tried it on fish and it was to die for!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks for the recipe =)


  44. #
    Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife — October 3, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    I made this last week & LOVED it. So good, can’t wait to make it again. I also modified the recipe to make roasted red pepper dip (substitute the olive oil for 3 oz low-fat cream cheese and chill). I had to share on my blog today. Thanks for the good eats!


  45. #
    Liz — October 23, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    I just tried this recipe tonight and it was delicious! I will definitely be making it again. Thank you so much for sharing!


  46. #
    Michele — November 4, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    aagghh, i can’t moooovveeee.
    this was so good. so-o-o-o good.
    “i’m-so-full-but-i-can’t-stop-eating-this-glorious-goodness-oh-help-me” good.

    daddy’s review: “pretty good.”
    but in my book, that’s my review x4892849283

    he criticized my pasta making skills though. apparently al dente doesn’t really exist in his book. just like anything under a well done steak doesn’t exist.


  47. #
    Erin — January 21, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    Made it. I think I made too much pasta, therefore lost a bit of the flavor of the sauce in each bite. Next time less pasta or more sauce.
    That being said, the boy ate 2 bowls and declared it the first time I didn’t overcook the chicken. Success!


  48. #
    Jazzy — March 21, 2012 @ 7:19 am

    Wonderful! I never thought to do this. I wish I didn’t use up that red pepper I used the other day with my fresh asparagus. sighhhhh. U have great recipes!


  49. #
    Lisa — March 21, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

    Doubled the recipe but realized i was low on olive oil so I had a jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil and added the oil from that. Also added a few of the tomatoes. Was delish… added a bit more depth. Could also add some Kalamata or dark olives… Really good!


  50. #
    Alyssa — June 9, 2012 @ 12:44 am

    i have been coming back to this recipe for days, trying to find a day i can fit making it into my schedule. could not be more excited to make it!!



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