This recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Pasta is great for an easy weeknight meal. It only takes about just under an hour from start to finish but it is so simple. What I love about this recipe is that most of the mise en place (the ingredients prep) can be done while the garlic and peppers are roasting in the oven.
How hot do you like it?
The spice level can be tweaked to your liking. Want it a little spicier, leave the seeds and ribs in the chili. I left the ribs in on mine but removed the seeds and it was just about perfect for a spicy Minnesota level of spiciness. You can also add a second chili if you want it really spicy but I would do a quick taste test on the chili to see how spicy it is. You can test the spiciness level by cutting off a small portion of the chili without the ribs and doing a quick taste test. If it tastes pretty mild, I would personally leave the stems.
Fresno chili substitute
If you can’t find Fresno chilis, jalapeño can be used instead.
It’s all about the ingredients
Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, try to use the best you can find. And since olive oil is playing such a big part, try to use the best olive oil you can afford. I personally use California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive Oil (this is not sponsored, I just really like it). It is great in vinaigrettes and any dish where you can taste the olive oil. And since it’s their everyday variety, it’s a little less expensive than some of their higher end products.
A note on pasta
Don’t wash it. Just don’t do it. When you cook pasta it will be covered in lovely, wonderful starch. That starch is what makes sauce stick to pasta. So, if you wash it all off the sauce will just slide right off.
What to do if you don’t have a ramekin or small oven safe bowl?
Don’t fret! Line a smallish bowl with two-layers of aluminum foil and add in the oil, garlic, and pepper. Fold in the sides of the foil to seal, remove from the bowl and place on a cookie sheet. It will cook just as well and bonus: less clean-up!
Don’t forget to season your water!
Seriously, don’t forget to season your pasta water. It is the best way to add seasoning to your pasta. And, again, since this dish has so few ingredients you want to make sure that each component is as tasty as it can be.
To test water seasoning for pasta: Start with a large stock pot filled about ¾ of the way with warm water. Add 2 teaspoons salt, dissolve in water and taste (you can either use a spoon or just stick your finger in). You should be able to taste the salt but it should not be overwhelmingly salty. If you can’t taste salt, add the last 1 teaspoon. Since this is based on the size of a pot and how much water you have, it’s possible this could be too much salt. If that is the case, pour out some of the salted water and add fresh water to pot.
Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Pasta
- 1 – 4-6 ounce ramekin
- Aluminum Foil
- Stock Pot
- Measuring cups and spoons or a scale
- 1 small Fresno pepper stem removed, halved lengthwise
- 9 cloves garlic whole, peeled; plus 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 garlic cloves)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus 2-3 teaspoons for pasta water
- 1 pound (16 ounces) spaghetti noodles
- 2 tablespoons italian parsley coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ cup pasta water reserved
- ½ cup parmesan cheese finely grated. Plus more for passing.
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Place halved red pepper (see Note 2), whole cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a 4-6 ounce oven safe ramekin. If pepper doesn’t fit, cut in half again, this time crosswise. Cover ramekin tightly with aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes until the garlic and pepper can easily be pierced with a fork.
If you have not already prepped all of your other ingredients, start working on that now.
- When garlic has about 20 minutes remaining, fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Once water begins to boil, cover until ready to cook pasta.
- When the garlic and pepper is tender, remove the ramekin from the oven and set aside until the next step. Start cooking pasta according to package directions. Stirring the pasta occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to itself.
- Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove roasted garlic and red pepper from oil in ramekin and place onto a cutting board to cool slightly. Add minced garlic, parsley, and lemon juice to the oil left in the ramekin and mix together.
- Mince roasted garlic and red pepper (be careful because it might still be hountil you have a thick paste. Add paste to the oil mixture in ramekin. Mix everything together.
- Once pasta is done cooking, put into a warmed bowl along with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ cup pasta water and toss to coat. Use a spatula to scrape garlic mixture from ramekin onto pasta and toss to combine.
- Optional (but highly recommended): Add parmesan cheese to pasta and toss to combine. If pasta is starting to look too dry, add the remaining ¼ cup reserved pasta water.