Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Cream Pasta

Let’s take a short break from travel stories for something delicious you can have right in your own home.
As a result of what I can only call sheer exhaustion, I have been less than creative or inspired in the kitchen. One of the big hopes I had for our time in South Dakota was to have the chance to unwind a bit, spend a little time in the kitchen playing with recipes and combinations I’ve jotted down in my notes over the past year or so, and get back to eating the way I know makes me feel my best, and makes me the happiest.
A while ago I spent a weekend with my Lizzie and she enlightened me about the ease of roasting red peppers under the broiler. She then combined her freshly roasted pepper with some roasted garlic in a blender, and made a delicious topping for our quinoa cake dinner. Taking inspiration from that mouthwatering meal I took a stab at my own roasted red pepper delicacy.

We found ourselves incredibly lucky to have a gas stove in our new house and recalling an instructional post from Daily Garnish (formerly The Front Burner) I set to roasting my pepper, well peppers, over open flame!
I used a combination of a red pepper and a yellow pepper, simply because that is what I had (But I would recommend sticking with all red, they are just so sweet and flavorful), and kicked it up a bit with a pinch of cayenne for a hint unexpected spice (trust me it really adds something to the flavor).
Roasting became my theme as I popped fresh asparagus and mushrooms into the oven.

And at the last second I thought to add a bit of oomph (and protein) by throwing in my secret ingredient for low fat  vegan creamy sauces…tofu.
What it resulted in was a thick, flavorful, hearty dinner for two.
Roasted Red Pepper Cream Pasta
Serves 3-4
1 lb. Penne (or short pasta of choice)
2 Red Bell Peppers
5 Cloves Garlic (whole with peel on)
1/2 a bunch of Fresh Asparagus
6 Large Mushrooms, sliced
1/3 block Extra Firm Tofu
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Olive Oil for Roasting
Salt & Pepper

1. Toss the asparagus, mushrooms, and whole garlic cloves in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for around 20 minutes or until tender. I removed my mushrooms at around 12 minutes.
2.  Roast your peppers. In the oven: Slice the peppers in half and place cut side down on a lightly oiled pan, then place under the broiler watching until the skin is completely charred (no need to oil the pepper itself). On the stove: Place your peppers (I did this one at a time) directly on the eye so that the flames kiss the skin. Rotate the pepper until all of the sides have charred completely. Let cool. Peel the charred skin off of the cooled peppers and slice into thin strips. Save a quarter of the slices to mix in the final dish.
3. Cook pasta al dente, drain, and set aside.
4. Place red pepper strips (minus your reserve), the roasted garlic cloves (peeled), and tofu in blender (or food processor). Blend until smooth adding salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.
5. Slice the asparagus into chunks.
6. Toss the asparagus, mushrooms, pepper strips, and pasta back into the pasta pot. Pour sauce over everything and toss to coat.
7. Serve!

I’m a fiend for a creamy pasta, but I hardly ever order it or make it because of the heavy fat and calorie content. This dish lets me have my cream…and eat it too 🙂

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