Peperoni – not to be confused with pepperoni. As we know it, pepperoni is a pork or beef variety of a cured sausage or salami most commonly put on top of a pizza. But the english word pepperoni is actually a corruption of the italian word peperoni, which is the plural of peperone and refers to what we call bell peppers. I don’t know how this odd confusion in terminology came about, but it’s a good thing to remember if you are a lover of italian cuisine. And if you ever travel to Italy or eat at a restaurant where the menu is in italian know that the peperoni pizza is actually a vegetarian friendly option :)
My little brother recently returned from a trip to Illinois after visiting family and came home with some of the most wonderful gifts. A big basket of fresh produce from our grandparents’ garden perfected our kitchen counter with the distinct scent of homegrown, freshly picked vegetables. These robust peperoni are just a couple of the great treasures from the bunch. Other than taking a big bite out of one and eating it raw like an apple I could only think of one other thing I wanted to do with them.
So I heated up the broiler, lined a baking sheet with foil and stuck them in the oven for roasting. I LOVE the smoky taste of roasted red pepper. And I had forgotten how amazing the smell of them simmering in the oven was too!
My intent for these particular roasted red peppers was to make a pasta sauce with them. Although the charred skin of the pepper has great flavor the texture doesn’t do well for a more smooth sauce. So once they had cooled I peeled off as much as possible.
This sauce is very much a cream based sauce. It begins with onion and garlic, cream and some dried oregano and thyme, and a healthy handful of parmigiano or romano cheese. After describing the kind of sauce I was making to boyfriend he mentioned that it’s kind of like an alfredo sauce. I don’t know why I hadn’t made that connection earlier, but he is absolutely right! It’s like a roasted red pepper alfredo sauce.
I also threw in a bit of goat cheese I had in the fridge that needed to be used. It melted well and added a nice creamy thickness to the sauce.
I suppose it could be left as a chunky sauce, but I prefer it pureed. That way the roasted red pepper flavor is really infused into the sauce as a whole.
Served with penne, my fav and go-to pasta noodle.