Wowee! This dish is everything I like in a meal!
Budget-friendly, ultra-flavorful, pretty to look at, and quick to prep. I tell ya, you can’t beat a meal like that… no Siree.
I love that this sauce is a step away from the norm too. It’s still a rich & satisfying red sauce… but the flavor comes from roasted red peppers and just a hint of tomato, rather than your typical tomato sauce. (If you’re about to run for the hills at the mention of “roasted red peppers”, don’t! I bought them in a jar already roasted. Making this sauce just couldn’t have been easier!)
And another thing I LOVE about this dish (gosh, this list is getting long!) is that it fits into my super-low grocery budget quite nicely. You see, I try to spend less than $10 per week on meat… and one way I do that is by buying a whole chicken or cut-up chicken parts, then boiling them to make broth, and shredding the chicken to use throughout the week. Today’s dish is just one of many meals I can cook using the shredded chicken I get from doing that (and usually it costs me $4-5 total for enough meat to stretch into about 3 meals.) Exciting stuff, fo’ reals.
Before I give you the super-easy, super-quick recipe… do you like these photos??? I’m so THRILLED about them! My good friend/cousin, Zach Cheatham, has lent me a fantastic DSLR camera to use for the blog! It is the Canon 50D, and I am loving it! I purchased a 50mm F1.8 lens to use with it and I’m loving the resulting photos. Now I get to take great quality shots in about one tenth of the time it was taking me before with my point & shoot! And the folks at Canon blew me away with how helpful their customer support was when I ran into a technical issue about a week into using the camera. So that was mega-impressive. When I’m ready to drop the dough on a camera body of my own, I’ve got my eye on this little baby. 😉
Anyway, like I said, this pasta dish could not be simpler! And feel free to make it vegetarian… it’s as simple as leaving out the pre-cooked, pre-shredded chicken. Bada bing!
You need a few simple ingredients:
-A jar of roasted red peppers in oil (preferrably with garlic… yum!), -About a cup of pre-cooked, chopped chicken (optional), -Parmesan cheese, -Some tomato paste, -A little lemon juice, -A little honey, -And some salt & pepper. Also grab some noodles (I prefer rigatoni), a mini-food processor, and some mozzarella cheese. (Care to make your own? Cuz here’s a link, just in case.)
“Romesco” sauce is a simple sauce made from roasted red peppers, oil, garlic, and sometimes nuts. It’s very quick to make, and amazingly tasty… so if you’ve never tried it, now’s a perfect time!
Start by boiling about 6-8 oz pasta in salted water. While it becomes al dente, make the sauce. Toss the roasted red peppers (all of them) into a food processor and spoon in about 2 Tbsp of the oil from the jar. Throw in the garlic close from the jar too. And if it didn’t come with garlic, throw in a garlic clove. Thank you.
Then add in 1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp. each of salt & pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. tomato paste, & 1/2 Tbsp. honey. Pulse in the food processor til the peppers are broken down into a semi-smooth sauce.
And that’s the sauce! It’s meant to be slightly sweet from the peppers and honey, but feel free to taste it and add a pinch more salt if you want to.
Next,while the noodles continue to boil, slice up the mozzarella. The amount to want is up to you, but I found I was able to use about 6 oz.
When the pasta is ready, drain it, then toss it together with the sauce and the pre-cooked, chopped chicken. So easy!
Now just spread this into a greased baking dish (roughly 8″x12″)…
And place the slices of mozzarella cheese over the top.
Now this’ll just bake in the oven for practically NO TIME. (I mean it, 5 minutes at 400-degrees and another 3 under the broiler and it’s done!)
Chris and I both loved it and kept remarking about how wonderfully light the sauce was. Flavorful but not heavy at all!
What a nice change of pace to throw into your weeknight meal repertoire. I hope you enjoy!
Here’s the printable recipe:
Quick & Easy Romesco Pasta Bake
Source: The Pretty/Hungry Blog
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: >10 minutes
-1 (12 oz.) jar of roasted red peppers in oil (with garlic)
-1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
-1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
-1 pinch red pepper flakes
-1/2 Tbsp. honey
-1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
-1 Tbsp. tomato paste
-1 Cup pre-cooked, pre-chopped chicken (optional)
-6-8 oz. Rigatoni Pasta
-6-8 oz. fresh Mozzarella cheese
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in 1 tsp salt. Add noodles and allow to cook according to package directions, to al dente. Prepare a small casseroly dish (roughly 8″x12″) by spraying it with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Use a mini-processor to pulse the red peppers, 2 Tbsp of the oil from the jar, the garlic clove, the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, honey, & lemon juice until a semi-smooth sauce is formed. Slice the mozzarella cheese and set aside.
When pasta is cooked, drain the noodles and toss them together with the romesco sauce and chicken (if using.) Pour mixture into prepared dish and lay slices of mozzarella over the top. Bake at 400 for 5-6 minutes, then finish under the broiler for another 3-5 minutes.
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