In this roasted red pepper pasta, a slightly smoky, bright, and luxuriously creamy vegetarian sauce is ready in less than 10 minutes. This handy back-pocket pasta recipe can be made entirely with pantry staples, or you can roast the peppers yourself for an added depth of flavor.

two plates with creamy roasted red pepper pasta topped with parmesan cheese and basil next to a pot of roasted red pepper pasta.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

This roasted red pepper pasta is a delicious twist on a classic red spaghetti sauce with no tomatoes involved.

I blend roasted red peppers, spices, and aromatics with whole milk to make a super silky, creamy sauce. It's so rich and velvety, it reminds me of a classic Italian-American Penne alla Vodka but with the distinctly Mediterranean flavors of a Spanish Romesco.

You won’t believe this super comforting, flavorful pasta sauce is ready to go by the time the rigatoni is done boiling! This recipe is faster than ordering delivery and uses ingredients you likely have on hand. Add an element of surprise to your weeknight dinner rotation, perhaps with a crisp white wine and fresh tomato salad like panzanella

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for this Pantry Pasta Recipe
  2. How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
  3. What to Serve with Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
  4. More Easy Pasta Recipes
  5. Hojiblanca Spanish EVOO
  6. Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Recipe
ingredients for roasted red pepper pasta including rigatoni, olive oil, 4 garlic cloves, whole milk, basil, dried oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

Ingredients for this Pantry Pasta Recipe

This roasted red pepper pasta recipe uses Mediterranean pantry staples, many of which are likely already living in your kitchen. If not, they’re all easy to source. You’ll need: 

  • Pasta: I love ridged rigatoni for this recipe, which captures the delicious sauce in all its nooks and crannies. That said, you can sub in any pasta you have on hand. 
  • Olive oil: Used to soften the garlic and enrich the sauce. Our peppery Spanish Hojiblanca pairs well with the smoky peppers, but any high-quality extra virgin variety you have on hand works.
  • Garlic: Sweet and savory garlic adds bold flavor to the pasta sauce, and only needs a quick bath in hot olive oil to soften and mellow. 
  • Red peppers: Roast the peppers yourself with our easy roasted red pepper recipe for the best flavor, or use jarred to save time.
  • Milk: A small amount of whole milk gives a nice body and creaminess to the sauce. You can substitute with lactose-free milk. Or, for a vegan option, substitute with unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk and leave off the cheese.
  • Seasoning: Dried oregano, sweet or smoked Spanish paprika, kosher salt, and black pepper are the flavor-makers of this easy pasta sauce. 
  • Parmesan: Freshly grated parmesan instantly adds a deeply savory umami flavor to the pasta sauce.
  • Basil: An optional garnish, basil leaves add a pop of color and freshness to the pasta.  
close up of a blue plate with creamy roasted red pepper pasta topped with parmesan cheese and basil.

How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

This roasted red pepper pasta recipe is quick and easy—it’s done in the amount of time it takes to boil the pasta. To make it: 

  • Get your roasted red peppers ready. Roast 3 large bell peppers either on the stovetop or in your oven–see both methods in our guide: Roasted Peppers (Two Ways!). Or, thoroughly drain and pat dry one 15-ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers. 
  • Boil the pasta. Bring a large saucepan of water (about 4 quarts) to a rolling boil and season generously with kosher salt (about ½ to 1 tablespoon). Add 12 ounces of rigatoni and bring back to boil. Stir occasionally until the pasta is cooked to al dente according to package instructions, about 9 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining. 
  • Soften the garlic. Set up a large food processor with the blade attachment. While the pasta is cooking, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until just shimmering. Add 4 crushed garlic cloves and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer both the garlic and olive oil to the food processor. crushed garlic cloves simmering in a bit of olive oil in a blue pot.
  • Add the roasted peppers. If you roasted the peppers yourself, remove the skin and seeds and roughly chop. Add the peppers to the food processor, along with ½ cup of whole milk and ½ teaspoon each of oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. roasted red pepper sauce being mixed in a food processor.
  • Combine the pasta and sauce. When the pasta is ready, remember to reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and drain. Return the pasta to the saucepan and pour the sauce over top. Turn the heat to low and add ¼ cup of grated parmesan. Use a wooden spoon to mix well so that the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Mix in the reserved pasta water, a splash at a time, as necessary until the pasta is nicely glossy (you likely won’t need all of the water). cooked roasted red pepper pasta topped with parmesan cheese in a blue pot with a wooden spoon.
  • Serve. Divide the pasta among serving bowls and top with fresh basil and more parmesan cheese, if you like. 

What to Serve with Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Roasted red pepper pasta is a nutritious, filling meal all on its own. You could really stop there, but if you’d like to add something to your table go for something crunchy and fresh — panzanella, fattoush, or a simple tomato cucumber salad all come to mind.

a blue plate with creamy roasted red pepper pasta topped with parmesan cheese and basil with a fork.

More Easy Pasta Recipes

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Hojiblanca Spanish EVOO

Peppery extra virgin olive oil from the Southern Andalusian region of Estepa.

A bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
4.90 from 48 votes

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Suzy Karadsheh
a blue plate with creamy roasted red pepper pasta topped with parmesan cheese and basil with a fork next to a pot of roasted red pepper pasta.
This easy pasta recipe is creamy, slightly smoky, and so comforting and delicious. It’s reason enough to roast some red bell peppers but if you save some time with the jarred variety, no judgment here! Just make sure to drain them well.
Prep – 5 minutes
Cook – 10 minutes
Total – 15 minutes
Cuisine:
Italian
Serves – 4
Course:
Dinner, Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces ridged rigatoni
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 3 large roasted red peppers, homemade or 15-ounce jar roasted red peppers
  • ½ cup whole milk or milk of your choice
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Spanish paprika, sweet or smoked
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan, more to your liking
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, torn, for garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Boil the pasta. Bring a large saucepan of water (about 4 quarts) to a rolling boil and season generously with kosher salt (about ½ to 1 tablespoon). Add the pasta and bring back to boil. Stir occasionally until the pasta is cooked to al dente according to package instructions, about 9 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
  • Soften the garlic. While the pasta is cooking, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until just shimmering. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the garlic and olive oil to the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a blade.
  • Add the roasted peppers. If you roasted the peppers yourself, remove the skin and seeds and roughly chop. If you’re using a jar, drain them well and pat them dry. Add the peppers to the food processor, along with the milk, oregano, paprika, and a big pinch of salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon each). Blend until smooth.
  • Combine the pasta and sauce. When the pasta is ready, remember to reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and drain. Return the pasta to the saucepan and pour the sauce over top. Turn the heat to low and add the parmesan. Stir to mix well so the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Mix in the reserved pasta water, a splash at a time, as necessary until the pasta is nicely glossy (you likely won’t need all of the water).
  • Serve. Divide the pasta among serving bowls and top with fresh basil and more parmesan cheese, if you like.

Video

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcalCarbohydrates: 68.1gProtein: 14.4gFat: 4.2gSaturated Fat: 1.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.8gCholesterol: 9.1mgSodium: 506.7mgPotassium: 308.3mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 3.8gVitamin A: 375.4IUVitamin C: 13.8mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 1.6mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. We had this for dinner last night. Absolutely delish!! I made it as directed, but I made the sauce several hours before preparing the pasta. Thank you Suzy, another great recipe!!

    1. Hi Beth, Devin here from the Mediterranean Dish team. Your regular paprika will work perfectly. Happy cooking!

    1. Hi, Ali! I'm sorry this wasn't your favorite. Perhaps it just needed an extra dash of salt to meet your tastes. If you like things a bit spicy you might want to try this version of red pepper pasta with chorizo and spinach. It has a few more ingredients and zip from the chorizo.

  2. I'm one of those people who is obsessed with these recipes; which I find myself craving constantly. Tonight I only had a few key ingredients: 1 red onion, 1 small eggplant, garlic, tomato paste. I quickly channeled my inner Dish Diva and cut the eggplant into cubes (which I salted then dried with a paper towel), tossed with olive oil and roasted, then sauteed garlic, onions, tomato paste, and the eggplant, adding some salted pasta water. Let it simmer, tossed with pasta, topped with parm and italian parsley. Turned into a satisfying meal!

  3. 4 stars
    This was really good and easy to make. I used my vitamix instead of a food processor since my food processor is so small and it worked great! The reason for 4 stars is because this recipe is missing something. By the 3rd bite I really felt it needed an acid. I tried lemon juice but it was still a bit off, maybe some olive juice next time. Other than that, was fairly easy even with roasting my own peppers! Would reccomend!

  4. 5 stars
    I didn't have much at home to make for dinner, but thanks to TMD and Suzy, I keep a few things in the pantry at all times and had a jar of red peppers. I followed the recipe exactly - really no changes necessary. This is so good and so filling! My husband commented both during and after dinner how good it was! Another winner!

  5. 5 stars
    I am astonished at the recipes The Mediterranean Dish produces. I cook at least one to two recipes a week using recipes published here and they all have similar characteristics; simple ingredients, easy recipes to follow, and wonderful results. I used a 15oz jar of red peppers following the rest of the recipe with a few tweaks:

    1. I used Aleppo pepper
    2. I added a handful of kalamata olives
    3. I doubled the amount of cheese

    A+

  6. 5 stars
    Okay this is truly awesome, thanks so much! I've made this many times now, pretty much once a week, and I hate to be that person that posts a bunch of "here's what I did", but this did make a difference... triple the garlic but roast it same time as the red peppers instead of sautéing it. 🙂 Then add almost twice as much oregano and sweet paprika, almost a full teaspoon of salt, add a few dashes of a hot pepper like ghost pepper (to your liking, but it does make a difference), and then garnish with Thai Basil instead of sweet basil, and wow the depth of flavor is incredible. It already started out so great! Plus that extra paprika really makes it extra visually appealing because of how deep the color of red is, and it's a mild flavor anyway.

  7. Okay this is truly awesome, thanks so much! I've made this many times now, pretty much once a week, and I hate to be that person that posts a bunch of "here's what I did", but this did make a difference... triple the garlic but roast it same time as the red peppers instead of sautéing it. 🙂 Then add almost twice as much oregano and sweet paprika, almost a full teaspoon of salt, add a few dashes of a hot pepper like ghost pepper (to your liking, but it does make a difference), and then garnish with Thai Basil instead of sweet basil, and wow the depth of flavor is incredible. It already started out so great! Plus that extra paprika really makes it extra visually appealing because of how deep the color of red is, and it's a mild flavor anyway.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this last night for guests. Fabulous and the red pepper sauce was a new twist and guests were impressed. I browned sweet Italian sausage and added. Will definitely make again. Thank you for these great recipes. I have never been disappointed by any I’ve tried.

  9. 5 stars
    This is a really nice addition to the repertoire. I would not go as far as to say, the best I've ever made, but it is really delicious and so QUICK to make, which is a real bonus! I used jarred peppers. I might be tempted to add some diced, sautéed chorizo next time for more texture. Thank you for a keeper recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    This is so easy to make and it tastes out of the world!!! I did use jarred roasted red peppers only because I didn’t have fresh ones to roast (which I also used Suzy’s recipe for earlier in the week and they were phenomenal!) Thank you Suzy! I love watching your videos.

  11. Looking forward to trying this. Can the sauce be made in advance and stored in the fridge or freezer?

    1. Hi, Kathryn. You can definitely make the sauce ahead and store in the fridge for a few days. If you are going to freeze it, don't add the cream until you are ready to reheat and serve.

  12. 5 stars
    Delicious! I used jarred roasted red peppers and couldn't believe how quickly the sauce came together. Husband loved it and he's a very picky eater.

  13. 4 stars
    Excellent. I used a jar of roasted red peppers and half and half in place of milk.
    It came together quickly.

  14. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was a hit with even my toddler! A bit time-consuming as my oven took sooooo long to roast the peppers but next time will plan ahead better for dinner. Really easy otherwise and great flavour 😍

  15. Would this taste as good using orange peppers? My husband bought a big bag of orange I need to use up. Thanks. Love your site and all your recipes.

    1. Hi, JJ. We've never tried this with orange bell peppers, so it's hard to tell you if it would "taste as good." Technically, the recipe will work the same, though, so I say give it a try if you have a bunch of peppers you need to use up. If you do, please stop back and share your thoughts!!