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Pasta with Yellow Pepper Sauce

Pasta with Yellow Pepper Sauce - So rich and creamy, you'll never believe that this sauce is made without heavy cream!  Recipe from our honeymoon spent in Italy!

For our honeymoon (many years ago) my husband Jack and I went on the trip of a lifetime! We went to the Tuscany region of Italy and spent the week at a wonderful Italian cooking school called Toscana Saporita.

After a very long flight from Boston, we arrived at the school just as a light afternoon meal was about to be served. The very first dish we tasted was this Pasta with Yellow Pepper Sauce – and one bite into it – Jack and I both knew that we had made the right choice in signing up for this culinary vacation!

This rich and creamy yellow pepper sauce is loaded with flavor. But you’ll be surprised that there is no cream in it – just a puree of yellow bell pepper, onions, leeks and olive oil that is simply flavored with salt, pepper, thyme and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Pasta with Yellow Pepper Sauce - So rich and creamy, you'll never believe that this sauce is made without heavy cream!  Recipe from our honeymoon spent in Italy!

This pasta with yellow pepper sauce is so delicious that after his first bite back in Italy, Jack thought to himself, “If the rest of this vacation is terrible, it doesn’t matter because I got to taste THIS dish!”

Of course, the rest of the vacation was absolutely amazing – but almost eleven years later, this pasta with yellow sauce still stands out in both of our minds because it symbolized what we expected from a culinary vacation in Italy: fantastic, freshly-made Italian-style foods prepared by trained chefs who served us foods that we had never tried before.

This recipe was given to us by the cooking school. It is meant to be served as a beginner course to a meal, but it can be served as a side dish, or even as the main course for a meatless meal. Mangia!

Pasta with Yellow Pepper Sauce
 
Serves: 4 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups diced sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • 2 leeks, white part only cleaned of all sand and diced (about one cup)
  • 4 extra-large yellow bell peppers, cleaned of all seeds and pulp sliced very thin (about 1 ½ pounds after cleaning)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme or half that of dried
  • 1 pound Cellentani-shaped pasta, or any pasta that holds sauce well such as Fusilli
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to sprinkle over the finished dish
Instructions
  1. In a large sauté pan or skillet with high sides, heat oil over medium to medium high heat and add onions and leeks. Cook stirring occasionally for eight minutes adjusting heat so that leeks don’t brown. Add peppers, salt, pepper and thyme and stir. Lower heat and cook covered for five minutes. Add ¼ cup of water and cook covered for five more minutes. Add another ¼ cup of water and cook covered for another five minutes. If peppers are soft, remove from heat or cook for five more minutes if needed until peppers are fully cooked.
  2. Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree mixture until very smooth. If too thick, add a little water. Pour back into pan and hold for next step.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions until slightly less than done. (Reserve pasta water, do not drain).
  4. Place pasta in with sauce and cook over medium heat adding small ladles of pasta water until pasta is fully cooked and sauce is the proper constancy. Remove from heat and mix in Parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve with additional grated Parmesan cheese over each portion.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. I love reliving memories with food. This pasta looks like one that my entire family would enjoy and remember if we had on a trip as well.

  2. Oh my gosh does this sound good! I’ve always wanted to go to a Tuscany cooking school, it’s on my bucket list!

  3. The best trip of our lives has been to Italy. I would love to have done a cooking school! The thing that really struck me about Italian food was how simple it was. They just used great ingredients. I will have to make this one for my hubby and we can re-live our best vacation ever.

    • Exactly Christie! I just love how the Italians take such simple, fresh ingredients and make magic! I hope we both make it back to Italy sometime soon!

  4. oh, this sounds like my kind of pasta! a friend of mine recently traveled to Italy for a cooking school, it sounded so fun!

  5. Pinned! This looks just great and I love that there is no cream in, but just the King of Cheese – Parmigianno Reggianno! YUM! Thanks for sharing, Martha!

  6. I adore yellow peppers and I bet this tastes amazing!

  7. A culinary vacation in Italy sounds like a dream come true! What a wonderful way to spend a honeymoon!! I’ve never heard of yellow pepper sauce, but now I won’t be able to get it out of my head. I can’t wait to try this recipe. It looks wonderful!!

  8. this has my name written all over it.

  9. You’re going to chuckle when you see my recipe for Monday – there’s nothing better than a good bell pepper sauce! I know my family would love this would curly pasta that you used.

  10. I never would have thought that this didn’t have cream in it! The photo looks so creamy, I’m totally going to have to make this for my dad!! Ps. Tuscany sounds amazing, what an awesome idea for your honeymoon!

  11. I would have sworn that this was a creamy mac & cheese recipe! Gotta love simple ingredients and hidden vegetables. I’m betting that my kids will never know the difference.

  12. What a lovely bowl of pasta! I have never thought to use a red pepper sauce with pasta but now that I see it I want it! How lucky you were to spend all that time in Italy.

  13. I have been looking for some new and interesting pasta recipes to try out. This one certainly fits the bill.