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Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Calories: 327
bowl of creamy roasted red pepper rigatoni pasta topped with fresh parmesan cheese and basil

With just five ingredients, dinner doesn’t get easier or more delicious than this creamy roasted red pepper rigatoni pasta. If you’ve got ten minutes and can open a jar, you can make this tonight.

This Quick & Easy Pantry Pasta is Your New BFF

There is a particular sort of low-key panic that sets in when everyone’s tummies are rumbling and the clock is ticking ever-closer to bedtime and you realize that you actually don’t have an answer the question that you just know you’re about to hear. As you mentally scan your pantry, someone speaks those three big little words—“what’s for dinner?”

If you’ve got five ingredients, you can make this unbelievably luscious creamy roasted red pepper pasta sauce. In fact, it’s worth just leaving these five ingredients on your grocery list at all times, because this is such a handy meal to be able to make when getting dinner on the table seems like a pipe dream. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Pasta! Pick a pasta with ridges if you can—we especially love rigatoni—to give the roasted red pepper cream sauce something to cling to.
  2. A jar of roasted red peppers. This one is self-explanatory, right?
  3. Stock. You can use vegetable stock to make this roasted red pepper pasta vegetarian, or use chicken stock if you prefer—either will add lots of flavor. You could also use water in a pinch.
  4. Heavy cream! No substitutes, please! With just five ingredients, there’s no room for subs.
  5. Fresh basil. If you don’t have fresh basil on-hand, you can still make a good red pepper cream sauce, but the fresh basil really does add a lot of fresh, bright flavor to this simple pantry pasta.
blender filled with heavy cream, roasted red peppers and fresh basil
blender filled with blended roasted red pepper sauce

How To Make Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Smoky, sweet and slightly tangy, jarred roasted red peppers are a flavor-giving powerhouse. Here, we use this pantry favorite to make a simple homemade rigatoni pasta sauce taste restaurant-worthy. This roasted red pepper sauce is so fast—about ten minutes start-to-finish—and easy to make, it feels like cheating. If you can open a jar and open a carton, you can make this creamy roasted red pepper pasta sauce. Here’s what you do:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add your pasta and boil until it is al dente. We usually begin to taste for doneness after six minutes.
  • While the pasta cooks, combine heavy cream, stock, the jar of drained roasted red peppers, basil, salt and red pepper flakes in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Drain the pasta.
  • Pour the red pepper cream sauce into the now-empty pasta pot, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
  • Add the drained rigatoni and parmesan cheese to taste.
  • Stir and serve!
large skillet filled with roasted red pepper sauce, fresh parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes
large skillet filled with roasted red pepper sauce and cooked rigatoni pasta

Make It Perfect:

It’s hard to mess this recipe up—hard, but not impossible. There are a few things to know before you get started:

  1. Drain your jarred, roasted red peppers! Roasted red peppers are a super-versatile pantry staple. These meaty, sweet roasted bell peppers are usually seeded and then packed in water that has been seasoned with salt, sugar and often citric acid (a preservative). In this case, you definitely want to drain that liquid before using the peppers so that your creamy pepper sauce isn’t too watery.
  2. Salt your pasta water. This is such a simple dish, with flavor coming from just a few ingredients, so there’s no need for short cuts or skipped steps.
  3. Once you combine the creamy roasted red pepper sauce with the pasta and parmesan, stir for a few minutes over low heat to allow the flavors to really mingle. You want every last nook and cranny of that rigatoni (or penne, or farfalle) to be coated with your sweet, smoky, tangy cream sauce.
large bowl filled with creamy roasted red pepper rigatoni pasta topped with fresh parmesan and fresh basil

Tools You’ll Need:

white bowl filled with creamy roasted red pepper rigatoni pasta topped with fresh parmesan, fresh basil and red pepper flakes

Pasta To The Rescue!

This pantry superstar saves the day, everytime. Here are three of our very favorite easy weeknight pasta recipes:

close up of creamy roasted red pepper rigatoni

Couldn’t Be Easier, Right?

We really love to see how our recipes work for you guys, and we think this one is especially genius—do you? Snap a photo of your finished bowl or pot of our roasted red pepper pasta, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Calories: 327

Ingredients

  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, liquid drained
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Method

  1. In a high speed blender add heavy cream, stock, roasted red peppers, basil, salt and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente (about 6 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.
  3. In the same pot the pasta was cooked in, add your creamy roasted red pepper sauce and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Add the parmesan cheese and drained pasta and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and serve hot topped with extra parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 327
  • Protein 14 g
  • Carbohydrates 56 g
  • Total Fat 5 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Cholesterol 12 mg
  • sodium 459 mg
  • Total Sugars 1 g

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Questions & Reviews

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  • Amna

    Can I use a jar of diced chipotle peppers instead?

    We wouldn't recommend that it would probably change the taste and spice level quite a bit. Hope you enjoy Amna!

  • Lynn Owczarzak

    My sauce, when blending, turned into a chunky mess. I guess the cream might have curdled? Do you know how to keep that from happening?

    I've never heard of that happening. We recommend using a high powdered blender such as a vitamix. It will make it nice and smooth.

  • Rebecca Frank

    Do you think I could add chicken to this recipe? Is so, how would you prepare it? Or what could I serve this pasta with? Thank you!

    Sure. You can just bake some chicken breasts, slice them and add it to the pasta.

  • Ana

    Any thoughts on the best way to add meat to this dish?

    I would either add some sliced chicken breast or some ground Italian sausage.

  • Amy

    This looks SO good!! Any thoughts on how to swap for non-dairy without messing the recipe up?

    You could certainly try a 1:1 swap of full-fat coconut milk in place of the heavy cream, and just leave the Parm out. Let us know how it turns out!

  • Alyssa

    Beautifully simple, but great flavor. I roasted my own peppers and had exactly the sauce I wanted at the end. Dried basil at 1.5 tsp works, too, but fresh is superior. I also served this with a dollop of ricotta and can't wait to try it over tortellini.

    Thanks Alyssa, so happy you loved it!

  • Alyssa H

    This was SO delicious and one of the easiest dinners I have ever made! I didn’t change anything about the recipe and I won’t next time I make it either. It’s perfect!

    Thanks Alyssa! We are so glad you loved and love to hear there will be a next time!

  • Pearl Daugaard

    I really liked it! Definitely salt to taste if you were using unsalted chicken broth like me. I used an immersion blender to make my sauce, and it worked fine — not perfectly smooth, but definitely close enough. I added heaping handful of spinach to my single portion, as well as a small can of chicken breast (gotta do what you gotta do). I also grated asiago cheese over it instead of parmesan, but they're quite similar cheeses! Would recommend. I appreciate the short ingredient list.

    Thanks Pearl! We are so glad you liked it!

  • Pearl Daugaard

    I really liked it! Definitely salt to taste if you were using unsalted chicken broth like me. I used an immersion blender to make my sauce, and it worked fine — not perfectly smooth, but definitely close enough. I added heaping handful of spinach to my single portion, as well as a small can of chicken breast (gotta do what you gotta do). I also grated asiago cheese over it instead of parmesan, but they're quite similar cheeses! Would recommend. I appreciate the short ingredient list.

    Thanks Pearl! We are glad you enjoyed it!

  • Leah

    I made this tonight with coconut cream, vegan parmesan, and a pinch of cayenne powder instead of flakes and it was very delicious! I will definitely be making this again! This sauce would be really good on meatless meatballs.

    Sounds lovely!