Fire is good, isn’t it? I love fire in my food. I’m currently (not) seeking help for my sambal oelek addiction. My grandmother’s cook makes a mean schezwan sauce (minus all the artificial colouring, eyuck) and generally, I’d be very bored if it weren’t for the invention of fire (because I couldn’t cook, duh), metaphorically speaking. So of all things this week, I’m grateful and feeling super appreciative of fire. This sauce is a shameless ode to fire. It’s not spicy, per se. It’s just something fierce. The blushing pink colour of the sauce has nothing on the serious game this brings. I mean, bring on the fat pants and towels to blot the post-fiery-sauce-sweat, it is finally time. It gives a definite kick to the midweek dinner blues and it isn’t even that hard to make – it almost comes together effortlessly.
I fire roasted the peppers and you can obviously use whichever colour you like but there’s something serene about the cutesy coral colour of the sauce. I don’t know if green or yellow could pull it off. I didn’t want to bother with the oven, so I just held the peppers, one at a time, on the smallest flame setting, with tongs. You can hear the skin blistering and obviously see the shades grow darker. You must stop when you achieve even darkness on all or most sides. It’s difficult, even in the oven to get even blistering on all sides, so you need to be happy with 80%. Then and this important, immediately place them in a container which seals tightly and leave them out for sometime. The heat and consequential air-tight atmosphere will help the skins peel off very easily. If you’re having trouble, place them under running water for a few seconds to help you out. The fire ends here – its later dulled down with the help of a trusty alfredo recipe but it somehow manages a bolt of something fierce now and then – a definite winner in my book.
P.S – Before you fall down the slippery spaghetti slope, read my pasta secrets here. Like I mention, over cooked pasta was somebody I used to know.
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Source: The Vanilla Bean original
2 medium sized red peppers, washed and patted dry
1 tbs olive oil
A small knob of butter
1 medium onion, sliced
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red paprika flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1 pack Amul Fresh Cream (light cream, comes in a 200ml packing)
1/2 cup preferred cheese, grated (I used Gouda)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese shavings, to decorate (optional)
1. Over your smallest stove ring, hold the red pepper in a firm grip with the help of tongs till the colour has darkened considerably on all sides. Repeat with remaining pepper and immediately shut them in an airtight container. Set aside for an hour. Remove, peel skin (using the help of running water, if you need to) and cut into chunks.
2. In a medium skillet, add olive oil and some butter on low flame. Let the butter become frothy and start to sizzle and immediately add sliced onions and pinch of salt. Let the onions soften and add paprika flakes, oregano and garlic. Sauté till fragrant. Add peppers and toss well to coat. Add cream and turn off the heat.
3. Pour contents of skillet into a blender and very CAREFULLY blend the sauce till almost smooth or till you’re happy with the consistency. Put it back onto the skillet and low flame and add cheese. Let the cheese melt, season with salt and pepper and serve over perfectly cooked pasta!