Recipe! Rotini with Romesco Sauce
I was looking for a tasty vegetarian and satisfying weeknight dinner. I was inspired by a website I love called Good Old Vegan. This delicious pasta recipe also happens to be optionally gluten free and vegan by leaving off the cheese garnish and using chickpea pasta. This sauce recipe is good for about 6 servings of pasta, and I'd recommend making the whole batch even if making less pasta as it keeps well and is super versatile to have in the fridge (it’s delicious with crusty bread).
The Romesco Sauce:
- 2 roasted red bell peppers - use a jar or roast the peppers in the oven and peel off the skins.
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 roasted unsalted almonds - we used raw and roasted them at 350F for about 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup drained and rinsed canned chickpeas - we also sautéed them briefly with the garlic before making the sauce
- 3 garlic cloves - raw or roasted for extra flavor
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth. The result:
- 1 box (8.8oz) chickpea rotini or pasta of choice
- 1/2 cup rinsed and sliced (about 5mm thick) baby bella or crimini mushrooms
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves with stems removed and roughly cut in half
- Parmigiano or vegan parmesan
In a small pan sauté the mushrooms over medium heat with olive oil for about 10 minutes until browned. Season with salt and pepper and leave in the pan off of heat.
In a stock pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta. Before straining save 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. Strain the pasta and return it to the stock pot. Add the sautéed mushrooms, raw spinach, 1 cup romesco sauce, and the 1 cup of pasta water. Stir gently until the pasta is coated in the sauce and the spinach has begun to wilt.
Serve in bowls and top with freshly grated Parmigiano or vegan cheese and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with high quality olive oil.
The Wine Pairing:
Romesco sauce originated in Catalonia in Northeastern Spain. My favorite way to start thinking about a wine pairing is to think about the wines from the region the cuisine originated in. Romesco is lightly smoky and spicy and the pepper base begs for a red wine. We chose a Rioja without the traditional oak profile of Rioja wines and it worked beautifully. A bright red wine from a Catalan region such as Penedes or Terragona would also work well. The most famous of Catalan regions, Priorat, makes wines that are generally too powerful for this dish.
Tonight we enjoyed the 2016 Placeres Sensoriales Rioja with this pasta. This Tempranillo is a great representation of the direction many Rioja producers are going: away from oak and towards purity and freshness. The result is a dark medium bodied red with a great balance of ripe fruit and savory flavors.
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