My gemelli pasta with roasted red pepper sauce is a healthy and deliciously vibrant meal to whip up when you're craving an easy yet gourmet pasta dish. Wonderfully comfy-cozy, this gemelli pasta recipe is tossed with a quick, zesty, no-cook roasted red pepper sauce loaded with lots of smoky flavor, then topped simply with tender grilled chicken, shaved parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh basil!
Gemelli Pasta Tossed Together with a Zesty Sauce
What could be more comforting on a cool autumn evening than cozying up with a big bowl of piping hot pasta?
I find it a total pleasure, and when that pasta recipe is made easy with a no-cook sauce made in mere minutes, and loaded with lots of smoky, zippy flavor, then that's even better.
Having a healthy, vibrant, better than restaurant quality pasta dish ready to tuck into in around 35 minutes is something I'm definitely all about, and this gemelli pasta with roasted red pepper sauce is our latest favorite pasta recipe to whip up and warm our bellies with.
Prepared with tender, twisty gemelli pasta (I love this whimsical variety of pasta!), a smoky roasted red pepper sauce whirled together in the food processor with just a handful of tasty bells and whistles, plus grilled chicken, shaved parmesan and fresh basil or parsley, this recipe is sure to be on rotation not only in our household, but in yours as well!
My Recipe for Gemelli Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
If you're not quite familiar with gemelli pasta, it's a short, thin, twisty pasta variety that works perfectly with a sauce that's a little on the thicker side, deliciously clinging to its little grooves.
This recipe for roasted red pepper sauce takes its queue from romesco sauce, a Spanish-style red pepper sauce which has a similar consistency to pesto, filled with lots of bold flavor.
My sauce boasts sweet and smoky roasted red peppers (good quality, from a jar), sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, almonds for texture, parsley, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, and good olive oil to help things blend up nicely, and for richness.
I love that this bright, no-cook sauce is prepared by adding all of the ingredients to my food processor and blending it all together until almost smooth, yet still with some lovely texture.
And while I'm opting for marinated, grilled chicken as my topper of choice, one could absolutely substitute seared sausage (smoked, or even Spanish chorizo) or shrimp, or even skip the protein altogether and simply add a sprinkle of shaved parmigiano-reggiano and fresh herbs.
Here's a glance at my gemelli pasta with roasted red pepper sauce recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my roasted red pepper sauce, and keep that ready in a bowl.
- Then, I marinate my chicken for a few moments.
- Next, I cook my gemelli pasta according to package instructions, and reserve a little of the pasta cooking liquid to add to the skillet later, if needed.
- While the pasta cooks, I grill or sear off my marinated chicken breast tenderloins for a few moments per side, just until golden-brown and cooked through. I slice those into strips or chunks.
- To finish my gemelli pasta dish, I add my roasted red pepper sauce to a large, deep skillet, add in my warm gemelli pasta, and toss everything together until well combined and heated through, using a touch of the pasta cooking liquid as needed to achieve a silky consistency.
- When ready to serve, I spoon the gemelli pasta into bowls, top with slices of chicken breast, some shaved parmigiano-reggiano and fresh basil, or chopped parsley.
Gemelli Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
by Ingrid Beer
This gemelli pasta with easy roasted red pepper sauce is topped with marinated grilled chicken, shaved parmesan and fresh basil!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 663 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Gemelli Pasta Ingredients:
- 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets, or chicken breast tenderloins
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- Squeeze lemon
- 12 ounces (uncooked) gemelli pasta
- Shaved parmigiano-reggiano, for garnish
- Fresh basil or chopped parsley, for garnish
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 (16 ounce) jar organic roasted red peppers, drained of liquid and patted dry
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained of oil
- ½ cup slivered almonds (blanched, no skin)
- 3 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
- ½ cup olive oil
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your roasted red pepper sauce ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare your sauce, add all of the ingredients up to and including the parsley to a food processor, and process for a couple of minutes until fairly smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Then, with the processor running, slowly add in the olive oil until completely blended in. Spoon the sauce into a bowl to hold.
- Next, gather and prep all of your gemelli pasta ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To marinate/season the chicken, add the chicken breast cutlets or tenderloins to a large bowl, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, the red pepper flakes (if using), Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, garlic and squeeze of lemon, and toss the chicken in that to coat well. Allow to sit for a few minutes while you get your pasta cooking.
- Next, cook your gemelli pasta according to package instructions, then reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, and drain the pasta. Keep it warm.
- While the pasta cooks, sear (or grill) your chicken breast cutlets or tenderloins in a non-stick skillet or grill pan for about 3 minutes per side, or until golden-brown and cooked through. Slice the chicken into strips or cut into chunks.
- To finish the gemelli pasta, add the roasted red pepper sauce to a large, deep skillet, and begin to warm it up. Add in the warm gemelli pasta, and toss to combine it with the sauce, using as much or as little of the pasta cooking liquid as you need to create a consistency you like.
- Spoon the gemelli pasta into bowls, and top with slices of the seasoned chicken breast, some shaved parmesan and basil or chopped parsley, and serve hot.
Tips & Tidbits for my Gemelli Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce recipe:
- Roasted red peppers from a jar: To keep things simple, I'm opting for good quality, organic roasted red peppers from a jar. Just drain the peppers of their liquid, then pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil for flavor and softness: For this sauce, I like to use sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (I just drain them of the oil), as they are more flavorful and deliciously tender, ready to whirl up. Alternately, you can use sun-dried tomatoes not packed in oil, and simply re-hydrate/soften them a bit by covering with boiling water for 5 minutes, then draining and patting dry.
- Where to purchase gemelli pasta: I get an organic gemelli pasta from my local market, but if you cannot find it where you shop, you can purchase it online.
- How to thin out the red pepper sauce if it's too thick: While the freshly-blended roasted red pepper sauce has a nice viscosity, it can get a little thick if it sits for a while, or if you have leftovers and keep them in the fridge. The almonds naturally thicken this sauce and make it taste almost creamy without the use of dairy, but the fat from the almonds, along with the olive oil, can thicken the sauce as it sits. Just use a bit of pasta cooking liquid, chicken stock or plain water to thin it out, if needed.
Craving more comfy-cozy pasta recipes? Check out this Cajun Shrimp Pasta, this Asparagus Pasta with Prosciutto, this Bucatini Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce, this Pasta Puttanesca, this Vegetable Pasta with Mozzarella, this Bistro Sausage Pasta, or these Italian Drunken Noodles!