This rich and creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce is loaded with amazing flavors from red peppers, buttery roasted garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. It's a deliciously different way of topping your favorite pasta. We especially like it with fettuccine!

Homemade sauces take pasta night to the next level, whether it's a Classic Homemade Marinara Sauce or a labor of love like our Best Bolognese Sauce. But some of our other favorites are Homemade Basil Pesto or a creamy Alfredo Sauce.

roasted pepper alfredo pasta on a white plate

In Provo, Utah, there is a restaurant just south of BYU campus called Brick Oven. They serve pizzas and pasta and it is an institution for anyone who has ever been to BYU.

In my 8 years in Provo, first an undergrad and then as a law student, I went there on dates, before or after ball games or dances, to celebrate birthdays or graduation, or for no reason at all other than my family was in town to visit and the food at Brick Oven is just goooood. Not fancy or ground-breaking, but definitely delicious.

Especially their roasted red pepper sauce.

creamy roasted red pepper sauce in a skillet

My favorite thing about Brick Oven is their pasta bar where you choose two from ten or so different fresh pastas that change from day-to-day (black pepper fettuccine! garlic fettuccine! red pepper fettuccine! I need to learn to make pasta so I can have them all!) and they get dumped into boiling water and cooked for you right there as you watch.

While you wait, you can select either meatballs or Italian sausages and garlic bread pulled straight from an open-flame brick oven to go with your pasta.

Then you get to choose your sauce, which is self-serve so you can do any combination you want. I always chose the roasted red pepper sauce, usually with a little marinara or alfredo sauce on the side for good measure (and because I could!).

Now that I don't live in Provo anymore, if I want amazing roasted red pepper sauce like I remember from Brick Oven, I make it myself.

Like my classic homemade marinara sauce or the sauce from my Bombay House (incidentally, another BYU hotspot) copycat chicken tikka masala, this roasted red pepper sauce takes a little extra time. It's not hard, and it's not like you will be slaving all day, but there are a couple of extra steps, like roasting your peppers and garlic, that are totally worth it because the flavor of the sauce is so wonderful and unique.

I have a tutorial on how to make roasted garlic and another on how to make roasted red peppers, although you can always used jarred roasted red peppers from the store.

The splash of cream and freshly grated Parmesan take this sauce over the top and give it a richness and creaminess that is just so wonderful and helps the sauce cling to whatever pasta you serve it with. It's also wonderful with grilled sausages, Italian meatballs, or Parmesan chicken. Or just have it for a wonderful meatless meal with a little extra fresh Parmesan grated over the top and ribbons of fresh basil.

an aerial view of a white plate filled with creamy roasted pepper alfredo

Ingredient Notes

  • Roasted Red Peppers: You can either buy jars of roasted red peppers or make your own. Either way, they aren't spicy at all, but have a wonderful zippy flavor that works great in this sauce.
  • Garlic: It might seem shocking that this recipe calls for two entire heads of garlic, but just trust me. Roasting garlic in the oven mellows out the flavor considerably and it turns buttery and rich and fantastic. If you are short on time and need to skip roasting the garlic, you can just use four cloves instead and simply mince and saute them with the onion.
  • Olive Oil & Butter: These add richness to the sauce and are used to saute the veggies.
  • Onion: A yellow onion works well to create a deep flavor base for this sauce.
  • Broth: A little chicken broth thins out the sauce a bit so it more easily coats your pasta. You could use vegetable broth instead, if you want a vegetarian version. If you prefer a thicker sauce that you could on burgers, sandwiches, or eggs, just leave the broth out.
  • Cream: A little heavy cream adds a wonderful silkiness and richness to the roasted red pepper sauce, similar to alfredo sauce but with more pizzazz thanks to the peppers.
  • Parmesan Cheese: I only use freshly grated parmesan cheese because it melts into the sauce so much better.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: These are optional, but sometimes I like my red pepper sauce to have a bit of a kick. Just a pinch of red pepper flakes does the trick every time.
  • Salt & Pepper: Be sure to taste your sauce and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Nobody wants bland sauce!

How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

  1. Roast the garlic: This step takes the most time of the whole recipe, but it can be done 2-3 days in advance. For the garlic, just slice off the top ¼ to expose the bulbs, drizzle with a little olive oil so it can seep down in around the cloves, and wrap them up in foil. Then bake at 425 degrees F for around 45 minutes until the garlic cloves are all buttery and soft. I have a whole tutorial here to show you how. If you choose to skip this step, you can replace the roasted garlic with four cloves of minced, fresh garlic instead, but I love the buttery, mild flavor the roasted garlic adds to this dish.
  2. Roast the red peppers: Roast the peppers, skin side up under a broiler for 7-10 minutes or until skins are blackened all around. Remove them from the oven and immediately place the hot peppers in a glass bowl. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap to trap the heat. Let the charred peppers steam for 30 minutes, then you should be able to slip the skin right off with your fingers. If you are in a rush or don't want the bother of roasting your own red peppers, you can always use a 16-ounce jar of roasted red peppers from the store. Just be sure to drain them well before using.
a glass bowl filled with roasted red peppers
  1. Saute the veggies: Drizzle the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until they start to soften, around 5 minutes. If using raw garlic, go ahead and add it during the last 30 seconds of sauteeing. Then add the chopped roasted red peppers and roasted garlic cloves, and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Blend: Transfer the peppers, onion, and garlic to a blender or food processor (affiliate link) and pulse until fairly smooth. Be sure to cover your blender with a towel rather than using the lid or pressure can build up from the heat.
  1. Finish the sauce: Add the butter to the pan, then add the smooth red pepper mixture back into the pan along with the broth and cream. Taste and season with the salt and pepper, adding the crushed red pepper flakes if you like your sauce to have a bit of spice. Remove from the heat and stir in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  1. Serve over your favorite pasta: This sauce is excellent with wide noodles like linguine or fettuccine, but you could also use smaller shapes like penne or farfalle. I like to add the pasta straight into the sauce and toss everything to coat it evenly. Sprinkle even more fresh Parmesan and thinly sliced strips of basil over the top just before serving.
tossing fettuccine pasta in roasted red pepper sauce with tongs

Tips

  • Add a protein: This sauce is fantastic with sauteed or grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, or grilled fish.
  • For a thicker sauce: If you want a thicker sauce for topping meat or even pizza instead of coating pasta, try leaving out the chicken broth entirely rather than using a cornstarch slurry.
  • Adjusting salt: If you are using jarred roasted red peppers, you might not need any salt at all, especially with the salty Parmesan, so be sure to taste the sauce before salting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are roasted red peppers the same as bell peppers?

Yep! These are sweet red bell peppers that are being roasted, which softens them and mellows their flavor wonderfully. They aren't spicy at all, although be careful if purchasing jarred roasted red peppers to make sure the label doesn't say u0022Hotu0022.

Do you have to peel roasted red peppers?

I guess you don't have to peel the red peppers, but I don't like getting the little bits of skin in the sauce. When charred and steamed, the skins should pretty much just slip right off of the peppers. It's an easy step and worth it for a nicer texture in the finished sauce.

pasta on a fork

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Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

4.91 from 31 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
This rich and creamy roasted red pepper sauce is loaded with amazing flavors from red peppers, buttery roasted garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. 

Ingredients
  

  • 4-5 red bell peppers quartered with stems and seeds removed*
  • 2 whole heads garlic [roasted] or 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil sliced into thin strips
  • 16 ounces fresh fettuccine cooked according to package directions.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to broil on high. Roast the peppers, skin side up under the broiler for 7-10 minutes or until skins are blackened all around. Remove from the oven and place peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers steam for 30 minutes, then remove the skins with your fingers (they should slip right off) and chop.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, then sauté the onions in the olive oil until soft. Add the roasted peppers and roasted garlic with the cloves removed from the papery skin, and stir to combine and heat through.
  • Transfer the peppers, onions, and garlic to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Melt the butter in the same pan. Pour the red pepper puree back into the pan with the butter and add the broth, cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
  • Prepare the fettuccine according to package directions in salted water. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and gently toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with a little additional Parmesan cheese and basil strips and serve immediately.

Notes

  • You can use one 16-ounce jar of roasted red peppers from the store instead of roasting your own. Just drain thoroughly, then use in the recipe as written.
  • Two whole heads of garlic might seem like a lot, but roasting garlic really mellows the flavor and it won't be overpowering at all in this sauce. If you don't have time to roast the garlic, just mince up 4 garlic cloves and saute them in with the onions instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 334mg | Potassium: 464mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3073IU | Vitamin C: 108mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post was originally published in August, 2016. The photos and content were updated in March, 2021.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    That looks delicious and so easy to make. It's perfect for a quick week-night dinner when I don't really fancy cooking. Thank you 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    That has to be my all-time favourite pasta dish! Do you actually roast red peppers from scratch every time you make this dish? I know the process isn't labour intensive at all, but I find that red peppers are quite expensive in my neck of the woods. I usually refrain from buying peppers except seasonally when I can get them at a local farmers' market for a dollar a piece. Whenever I make this dish, I use the roasted red peppers in a jar just to save some time and money. Now, where is this restaurant? Add your own sauce??? I really need to go there!

    1. I do actually roast my red peppers whenever I make this dish. I tend to make it more during the fall when they are in season because I can get them much cheaper than other times of the year. Roasting them myself is one of my favorite parts! And seriously, Brick Oven is delicious! It's in Utah.

  3. I was in Utah this summer! We went hiking in Moab- it's gorgeous! I wish they'd had that pizza place there though- yum! And this sauce sounds DELICIOUS!!!! I love homemade pasta sauces!

  4. 5 stars
    This sauce looks so creamy and delicious! What a nice change from the usual tomato sauce. And by the way, I love your dishes.

  5. I love roasted red peppers so I can only imagine how flavorful this sauce must be. It would probably be great on a lot of things including rice. Okay, you have me wanting to make some of this now 🙂

    1. Oh absolutely! It's so natural to put it on pasta but it's wonderful with meat too! I've never tried it on rice but now I want to!

  6. Mind blown! Creamy red Bell Pepper sauce sounds outstanding!! Oh I can't wait to try this!! I may add a bit of chicken breast to it too!

  7. 5 stars
    Roasted Red Pepper anything is my kryptonite! You're right - roasting the peppers is slightly more time consuming, but so worth it! Love this recipe!

  8. I'm sure every time you make the roasted red pepper sauce, it reminds you of good times when you were growing up. It is one of the things I love about cooking, how aromas can bring back a flood of memories.

    I also make a roasted red pepper sauce to go with fish dishes. The roasting of the peppers gives such a great depth of flavor, it is worth the investment of time to achieve that I think. Nice post.

  9. 5 stars
    A few months back, I had the most incredible red pepper sauce at a New Orleans restaurant. Since then, I've tried here and there to recreate it without much success. Can't wait to try this recipe as it looks absolutely delicious!

  10. 5 stars
    We've made a red pepper pasta sauce in our home for over a decade and I'm always looking for new versions to mix things up, because we love it, and this recipe looks fantastic!!

  11. This Brick Oven place sounds heavenly !! Not sure why there aren't many "pasta bars" around since EVERYONE loves pasta. I made a roasted red pepper sauce last summer and it was delicious. You are right, you just can't get a fresh good tasting red pepper sauce from a jar, and yes the extra steps are totally worth it!!

  12. You know, I"m not sure I've ever had a red pepper sauce! It looks so creamy, and the flavor must be so sweet... I have some roasted red peppers in my freezer, may have to try this!

    Your pasta place sounds much better than the burger joint that was our local place when I was in college... I mean, they were good burgers, but...

  13. Isn't it amazing how a little restaurant can have such a big impact? My husband and I have a place like that - a little restaurant in DC we went to many times during both undergrad and grad school. I will spend the rest of my life trying to duplicate the mee goreng!

  14. This is a sauce that my fussy pants toddler would just love. And since pasta is her favourite food ever, she will truly enjoy it. I do love roasted peppers myself, they bring such a lovely taste to any sauce. I''ll have to make it !

  15. 5 stars
    That restaurant experience and food sounds amazing. I love that you have been able to replicate. I love the smell of roasted red peppers during the process. This dish looks amazing. SO creamy!!

  16. 5 stars
    Fresh red peppers, buttery roasted garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil - there's a list of some of my favorite ingredients so I can just imagine how delicious this is! I will definitely be soaking up some pasta in this scrumptious sauce!

  17. This sauce is EVERYTHING - totally gorgeous color, and ... cream, garlic, fresh basil... HELLO, LOVER! Can't wait to try this, Amy!

  18. Oh for YUM! I've never made a red pepper sauce before, but all the ingredients you use make me really excited to try this! I've been looking for something different to use on pasta! This recipe will go into my dinner rotation!

    1. Honestly, I haven't tried freezing this sauce. I think it would be okay, but probably on the runny side. In my experience, sauces with cream in them don't always freeze well, but it's not like there is a ton of cream in this one so it might work. Next time I make it I will do a double batch and try freezing one to find out!

  19. I’m looking for a sauce for my daughter, she’s 34 has a food tolerance to tomatoes, garlic, basil, chicken, and cows milk, and that’s the short list,
    I’ll sub with vegetable  broth, 
    Use whatever milk she uses, not Almond thats also on her list. 
    Sub lentil pasta, cause she’s also gluten free
    Put in some parsley 
    Your recipe gives me hope for a red sauce for her pizza and pasta dishes.  Thank you I’ll try it and hopefully surprise her with a tasty dish

  20. What I do is barbacue the red peppers when the weather is nice or if you want to make it really fast, I but roasted red peppers at Trader Joe's they are in a jar. As for the roasted garlic they can be purchased too.

  21. This was really easy and delicious. I added a good amount of red pepper flakes, bc we like it spicy and served it with beyond meat hot Italian sausage. Highly recommend. Can't wait for leftovers!

  22. 5 stars
    Can you make the roasted red pepper mixture (before cream broth and parmesan) the night before so you have a fresh sauce the next day if needed ?

    Or just make whole sauce night before and reheat the next day ?

  23. 5 stars
    Outstanding. I used the jar of roasted red peppers and the already minced garlic. This is the 2nd time I’ve made it. Instead of using noodles, I’ve roasted cauliflower in the air fryer. Hubby and I are not veggie people but this is guiltless. Yummy!!!

  24. I had a secret recipe dish at a restaurant called red pepper scalloped potatoes-they were amazing! Do you think this would work with potatoes?