Fusilli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
with sausage / zucchini
Many countries have some version of Ajvar sauce made with grilled eggplants, red peppers and garlic. The creamy, smoky sauce has endless uses from a spread for toast to a dip for vegetables. For a vegetable-rich dinner, we love it tossed with pasta and savory sausage.
- Bell peppers, red - 3/4 lb
- Eggplants - 3/4 lb
- Garlic - 2 cloves , peeled
- Oil, olive - 4 Tbsp
- Vinegar, red or white wine - 1 tsp
- Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Pasta, fusilli (or other fun shape) - 8 oz
- Sausage, any pre-cooked type - 12 oz , sliced
- Cheese, parmesan - 1/4 cup , grated
- Zucchini, medium - 2 , cubed
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Roasted red pepper sauce (ingredients listed separately) - ~1 cup
Cook pasta - Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Salt generously and add pasta. Cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Drain. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Roast peppers and eggplants - (If not already done for Wednesday’s meal.) Heat grill or turn on your oven’s broiler. Core stem out of red peppers. Slice eggplants in half, lengthwise. Brush veggies lightly with some oil. Broil on a sheet pan or grill over direct heat until skins are blackened, ~6 minutes each side. Transfer eggplants to a cutting board. Place bell peppers in a mixing bowl and cover with a plate for ~5 minutes to steam off skins. Use a peeler to remove skin from eggplants. Once they are cool enough to touch, use fingers to peel skin off peppers. Roughly chop eggplants and peppers. (Check out this video for tips on roasting peppers.) (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make sauce - Peel garlic. Combine eggplants, peppers, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. (Add a splash of water if needed to bring the mixture together.) Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Sausage / Cheese - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Zucchini - Cube zucchini. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
Heat a nonstick pan or skillet over medium-heat. Add first part of cooking oil and then sausage to heated oil. Brown sausage on both sides, ~2 minutes total. Set aside and return pan to heat, draining any excess oil in the pan.
Add second part of cooking oil and then zucchini to heated oil with a pinch of salt. Saute zucchini until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour Ajvar sauce over zucchini and saute until sauce is heated through and fragrant, ~2 minutes more.
Add sausage and pasta to pan and stir to coat everything in sauce. (Note: If sauce is too thick to easily coat pasta, add a splash of water.) Season with some salt and pepper.
Transfer pasta to serving bowls and top with cheese. Enjoy!