Chili Pepper Madness

September 11, 2015

Easy No Cook Tomato-Pepper Pasta Sauce

Easy No Cook Tomato-Pepper Pasta Sauce Easy No Cook Tomato-Pepper Pasta Sauce

A huge shout-out to "Bon Appetit" magazine for inspiring this recipe. I love that magazine. As I was perusing the pages, I came across a collection of no-cook pasta sauces that sounded quite delicious. As I sat there, my mind wandered to the garden. So many ideas bloomed and this no-cook chili-tomato sauce was born. In reality, it is sort of a riff off the classic pesto, which I make often, but with many more ingredients. In particular, the gorgeous Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato I just picked from the garden, and a fresh batch of Tangerine Dream chili peppers I also just harvested. 

Talk about beautiful peppers. The Tangerine Dream is a very sweet pepper that ripens to a vibrant orange, hence the name. They have the tiniest bit of heat, with a focus on the sweetness. The combination of the sweet of the peppers and the juiciness of the heirloom tomato make for an excellent, garden fresh pasta sauce. Just toss everything into a blender and you're good to go. No worries if you don't have Tangerine Dream peppers. Sub in any sweet pepper of your choice, though brightly colored peppers are preferred for visual interest. Also, if you can't get your hands on some heirloom tomatoes, go for a large beefsteak or something juicy you can get from the grocer.

I wound up serving this over penne pasta, though linguine would be great, and topping the servings with some quickly seared salmon. Serve it without the salmon for a vegetarian option.

Patty's Perspective: Where's the heat? While choosing the peppers for this sauce - we picked a BUNCH from the garden - Mike almost chose a fiery Morango Red. He gave me a taste of that pepper and I immediately expelled it from my mouth as quickly as possible. I reached for the sugar as my lips went numb. So, all sweet peppers it is for this sauce. Later, when enjoying the meal, I actually missed a bit of that heat, but it is incredibly tasty. I was amazed so much flavor came from a sauce that wasn't cooked.

Seared Salmon Over Penne with No-Cook Tomato-Pepper Pasta Sauce

Seared Salmon Over Penne with No-Cook Tomato-Pepper Pasta Sauce

Seared Salmon Over Penne with No-Cook Tomato-Pepper Pasta Sauce


  • For the No-Cook Tomato-Pepper Pasta Sauce
  • ¼ cup dry roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 large heirloom tomato – I used a Cherokee Purple
  • 4 ounces sweet peppers – I used some Tangerine Dream peppers. So good! About 10 peppers.
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 12-15 large basil leaves plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan + more for topping
  • Salt to taste
  • FOR THE PASTA AND SALMON (if desirerd)
  • 10-12 ounces pasta – I used penne noodles, but linguine would be great
  • 4 4-ounce salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder of your favorite seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Prepare your no-cook sauce by adding the following ingredients to a food processor – hazelnuts, tomato, sweet peppers, garlic, basil, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.
  2. Process to form your sauce. Salt to taste and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta until aldente. Drain and reserve about a quarter cup of the pasta water.
  4. While pasta is cooking, season your salmon fillets with salt, pepper and chili powder. Sear them in a hot pan with olive oil about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  5. Toss the cooked pasta with the no-cook pepper paste sauce. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water to bring a bit of the heat back in, and to let the sauce coat all of the noodles.
  6. Serve the noodles onto four plates and top with the salmon.
  7. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese, torn basil leaves and cracked black pepper.
  8. Serve!

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Mike Hultquist of Chili Pepper Madness

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