This creamy seasonal Tahini Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni is topped with crispy and flavorful breadcrumbs that are made right on the stovetop- no need to turn on the oven or dirty a baking dish for the feel of a baked pasta with a crispy topping.
The combination of smooth and nutty tahini and naturally sweet roasted red peppers makes for a velvety and balanced pasta sauce. Miso and nutritional yeast lend a savory and slightly cheesy note to the sauce, and fresh lemon juice brightens and elevates the flavors. A touch of cornstarch blended into the sauce and the addition of pasta water at the end helps the thick and creamy sauce cling to the rigatoni so you get plenty of flavor in every bite. Are you ready?
I debated making this a baked pasta casserole, but the heat of August infiltrating my kitchen while I was testing this prompted me to create a crispy topping that could be made on the stovetop instead. You can absolutely enjoy this pasta without the garlic-thyme breadcrumbs BUT they take the dish over the top from a simple pasta to date night or special occasion worthy without much extra effort.
Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni Notes and Tips
- Use another herb like sage or basil in the breadcrumbs if you don’t have thyme or want to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Roasting red peppers on the stovetop is my method of choice, as I have a gas range. Simply turn the flame on and carefully use tongs to place the pepper directly on the burner, turning occasionally until it’s charred on all sides. Transfer to a bowl with a tight fitting lid and leave to steam for 20 minutes. then peel the skins from the pepper and remove the seeds, using a sharp knife to scrape any seeds or skin that don’t easily come off. Jarred peppers work equally well in this dish if you’re making it out of season or prefer to save time.
- Rigatoni is the best pasta shape for a creamy sauce, in my opinion. The ridges on the outside, the nice large hole in the center, and the overall heft all lend themselves to becoming beautifully coated with your creamy sauce of choice. Linguine would work as well.
- As far as tahini goes, I would recommend a runny tahini as opposed to a thick, pasty one. If your tahini is thick, you might need a little extra water in your sauce. My favorite is this Ethiopian tahini or Soom foods brand.
Tahini & Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni with Garlic-Thyme Breadcrumbs
A creamy seasonal pasta made with tahini and roasted red peppers, topped with a stovetop garlic and thyme breadcrumb.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
for the tahini and roasted red pepper sauce:
- 1/4 + 2 tbsp c tahini
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 roasted red peppers, skins and seeds removed if roasting yourself
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 1/4 c nutritional yeast
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 c water
for the breadcrumbs:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (check ingredients- some contain milk!)
- 2 finely minced garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
to assemble the pasta:
- al dente cooked rigatoni (from 16 oz dry pasta)
- 1/4 reserved pasta water
- your prepared tahini and roasted red pepper sauce
- your prepared breadcrumbs
- Gather the ingredients for the pasta sauce and add them all to a blender or a food processor. blend until very smooth. set aside.
- Cook your pasta to al dente. This is important because it will cook for a couple more minutes once you’ve combined it with the sauce. Reserve 1/4 c pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, make your breadcrumbs. Take heat the oil for the breadcrumbs in a large skillet over medium-high and add the panko breadcrumbs and minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs have browned and started to crisp. Turn off the heat and stir in the thyme, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- When the pasta is al-dente (about 1-2 minutes short of the cooking time on the bag), drain it and don’t rinse it (save that pasta water!). Return the pasta immediately to the pot and set the heat to low. Add the sauce and stir to incorporate. After the sauce starts to thicken (1 minute or so), decide if you need any of the reserved pasta water to help the sauce coat all the pasta well.
- Serve generously topped with the garlic-thyme breadcrumbs. Store leftover pasta in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days and breadcrumbs separately in a container at room temperature.
Thank you for stopping by! If you make this or any of my recipes, please tag me on Instagram @plantandsoulkitchen so we can connect! xo Jillian
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