Roasted pepper flan with pecorino sauce

A vegetable flan topped with cheese sauce is a delicious and elegant starter. This roasted pepper flan with pecorino sauce is a winner. It’s vegetarian, low in carbs and it looks more exclusive than it really is. It really is rather simple to make, trust me when I say that this savoury flan with roasted red pepper could become the star of your next meal!

Serve this roasted red pepper flan with Pecorino sauce as a starter and surprise your friends with a lesser known Italian recipe. The flavour of the roasted peppers combined with a delicate Pecorino bechamel is the perfect recipe for a delicious vegetarian antipasto.

Flan or quiche?

Most people might be familiar with flan as a sweet dish. It is, indeed, another name for crème caramel, a custard pudding served with caramel sauce. Flan can also refer to a savoury dish. The preparation will be similar: it is egg-based and baked in a water bath, but the recipe is savoury rather than being a dessert.

When used to describe a savoury food “flan” is often a synonym for quiche. Yet they are not really the exact same thing. Quiche is a vegetable and egg mixture that is baked inside a pastry crust. Flan is crustless. And often, but not exclusively, it is made in small moulds. At least in Italy, where vegetable flan is served as starter.

Roasted pepper flan with pecorino sauce on a white plate.

Vegetable flan antipasto

Italy runs on vegetables and cheese, and a vegetable flan with a cheesy sauce is a great option for an appetizer. Or antipasto, as we call it in Italian. Sadly, vegetable flans do not rank among the most popular Italian recipes. Yet, red pepper flan is a popular starter dish in Piedmont, the region in Italy I come from. A region known mostly for its excellent wine and cheese.

Another cheesy recipe from northern Italy is polenta concia with mushrooms.

Pecorino is a sheep’s milk cheese made in central Italy (Tuscany and Lazio) as well as the island of Sardinia. I have decided to use pecorino in this vegetable flan recipe for 2 reasons. Mainly, it is for its flavour. I love pairing bell pepper with non-cow cheese, like I did in this red pepper and goat cheese soup. Moreover, I wanted to try something alternative, as I have always had my traditional Piedmont recipes with Piedmont cheese (and Piedmont wine!), so I wanted to go for something different.

Bottle of Barolo red wine and chunk of Pecorino cheese.
Barolo from Piedmont and pecorino romano from Lazio. A nice combo.

Roasted pepper flan ingredients

These are the ingredients needed to make these vegetable flans and their cheese sauce. Please refet to the recipe card below for quantitities:

  • Roasted bell peppers
  • Eggs
  • Ricotta
  • Parmigiano
  • Pecorino
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Salt&Pepper

A note about red peppers. If using ready to eat roasted peppers (for exampe jarred, preserved in oil) you will need 250 g, drained. If roasting them at home, you need to use 2-3 fresh bell peppers. The total weight should be about 600 g raw and whole. Baked and cleaned the weight will be reduced to 250-300 g. See recipe card for directions.

Vegetable flan with cheese sauce on top.

How to make roasted red pepper flan

  • Combine roasted peppers, whole eggs, ricotta, grated parmigiano and salt in a tall container and blend until smooth.
  • Thoroughly butter the molds – even if using silicone! Divide mixture into molds. Please notice that the flans will rise as they bake, so avoid filling the molds to the brim to avoid spilling.
  • Transfer molds to a baking dish and pour boiling water in the dish filling it about 1 cm. Place baking dish and molds in the preheated oven.

Red pepper flan batter in moulds, in a water bath.

  • Bake the flans at 200°C (390°F) for 30 minutes. Flans are done when they look set and the tops are starting to slightly brown. Let flan rest in the molds for about 10 minutes before plating.
  • Flan is fragile and should be handled carefully when removing it from the mold. The easiest way to plate is by placing an upside down serving plate over the mould, and rotating it so that the mould is upside-down. Give the mould top a gentle pat and carefully lift the mould, leaving the flan upside-down on the plate.

Plated vegetable flans without cheese sauce.

  • As the flans bake in the oven, prepare the cheese sauce. Add the flour to a small saucepan and set on medium heat.
  • Let the flour toast for a couple of minutes, then add the butter and quickly mix to make a roux – a thick flour and butter mixture.
  • Add the cold milk and stir to combine. The difference in temperature may cause the roux to clump, but lumps will dissolve as the mixture warms.
  • Keep stirring until the mixture reaches boiling temperature and thickens, then remove the saucepan form the heat
  • Fold in the grated pecorino. Pecorino cheese is quite salty, so there should be no need to add any salt to the cheese sauce. Stir in some freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Pour the sauce over the plated flans and add more pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

 

Roasted pepper flan with pecorino sauce that is being eaten.

Best non-cow cheese recipes

If you love sheep’s and goat’s milk cheese, here are some other recipes where non-cow cheese is the main flavour’s best sidekick:

Have you ever had a vegetable flan? What were the main ingredients? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to pin this roasted pepper recipe for later!

Serve this roasted red pepper flan with Pecorino sauce as a starter and surprise your friends with a lesser known Italian recipe. The flavour of the roasted peppers combined with a delicate Pecorino bechamel is the perfect recipe for a delicious vegetarian antipasto.

This recipe was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated in October 2020.

 

Roasted red pepper flan with Pecorino sauce

This vegetable flan is a lesser known Italian recipe that combines a soft roasted pepper flan with a creamy Pecorino sauce.

Course Starter
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian starter, pecorino sauce, roasted pepper flan, savoury flan, vegetable flan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Homemade roasted peppers 2 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 234 kcal
Author Eva | Electric Blue Food

Ingredients

  • 2-3 red bell peppers about 600 g
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g ricotta cheese
  • 100 g parmigiano grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 80 g pecorino cheese grated
  • 20 g flour
  • 10 g butter
  • 200 ml milk
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

To make homemade roasted peppers

  1. Line an oven tray with three pieces of aluminium foil so that they're slightly overlapping. Wash and dry the red peppers and place them on the oven tray so that they're each on a single aluminium foil. Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 200°C turning them every 15 minutes. When the baking time is up, take the whole tray out of the oven and wrap the roasted peppers individually in aluminium. Let cool wrapped for one hour or overnight.

To make roasted pepper flan

  1. Peel and seed the roasted peppers, discard any excess water or oil depending on type used. The optimal quantity of cleaned roasted pepper slices to be used is about 250 grams.

  2. Combine roasted peppers, whole eggs, ricotta, grated parmigiano and salt in a tall container and blend until smooth. Thoroughly butter the molds - even if using silicone! Flan is soft and fragile and we need to make sure it will smoothly slide out of the molds. Divide mixture into molds. Please notice that the flans will grow as they bake, so do not fill the molds to the brim to avoid spilling.

  3. Transfer filled molds to a baking dish and fill the baking dish with water, about 1 cm. Do not skip this step as flan needs to be baked in a water bath. Place water bath dish and molds in the preheated oven and bake at 200°C f(390°F) or 30 minutes. The flan will rise and set as it bakes.

  4. Remove from the oven when flans look set and the tops are starting to slightly brown. Do not overbake. Let flan rest in the molds for about 10 minutes before plating.

To make the pecorino sauce

  1. As the flans bake in the oven, prepare the cheese sauce. Add the flour to a small saucepan and set on medium heat. Let the flour toast for a couple of minutes, then add the butter and quickly mix to make a roux. Add the cold milk and stir to combine. Do not worry if the difference in temperature causes lumps; stirring will dissolve them. Stir until the mixture reaches boiling temperature, then remove the sauce form the heat and fold in the grated pecorino. Pecorino cheese is quite salty, so there is no need to add any salt to the cheese sauce. Add freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

  2. Pour the cheese sauce over the plated flan, or serve on the side preferably in a metal container so that the sauce keeps warm and does not thicken too quickly.

Recipe Notes

Red pepper quantity:

  • if roasting red peppers you need to use 2-3 fresh bell peppers, depending on their size. The total weight should be about 600 grams raw and whole. Baked and cleaned the weight will be reduced to 250-300 g.
  • If using ready to eat roasted peppers (for exampe jarred, preserved in oil) you will need 250 g drained.
Nutrition Facts
Roasted red pepper flan with Pecorino sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 122mg41%
Sodium 694mg30%
Potassium 202mg6%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 1716IU34%
Vitamin C 51mg62%
Calcium 426mg43%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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22 Comments

  1. Veena Azmanov May 14, 2019 at 15:03

    5 stars
    This is surely a unique and special recipe. Full of flavors and love the texture of this Flan. Have never tried one and this is a must try recipe.

    Reply
    1. Eva May 14, 2019 at 19:32

      The texture is so smooth! If you’re not into red peppers you can sub those with any other veggie.

      Reply
  2. Maggie Unzueta May 15, 2019 at 22:04

    5 stars
    Oh my! I need this in my life. Must print your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:24

      You are welcome, Maggie!

      Reply
  3. Jenni May 17, 2019 at 02:39

    5 stars
    Ok, I have never heard of a vegetable flan before but I am totally hooked on the idea, now! I must try this! Thank you so much for teaching me about these!

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:25

      Hello Jenni!
      I’m glad you like this idea, hope you’ll get a chance to taste this too!

      Reply
  4. Tammy May 17, 2019 at 16:07

    5 stars
    Completely blown away right now by this recipe. It’s so unique and sounds so, so delicious! Savory flan is not something I would have thought of but I really would love to try this! Gorgeous post 🙂

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:25

      Thank you so much Tammy! Hope you enjoy!

      Reply
  5. Neha May 18, 2019 at 04:03

    5 stars
    Such a unique recipe! Never tried making a savory flan before this and I think I am already hooked coz I love bell peppers. Trying it very soon!

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:26

      Great! I love bell peppers, too!

      Reply
  6. Sharon May 18, 2019 at 14:53

    5 stars
    Not only does this dish look amazing I love that you told the story behind what makes these so delicious! The topping looks great too.

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:26

      Thank you very much Sharon 🙂

      Reply
  7. lauren May 19, 2019 at 03:27

    I’ve never seen a recipe for a savory flan before but I love the sound of it! Romano is one of my favorite cheeses, I can almost taste the tangy salty flavor with the red pepper. This is definitely going on the must try list.

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:27

      Yeah, pecorino pairs so well with the sweetness of the roasted peppers! If you love that cheese, you’re gonna love this recipe with its topping!

      Reply
  8. Amanda Mason May 19, 2019 at 04:22

    5 stars
    This looks so good!! I’ve never made flan before but I like flan, a lot!! I’ll have to give this one a try!! Love desserts like this!

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:28

      This is actually a savoury flan. I guess you could make a sweet version using bell peppers, but not with a pecorino sauce 😀

      Reply
  9. Lorie May 19, 2019 at 15:27

    5 stars
    Oh wow, this one is gonna be a crowd pleaser—so different and so unique and yet so delish! Roasted red peppers are my favorite in any recipe!

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:30

      Yeah, I love this recipe. It’s always so unexpected but so loved by guests!

      Reply
  10. Chef and Steward May 19, 2019 at 16:39

    5 stars
    I would never have thought of a savory flan. This has so many interesting and great flavours in a completely fresh presentation.

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:30

      Thank you! And it’s also so easy to make!

      Reply
  11. Daniela May 20, 2019 at 06:28

    Whoa such an interesting recipe! Have only had sweet flan before and def stoked to get my savory flan game on! Thanks so much for sharing :).

    Reply
    1. Eva May 21, 2019 at 08:31

      You are welcome Daniela! I hope you enjoy!

      Reply

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