Here are some small realities in my life right now:
The busier I am, the messier my apartment is. It's just the way it is.
My cat will wake me up at 6:00am every single morning to be fed, except for this morning, when he woke me up at 4:30am. It wasn't appreciated and he knows it.
My cooking supplies have officially outnumbered the storage available for them. I currently have 20 pounds of flour living on my coffee table.
Having your manicure smudge an hour after getting it is the most frustrating thing.
I can make pesto out of pretty much anything. You can too, though. It's incredibly easy.
This one in particular has roasted red peppers, basil, and toasted walnuts. It's very delicious, and pairs perfectly with pasta, obviously.
Let's make pesto!
Basil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and toasted walnuts are added to a food processor.
Add some roasted red peppers, which I made by splitting two red bell peppers in half, removing the seeds, drizzling with olive oil, and roasting in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until they were soft and sweet.
Finally, add about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan, then pulse the food processor until everything is well combined. It will look like salsa at this point. Add enough olive oil until it has reached the creamy consistency you want.
I chose to hold back on the olive oil a bit, hoping to make it a bit healthier, and the result was a chunkier pesto, which I loved. The pepper flavor really came through, and it would be amazing on both pasta, see below, or bruschetta with some goat cheese or fresh mozzarella. As would almost anything.
Boil your favorite pasta to al dente, preferably a short pasta with lots of ridges or nooks and crannies, and add the pesto. Reserve some of the pasta water before draining, though, just in case you need to thin out the sauce.
Toss to combine, and thin out with a little bit of reserved pasta water if necessary. Serve with grated Parmesan on top and some torn fresh basil.
Even though this is pasta, and a pesto pasta at that, it tasted incredibly light. The flavors of the pesto--the basil, sweet peppers, and bright lemon--taste so fresh that it feels like you're eating a salad, except with pasta. I like that about a dish.
It's also incredibly easy. Thirty minutes of oven time, the last ten of which are used to boil pasta, then a quick blitz in the food processor and dinner is served.
The leftovers are wonderful too. Cold pasta is one of my favorite things anyway, but this could be intentionally served cold, as a pasta salad side dish. Add some diced fresh red peppers, maybe some tomatoes, and more fresh basil and you've got yourself a great side for any summer barbecue. Maybe to accompany Barbecue Lamb Sliders? By the way, have you voted yet?
Make this pesto this week for a pasta dinner, an appetizer, or a great sandwich spread. It'll keep in the refrigerator for at least a week, and you'll have a fresh, summery sauce anytime you want!
Here's the recipe:
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with Rigatoni (Inspired by Table for Two)
- 2 large red bell peppers, seeds and membranes removed, cut in half
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, add peppers, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes, until soft.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve some of the pasta water, drain, and return to the pot. Set aside.
- Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until they are fragrant. Watch closely! They go from not toasted to burnt extremely fast.
- To make the pesto, add basil, garlic clove, toasted walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and roasted bell peppers to a food processor and pulse until nicely combined. Add Parmesan cheese and pulse to combine. Drizzle in olive oil until the pesto has reached your desired consistency. I used probably 1/4 a cup, and it was a little on the chunkier side, so use more if you want a smoother consistency.
- Add pesto to drained pasta and toss to combine. Thin with a little of the reserved pasta water if necessary. Serve with more grated Parmesan and torn fresh basil.