Cheese / Entrees / Healthy Choices / Italian Food / Pasta / Quick and Easy / See Hatsie Cook / Summer Recipes / Vegetables / Vegetarian / Weeknight Meals

Cook: Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with Rigatoni

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.
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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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