Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta

May 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: So, after a month-long hiatus in which EVERYTHING in the world was happening, thereby preventing us from being responsible bloggers, we come back to you with the assurance that no, we have not abandoned the blog — and here is an extremely alliterative recipe to make up for our absence!

I think I made this for the first time one or two years ago and since then it’s been something of a staple for us.  Recently we were trying to find the recipe and realized that we had never posted it here — so, obviously, that had to happen.  This is really easy and if you are anywhere close to as much of a pasta-holic as I am, you’ll love it.

pasta preparation #1

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta
(original recipe here)

1 roasted red pepper (you can buy jarred, or roast your own!)
1/2 c dry bread crumbs (don’t ever buy bread crumbs at the store. If you’re going to use them, use sort-of stale bread and food-pro that into smithereens. We use oats and just blend them up into a crumb-like consistency)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin (optional, but recommended!)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c pecan halves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you probably won’t need all of this)

1 lb linguini
Grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley for serving

If you’re going to roast your own red pepper, ideally, you’d have a gas stove on which to do so.  We are not so lucky, so if you’re like us, just put your pepper on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven on 350F for about 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it, and consider rotating it after about 10 minutes so it gets evenly roasted.  You’ll want to look for the skin blackening.

gorgeous

While this is going on, you can start the pasta and make the rest of the pesto. For the pasta — well, get a pot of salted water heating up on the stove, and if you need more help than that, I’m not sure there’s much I can do for you.

As for the pesto, put the bread crumbs, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, red pepper flakes, pecan halves, and salt in a food processor/blender. (Depending on how good your blender is, you may want to roughly chop your pecans a bit first.) Blend until fairly well mixed together.

pesto, pre-blending

Once your pepper is roasted — handling it very carefully as it will be quite hot — cut it in half, peel the skin off as best as you can (it’s fine if you can’t get all of it, this is not an easy endeavor), and de-seed it.  Then add it to the rest of the pesto and blend away.

homemade pesto is the best-o!

(At this point, your water is probably boiling and you should probably put some pasta in it if you haven’t already.)

Your pesto will probably be a little dry and pasty rather than pesto-y at this stage.  That’s where the olive oil comes in — pour it into the pesto, a bit at a time, blending between additions until you get to your desired consistency.  We definitely never need the full 1/4 c for ours.

When your pasta is done cooking, drain but reserve about 1/2 c of pasta water.  Add as much of the pesto as you want (you probably won’t need all of it unless you REALLY like pesto), and stir to get the pasta evenly coated.  You will probably need some pasta water to help incorporate the pesto; it’s a bit thick and hard to stir in otherwise.

Once you’ve got it incorporated, you can serve however you choose.  We’ve got two “serving suggestions” for you here — above, we roasted some asparagus with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice, and grated some parmesan over everything.  And below, we just cooked some peas, mixed them in, and crumbled some feta over top.  Our point here is that you can serve this however you want and it’s pretty much guaranteed to be delicious.  Enjoy!

pasta preparation #2

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