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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Red Pepper Pesto

Basil pesto is one of those flavors that people either love or hate. Most people seem to love it, and in the summer some pesto lovers can't get enough of it.

And there are lots of ways to make green pesto: with arugula instead of basil, for example, or with garlic scapes, as we've written about here in previous posts.

But if you are sick of green pesto and want a change, here's a recipe for red pepper pesto. As we've noted before, roasted red peppers are one of our all-time favorite flavors. This pesto has a bit less bite than the green pestos, because of the creamy sweet taste of the roasted red peppers.

This roasted red pepper pesto, which is adapted from a Food & Wine recipe, can be mixed with any pasta from spaghetti to bowtie to the mini-penne we used. We thought that the Food & Wine recipe needed more of a kick from the garlic, nuts and cheese.

5 large red peppers, roasted and skin removed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3-1/2 cup basil, plus 3 sprig tops for garnish
4 Tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. pasta

Just before you put the pasta in the boiling water to cook,
put the roasted and skinned peppers in a food processor, followed by
the garlic, basil, toasted pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
Add a few good grinds of pepper and a half teaspoon of salt.
Pulse the processor until it begins to look like a sauce, then add the olive oil and pulse until relatively smooth.
Taste for salt and add more if needed.
When the pasta is done, drain and put in a pasta bowl.
Add the red pepper pesto and mix well.
Garnish with the extra cheese and the basil sprigs.
Serves four.

Serve with a very crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, or if you're craving red, a Pinot Noir.

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