Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with Pasta

>> Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I absolutely adore pasta. I eat it at least three to four times a week, and I've been getting bored with my usual/traditional sauce recipes. I pinned this recipe on Pinterest (big surprise there!) and thought it sounded like a wonderful change of pace.

I came up with a few quick reasons why you too should try this recipe:
1.) I love that I was able to make the sauce from all fresh ingredients - nothing canned or processed here.
2.) Not only was it healthy, it was really tasty to boot!
3.) The brilliant red-orange sauce flecked with green from the basil and zucchini was beautiful as well as delicious.
4.) Texas has returned to 100 degree weather (ugh!) + a no-cook sauce = a much cooler kitchen
5.) By grating the zucchini and adding it to the sauce, you can sneak in an extra veggie and make it a one-dish meal.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto with Pasta
adapted from Annie's Eats

3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1/2 cup pine nuts
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb. penne pasta (or your favorite small pasta)
1 zucchini, coarsely grated
heavy cream, optional

Preheat broiler. Place bell peppers on a cookie sheet, cut side down. Broil peppers until their skin is blistered and charred, about 10 minutes. Place bell peppers on a plate and cover with plastic wrap for 10-15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin of the peppers.

Place pine nuts and cloves in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add bell peppers, basil, and parmesan. Pulse until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil until incorporated.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return pasta to pot. Add zucchini and pesto and stir well to combine. Add heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time, if you desire a creamier consistency. Garnish with extra parmesan.


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