Saturday, August 2, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto - Two Ways

As is frequently the case when posting to this blog, I am eating leftovers of the dish I am going to be writing about. In my book, a recipe is *really* good when it makes it as leftovers. Also, a recipe ranks very high with me when it takes well to adaptation. This entry is about just such a recipe.

I often forget about certain ingredients, like roast bell peppers in this case. I seem to eliminate roasted peppers of any kind from my ingredient list because I have an electric stove and an apartment that lacks good ventilation, making it risky to roast my own. Out of desperation I have rediscovered the jarred roasted pepper, and, I have to say, they do the job quite well!

I was pushed towards experimenting with jarred peppers when I stumbled upon a roasted red pepper pesto on Sherry's blog. (She will be missed! For posts about Sherry visit this link) The photos of her pasta dish made my tastebuds tingle and I knew I had to try it. I didnt have all the ingredients the original recipe called for so I changed it up to suit what was on hand. The result was surprisingly refreshing and took no more than three minutes to assemble. Plus, since this pesto is simply blended, it only requires the cooking of pasta which cuts down on kitchen heat. The meal was a special treat since my mom had brought back beautiful pasta from her recent trip to Italy. The end result was aromatic and gorgeous.

Roasted Red Pepper and Lemon Basil Pesto

1 garlic clove
3 roasted red bell peppers
4 large walnuts
1/3 c. lemon basil
1/4 c. parmesan
salt and pepper*
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb. pasta cooked

In a blender or food processor combine the first seven ingredients. Top hot pasta with the pesto mixture and add parm to your liking.

*Because the pasta sauce is not cooked and doesnt have time to meld, I tend to add more salt than I normally would.


Given the fact that the first pesto recipe was to die for, I tried another variation of it for dinner two nights ago. The basil at the grocery store was kinda sad but the cilantro looked wonderful, so I opted to season the pesto with cilantro and took a non-traditional route. I also didnt have any parm on hand since I had yet to go to Trader Joe's (and there is no way I am buying parm from Target) but I had about 2 oz. of goat cheese in the fridge and figured that would work well. In the end the pasta dish had a rich mediterranean flavor that I will crave again and again!

Cilantro Pesto with Roasted Red Peppers

1 clove garlic
3 roasted red peppers
1/3 c. cilantro leaves
2 oz. goat cheese
4 large walnuts
salt and pepper*
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb. cooked pasta

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor and pour atop hot pasta.

I added 16 oz. of artichoke hearts and several chopped green onions to get more veggies in the dish.

If you experiment with variations on this dish please forward it on since I love to hear how people have amended recipes to suit their tastes.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I tried the first pesto recipe (but also had to do a little substitution-- purple opal basil rather than lemon) and loved it! With a bit of green and red peppercorns blended in and topped with seared scallops, this was a perfect meal. Thanks!