Roasted Orange Pepper Pesto Pasta

Is there anything more fulfilling than a simple mid-week pasta dish?

This recipe was suggested by Oddbox in their weekly newsletter and is adapted from the original recipe from Table for Two. I adapted the recipe to include almonds which I already had in stock and made additional portions for leftovers (the below quantities will serve 4). I also lazily toasted the nuts in the oven with the peppers as opposed to frying separately in a pan because hey, it’s OK to take short-cuts.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 x peppers deseeded & chopped into large chunks (red, yellow or orange will work best)
  • 2 x tbsps Pine Nuts
  • 2 x tsps flaked almonds
  • 2 x handfuls of fresh basil
  • 2 x garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 x handful of parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • 200g pasta

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180c

Place peppers, garlic & nuts into roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 20-25 mins.

Once cooked, place cooked ingredients into a bowl and add the basil, a handful of parmesan and a generoug glug of olive oil then blend with a hand blender.

Cook pasta according to instructions then drain, saving a couple of tbsps of the cooking water.

Mix in the pesto with the pasta and reserved water and heat for a couple of minutes before serving with the remaining parmesan.

Such a simple recipe, the pesto can be kept in the fridge to be served as leftovers or as a paste with something completely different, I think it would be delicious on a bruschetta topped with tomatoes. You can also freeze any leftover pesto in ice cube trays, which is what I have done to save a few portions for my son who is pasta obsessed.

Chicken, Apricot & Almond Pie

The main ingredient that I was trying to use up this week was a packet of Filo pastry that had been in my freezer just a bit too long, after struggling to fold some rather flaky and dry sheets of Filo into a parcel shape, in my Wild Mushroom Parcel Recipe, I didn’t really want to attempt to make some planned chicken parcels.

I was at a loss of what to do with the remaining pastry but as I already had the chicken & apricot filling planned I thought that instead of making a parcel I would create a pie by topping the dish with crushed up filo pastry.

I had some dried apricots left over from a recent baking attempt and I know that apricot and chicken can work quite well together, hence the inspiration for the recipe that follows:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 x tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 x Chicken Breasts diced
  • 1 x Onion finely chopped
  • 1 x Garlic Clove crushed
  • 3 x Dried Apricots finely chopped
  • 200ml Crème Fraiche/Cream
  • 200ml Chicken Stock
  • Dash White Wine (Optional)
  • 2 x Sheets Filo Pastry
  • Small handful of Flaked Almonds (Optional)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180c (Fan)

Heat 1 tbsp.  Olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat

Add onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes

Add chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes until browned

Add chopped apricots and cook for a further minute

Add dash of white wine if using (a dash of water or stock will do just fine if not, I used a couple of white wine ice cubes that I’d made previously from the remnants of a bottle of wine) and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the lovely flavours

Add stock and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.

Finally add the cream, stir and season well. Continue to cook on the hob for 5-10 minutes, until sauce has thickened slightly

Meanwhile flake the two sheets of filo pastry, I did this by putting the sheets into a plastic freezer back and crushing with my hands

Remove the mixture from the heat and fill a greased pie-dish, top with the flaked filo pastry and for a bit of extra crunch sprinkle over a few flaked almonds

20140323-185222.jpg Sprinkle with milk or egg to ensure that the topping will turn a nice golden brown (I used a pastry brush and flicked it over the pie, you’ll find you’ll be unable to brush it as the flakes of pastry will stick to the brush)

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until the topping of pie turns golden brown.

TIPS

Fresh Apricots would work well (if not better) I’d recommend just reducing the number as my pie was quite sweet.

The measurements of stock and cream are estimates, as a general rule, ensure all of the ingredients are just covered by the liquid.

If you add too much liquid, corn flour is a great way to thicken up a sauce.

If you don’t want to make a pie and are better at working with filo pastry than I am, you could make small individual parcels.

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