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.

Grilled Halloumi and Cherry Tomatoes with Mint Pesto

Despite the packaging on the Basil clearly reading “keep me away from the cold”, the packet of Basil had ended up squished in the bottom of the fridge past it’s prime, alongside a few sprigs of floppy mint and some wrinkly cherry tomatoes.

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Normally when I have left over Basil, I make myself some home-made pesto and as I only had a few sprigs of mint left, I decided to throw them in. I’ve never made any other pesto other than bog standard pesto but I’ve heard adding mushrooms, mint and a whole other host of ingredients can create great variations on the original.

I couldn’t remember the correct measurements so I just threw all the herbs into a blender with two tbsps of toasted pine-nuts, a crushed garlic clove and a good glug of olive oil. I always find pesto takes a while to blend, during the blending I gave the mix an occasional stir and gradually added more olive oil until I was happy with the consistency.

After I tipped the mix out of the blender for a taste test, I discovered my hap hazard approach to pesto making had led to me missing out a vital ingredient…parmesan.

Not wanting to re-blend, I just added grated parmesan to the finished product (probably not how the Italians do it but hey-ho it tasted pretty good).image-3image-4

 The best thing about making any paste from fresh herbs, is that it pro-longs the life of the herbs and can be used for a huge variety of dishes such as pasta sauces, meat marinades or salad dressings.

I decided to go for the old BBQ classic of grilled halloumi and cherry tomatoes, a proper recipe for which can be found at bonappetit.com.

As I didn’t have a BBQ, or any skewers, I continued with my hap hazard approach to cooking by throwing halloumi and cherry tomatoes into an oven-proof dish, and whacked them underneath the grill for 5 minutes before mixing with the pesto.

And hey presto,  a few wrinkly past their best ingredients created a great dish that can be eaten as an appetizer or lightish supper/salad.

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