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.

Harissa baked cod with lemon cous cous

I’ve recently done a ‘stock take’ of all the less perishable ingredients lurking in my kitchen, these items don’t tend to be as much of a priority to use up as the perishables from my fridge, but never the less they build up over time and can become forgotten about until it’s too late and the use by date has approached.

The worst offending culprits for being forgotten about in my experience tend to be condiments and other items that come in jars. I often buy such ingredients, as I’m sure may of us do, for a particular recipe that only requires a miniscule amount of the total jar. TV cooking shows have a lot to answer for; introducing us all to new and exciting recipes that call for unusual and exotic ingredients that outside of the recipe they’re demonstrating are difficult to use up in every day cooking.

Harissa was one such offending item that I had left in my fridge, I wanted to use it for a quick and simple supper, however all the recipes I could find were complicated and called for a multitude of other ingredients, that if I was to purchase would contribute to another load of half-used jars in my fridge.

So I decided to ignore any complicated recipes that I had come across and create my own simple and flavoursome Middle Eastern inspired dish.

INGREDIENTS

For the fish:

  • 3 x tbsps natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 x cod fillets

For the couscous:

  • 100g couscous
  • 150ml boiling water
  •  1 x garlic clove crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon

For the roasted vegetables:

  • 1 x red pepper cut into chunks
  • 1 x yellow pepper cut into chunks
  • 1 x onion chopped
  • Olive oil

METHOD

Mix together the yoghurt, harissa and half of the lemon juice, cover fish and leave in the fridge to marinate for 30 mins

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200c

Place the chopped veg in an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and place in oven for 20 mins

20140706-180138.jpgWhilst the vegetables are cooking ,mix together all the ingredients for the couscous and leave to stand for 5 mins (or as per packet instructions)

Remove the roasted veg from the oven, mix with the couscous and transfer to an oven proof dish

Place the harissa coated fish, skin side up on top of couscous and vegetable mix and pour over the remaining lemon juice

20140706-180131.jpgBake in oven for 15-20 mins or until fish is cooked

This is a fantastic way to use up left-over harissa paste, the simple mix of yoghurt and harissa can be used to marinate a whole host of fish, poultry or meat which will ensure a jar is never left to fester in the back of my fridge again.

 

 

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