Friday, July 8, 2011

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto with Penne

The basil plant in our herb garden is growing like crazy. Of all of the herbs I don't use basil that often and needed to find something to use some up in. The first thing that came to mind was a pesto sauce for pasta. I have never made it before and figured I would give it a try with my new food processor. I was looking up recipes on the various food blogs I read and came across a roasted red pepper pesto and penne...perfect! It was even on a site for picky eaters, which Jason can sometimes be one this seemed like a perfect match, especially since I know he loves red peppers. It turned out creamy and flavorful. The roasted red peppers were not a strong flavor to the basil and garlic so I might use 1 clove of garlic next time and a little more red pepper if we want a stronger flavor. You can also add some grilled or shredded chicken for more protein. Either way it was a hearty meal.

Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne
½ Cup roasted red bell peppers (jar or fresh)
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/3 Cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 Cup pine nuts
1 ½ Cups basil leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ Cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb Penne (or any short cut pasta)
¼ Cup heavy cream, if desired (I didn't add since it was thick enough on its own, but it makes for a creamier sauce)
1. Place roasted red peppers and garlic into food processor. Pulse until well combined.  

2. Add the parmesan, pine nuts, basil leaves and salt. With processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Set aside.

3. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large rimmed skillet or pot. Pour in pesto and stir. Stir in heavy cream if desired. Heat for 5 minutes or until heated through. Best served immediately.

Source: Picky Palate

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