Paula made a terrific Red Pepper Pesto on Monday night. I read about the recipe in the July/August issue of Cooks Illustrated and it sounded good. She had a day off and made it while I was taking care of some chores outside. We enjoyed it with some delicious wine. If you want to try the recipe, here is what you need to do…
Start by tossing 2 red bell peppers that have been stemmed and seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips with a tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook the peppers covered in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until the peppers are softened and starting to brown. This will take about 15 minutes.
Add 1 small chopped onion, 1 plum tomato (cored, seeded and chopped), 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic and some red pepper flakes to taste to the pan. Continue to cook, uncovered at this point, until the peppers are browned in spots, about 6 minutes. Remove the pepper mixture from the skillet and let cook for about 5 minutes.
Place 1/2 cup of ricotta, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1 red bell pepper (also stemmed, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch strips), 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper in a food processor. Add the cooked bell pepper mixture and process for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and run for another 10 seconds. With the processor running, add 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Process for about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for another 20 seconds until the mixture is smooth.
While you are making the pesto, heat water in a large pot. When the water is boiling, add enough penne for the number of people eating and cook until al dente. Reserve some of the cooking water to thin pasta if necessary. (Note: We didn’t do that…) Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Now add the pesto and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy! This was a wonderful summer pasta dish! There was enough pesto that the two of us are going to be able to enjoy it again later. It will skeep in the refrigerator for about another week.