Sunday, December 11, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pasta

A new recipe I tried tonight and it turned out great. I think next time I will add a cooked diced chicken breast to add more protein. It was delicious and even the kids ate it.

3 cloves garlic
1/3 to 1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup roasted red bell pepper (fresh or jarred)
3 TBSP dried basil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. pasta of your choice
1 cup reserved pasta water after cooking
¼ to 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Place garlic, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add red pepper, basil leaves, salt and pepper.  Pulse until well combined.  With the motor running, add olive oil through the feed tube and process until incorporated.  Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Before draining remove 1 cup of the starchy cooking water from the pot.  Drain the pasta and return to the pot.  Add the pesto to the pasta and stir to combine.  Stir in heavy cream and ricotta cheese for a creamier sauce. Add small amounts of the starchy cooking water to the creamy pasta until you feel you have a good sauce and moves easily. Heat until warmed through.  Serve immediately with a side salad and garlic bread.