Step away from the standard green with this amazing red pepper pesto which is as rich and vibrant in taste as it is in colour.
Red Pepper Pesto may seem a step too far for those of you who think of pesto as that green stuff in jars in the supermarket but think again my friends.
Pesto is fabulous stuff and making your own is the only way to go. Forget plain basil pesto and think outside the jar and get creative with different types of pesto.
What is pesto
Pesto is a sauce that originated in Genoa Italy. The word ‘pesto’ means ‘to pound or crush’ which is basically what this sauce is.
Pesto is pounded/crushed basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese.
It has been made for hundreds of years and every area, almost every family really, has their own version of this classic sauce.
As I’ve said the word pesto comes from the Italian word ‘pistare’ to pound and purists will tell you that all pesto should be made in the traditional manner by pounding the ingredients into a paste using a pestle and mortar.
While this indeed the best way to make pesto in this fast-paced modern world the food processor does take the elbow grease out of the equation and make things much faster. So feel free to grab your processor and get cracking!
I love pesto so much I even wrote an Ebook about it – A Passion For Pesto
This fabulous book has 75 different recipes for pesto from all sorts of herbal pestos to veggie pesto too. There are also weedy pestos and nut free pesto. i even have sweet pesto made from different fruits for desserts. Plus there are lots of recipes for using your homemade pestos too.
- red bell peppers
- pine nuts
- olive oil
- parmesan cheese
How to make red pepper pesto
Roast the peppers first either in the oven or under the grill. You want to blacken the skins. Cover with cling film and allow them to cool enough to handle and remove the skins.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for barely a minute. This is so not the time to answer your phone or nip to the loo. The pine nuts will catch and burn very easily.
They are ready as soon as they start to release that gorgeous nutty aroma and turn golden. Tip them out of the hot pan or they will continue to cook and burn.
Now whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor adding as much oil as you like to get the consistancy you prefer for your pesto.
Can you use peppers from a jar?
Yes, simply pat them dry if they are in vinegar. If they are in oil then you are good to go. Check out my own Roasted Peppers In Oil.
How long will this pesto keep?
Your red pepper pesto will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Make sure that you have the top of the pesto covered with olive oil as this seals it from air which causes discolouration.
How to serve red pepper pesto
Red pepper pesto is the perfect addition to a plate of pasta, just warm it up and stir it into your favourite spaghetti/penne or whatever.
It also makes a great addition to a toasted cheese sandwich or on Italian bruschetta.
Stir it into soup just before serving.
With its vibrant colour and zingy taste, this lovely red pepper pesto is also just perfect for an antipasti platter with some cheeses, olives, cold meats and crusty bread.
So forget those nasty little green jars in the supermarket and get making your own pesto, I promise you, you’ll never look at those jars again!
Looking for more quick and easy pesto recipes to try? Then check these out before you go;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Red Pepper Pesto
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 small red chilli
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- 1 sprig mint
- 1 tsp lemon zest grated
- salt and pepper
- Grill the peppers under a hot grill till blackened then place in a plastic bag till cool and remove the skin, tops and seeds
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for barely a minute till they are just turning golden and their nutty aroma is released
- Tip out of pan immediately or they will continue to cook and burn
- Chop the chilli and discard top and seeds
- Whizz the peppers, chilli, pine nuts, mint, lemon zest and parmesan in food processor
- Drizzle in the olive oil till you have the consistancy you prefer
- Make it firmer if using as a dip or spread and looser for a pasta sauce
- Season to taste