I hope you have noticed by now that I like to use recipes as guides rather that follow them step by step. For me, this makes cooking so much more fun and creative. I like versatile dishes that I can put my own spin on. When I found this recipe for Red and Green Pesto, I was immediately intrigued. I love traditional basil pesto, but I also like to try pesto variations. For me, the spicier the food, the better, so I was excited to see that this pesto had red chile peppers in it. However, for those of you who don’t like the heat, don’t worry, to my dismay the peppers really did not add spice at all, just a wonderful roasted pepper flavor. The red chile peppers with the parsley in the pesto really make for a beautiful, colorful pasta dish. You could add any vegetables you would like and also your protein of choice whether that be tofu, chicken or shrimp.
Red and Green Pesto Pasta
Keywords: dessert pasta Italian
- 3 red chile peppers, preferably fresno (these look like red jalepeño peppers)
- 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 cups flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- juice of 2 lemons
- salt and pepper
- 1 pound pasta of your choice (I used linguine)
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (or other protein of your choice)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 Tbsp butter
Heat oven to 350°. Place pistachios onto baking sheet and put in oven to toast for about 6 minutes.
In a small, dry skillet, char the chiles and garlic over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes. Flip the chiles and garlic several times. Scrape off the charred skins and seed the chiles. (see *TIP* below for this step) Remove the garlic cloves from their skins.
Using a food processor or blender, pulse the chiles, garlic, parsley, cheese, pistachios, olive oil and half the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Place pesto into large bowl.
Boil salted water and cook pasta. Add a small ladleful of the pasta water to the pesto before you toss the water!
Drain the pasta and add it to the pesto.
For the shrimp, heat a large sautée pan over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the shrimp and cook until almost fully pink and opaque, about 3 minutes. Add remaining lemon juice, wine and butter. Toss a few times until butter is melted and add the contents of the pan to the pasta. (If using a different protein, cook it on its own and add it to the pasta just like I did with the shrimp)
Serve garnished with additional parmesan cheese.
(Recipe adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray)
*TIP* When roasting peppers, it can be somewhat difficult to remove the skins after they are roasted. To make this task easier, I like to wrap my peppers in a damp paper towel immediately after they are done roasting while they are still hot. This creates steam and allows the skins from the peppers to be removed much more easily.
Go ahead, slurp it up like a 5-year-old. No one is watching :)!