When you go to the market and pick up a bag of peppers in midwinter for the price you'd normally pay in midsummer, you know the sun gods are looking after you and that roasted pepper pesto will soon be on the menu. I'll be eating this plate of sunshine with my beanie and mittens on under the grey, winter sky. We can't expect too much of the sun gods in June, can we?
NOTE: You will only need about a cup of the pesto to dress the pasta, which means you will have about a cup leftover. Use leftover pesto with roast chicken or to drizzle on croutons and add to a salad.
Radiatori with Roasted Pepper Pesto
pesto slightly adapted from here
6 large peppers (I used a mix of red and yellow)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup roasted natural almonds
1/4 cup coriander leaves or basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g Radiatori (or another short, ridged or textured pasta)
Freshly grated parmesan for sprinkling
Zest and juice of 1emon
Preheat the oven to 240C. Line a baking tray with foil. Lay the pepper on the tray and roast for about 25 - 30 minutes, until the skins blacken and blister. Remove them from the tray and put them into a heat-proof bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to sweat for 20 minutes. This will make the skins easier to remove. Once cool, peel the skins away and discard the stems and seeds. Set aside.
Warm the oil in a small saucepan. Add the chopped garlic and the paprika and smoked paprika. Allow them to sizzle for a few second, then remove them from the heal and let them cool slightly.
Put the cooled oil mixture, roasted peppers, almonds, coriander or basil into a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blitz until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. Set aside.
Cook the radiatori according to packet instructions. Heat a cup of the pesto in a saucepan over medium heat until warm. Drain the pasta and immediately spoon the pesto over and toss to coat it evenly. Tip the pasta out onto a serving patter, sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and finely grated zest of a lemon. Finish with a grinding of pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.