Casarecce with roasted red pepper pesto.
Roasted red pepper pesto is a fabulous flavourful contemporary Italian pesto recipe that is perfect with pasta, bruschetta and even white meat or fish. It also makes a great dip!
Casarecce al pesto di peperoni arrostiti.
As I have mentioned in an earlier post, casarecce has long been one of my favourite types of pasta. Of course, it all depends on how you are going to serve your pasta. Certain pastas go well with light creamy sauces, other are better suited to a heavier meat sauce.
In fact, this aspect of pasta eating is very important here in Italy. Italians can be quite fussy about which pasta to eat with a particular sauce. That doesn’t mean that people don’t mix and match a bit, but tradition is important to the Italians and there are many traditional recipes still being made the way they were invented decades ago, especially in the regions where they originated.
Casarecce is perfect with pesto!
Back to casarecce! This short scroll like pasta is one of my favourite pesto partners. I guess because they’re not too big and not too small and the groove in the middle works really well for retaining sauces like pesto which tend to cling to pasta with this shape better than to spaghetti, for example. That’s my opinion anyway! Traditionally Italians don’t eat casarecce with the well-known pesto sauces such as pesto Genovese. However, they do serve basil pesto with trofie which is quite a similar pasta.
The casarecce pasta I used.
The casarecce pasta I used for this recipe is made by a pasta company from Sicily called Valle del Grano. This is actually one of my Sicilian hubby’s favourite pasta brands. They make their pasta with 100% Sicilian durum wheat. The pasta is extruded through bronze dies and slow dried giving it a wonderful rough porous surface that sauces cling so well too! Definitely a brand to keep an eye out for.
How to make roasted red pepper pesto!
I love bell peppers especially red ones and I’m totally addicted to roasting them and then using them in all kinds of recipes such as soups, omelette, quiches and pasta sauces! Roasting the peppers really brings out the flavour and is so much healthier than frying them. Using red peppers in pesto has become quite popular here in Italy and there are other similar recipes.
Some people make roasted red pepper pesto with the addition of ricotta or sun-dried tomatoes. I used walnuts, but you can also find this pesto made with almonds and pine nuts. There are also Italian recipes for red pepper pesto made with uncooked peppers. However, I think I prefer them roasted.
Apart from the roasted peppers, I used some basil leaves, grated parmigiano cheese, extra virgin olive oil and walnuts for this roasted red pepper pesto. The resulting sauce was so delicious! And it’s so easy to make!!
You can also put this roasted red pepper pesto on pizza, eat it on bread and add a little to grilled, baked or fried fish before serving! Alternatively, it can be used to fill pasta such as cannelloni if you add some ricotta to give it more bulk and of course you can eat it with other types of pasta.
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This recipe was originally published in 2017 but has been updated with new photos and text.
This delicious flavourful roasted red pepper pesto is so easy to make and can also be put on pizza, eaten on bread and added to grilled, baked or fried fish before serving!
- 400 g casarecce pasta (14oz) I used casarecce made by Valle Del Grano Sicily
- 3-4 red bell peppers washed, tops and seeds removed
- 1-2 small garlic clove peeled and cut into pieces
- extra virgin olive oil. as required
- 100 g walnuts ( 3.5 oz) shelled
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- 100 g grated parmesan cheese (3.5 oz) you can also use grana. Vegetarians will want to use vegetarian cheese.
- salt for pasta and to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- fresh parsley washed and chopped for serving
Put the cleaned peppers on an oven tray covered with baking paper, sprinkle with a little olive oil and cook for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven at 180° until the skins start to brown.
Put water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt when it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.
When the peppers are ready, let them cool a bit and peel them (if you place them in a plastic food bag for 15 minutes after removing them from the oven they will be easier to peel!)
Cut the peppers into pieces.
Put the walnuts and garlic into a blender and pulse until the pieces are quite small. Add the pepper pieces, basil, half the cheese and some olive oil and pulse again until the sauce is evenly blended but don’t make it too smooth. If it seems too dry add a little more olive oil.
Add salt and pepper to taste and your pesto is ready!
Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Save a cup of the pasta cooking water once the pasta is ready then drain the pasta and return it to the pan and add the pesto. If it seems to dry add a little of the pasta cooking water.
Mix well and serve immediately with the rest of the grated Parmigiano as required and chopped parsley.
You can also put this pesto on pizza, eat it on bread and add a little to grilled, baked or fried fish before serving!
Alternatively, it can be used to fill pasta such as cannelloni if you add some ricotta to give it more bulk and of course you can eat it with other types of pasta.
Using casarecce is not a rule! Fusilli are great too or tagliatelle and even gnocchi are a yummy pesto partner!