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Pasta with Pesto Calabrese
Pesto calabrese, from the Calabria region that forms the “toe” of Italy‘s boot, is a simple puree with a base of sweet red peppers, tomatoes and ricotta cheese. It often includes nuts for richness and, on occasion, cooked eggplant for added creaminess. For our version, we char fresh red bell peppers in a hot skillet to soften their crisp texture and give them a subtle smokiness. We combine them with sun-dried tomatoes for their deep, concentrated, umami-rich flavor. We skip the eggplant but do process toasted sliced almonds into the pesto, then sprinkle some onto the sauced pasta for contrasting texture.
cup sliced almonds
tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
01In a 12-inch skillet over medium, toast the almonds, stirring often, until fragrant and light golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside. In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the bell peppers, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes.
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