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Calabrian cooks coax deeper flavors from a red pepper pesto by cooking it

Pasta with Pesto Calabrese

Appears in July-August 2020

45 minutes

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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.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil to char the bell peppers. With a low smoke point, olive oil will scorch before the peppers are properly charred. Be sure to use an oil with a high smoke point, such as grapeseed or canola.

45 minutes

Reviews
Anthony M.
June 21, 2022
Weeknight Favorite
We make this all the time. Very easy & satisfying!
Ron G.
May 21, 2022
Satisfying and delicious
Easy and delicious recipe. I reduced the amount of red pepper by more than half, it really depends on how spicy the flakes that you use are.
Michael S.

Got an email with this recipe today just when I needed inspiration. Really good! The pesto smells so appetizing after processing!

Beth M.

I have been a subscriber from the beginning and I am never bored and always intrigued. Thursday night after traveling the beginning of the week. I made this with no issue. I had saved the recipe a couple of weeks ago and ordered the groceries to be sure I had everything on hand. The fresh basil is key so don't go without. This is a fantastic weeknight meal. Added a side of roasted vegetables that blended nicely - both flavor and color. Don't change a thing!

Diana L.

I made this dish last night. The pesto is very rich. It's definitely not a summer dish. Also, my family all agreed that it needed a bacon bits as it was a bit monotonous to eat. It was not bad but just need something as it's so heavy.

Ruchita G.

made this today! i also found it heavy because of the almond base. I added fresno chilis, and then some local delicate greens on the bottom of the bowl to mix in, but not cook. this made it a little lighter and even more flavorful. served it with sfoglini brand saffron malloreddus which worked out well!

Virginia H.

I am new to the website. Where can I see the nutritional infomation?

Janelle C.

Hi Virginia,

At this time we don't provide nutritional information for our recipes. However, there is a free mobile application called "myfitnesspal" that allows users to import recipes like this one to calculate the nutritional information based on the products/brands you use. I personally used it and can't recommend it enough.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Thomas M.

This recipe was easy to make and definitely a week- night dinner, especially if you use jarred roasted red peppers, which are delicious and an easy substitute. The almonds have a nice flavor but oddly the sauce seemed dense more than anything to me. I would probably add a little smoked paprika to enhance the red peppers and something is needed to lighted the sauce.

Scott F.

I found adding a little red wine vinegar lightened up this dish nicely

Sally B.

I added some fresh Lemon Juice, Very good recipe.


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