So. Considering my current torrid affair with goat cheese, you can bet that it influenced my decision to make this dish. It's called a "pesto". Yup, quotations and all (which I imagine are in place since it's not a traditional, leafy green herb-packed pesto). But that said, I've adored pretty much any variety of "pesto" I've tried. A favorite of mine is actually another red version that uses sundried tomatoes. So. Red pesto. Involving goat cheese (if you choose...it's actually a variation). Also involving earthy, beautifully roasted and charred red peppers and fat, oily walnuts. But no worries...you can still find a bit of green in here with the bright, summery addition of basil. It is optional, because afterall...it's not summer everywhere and not everybody has access to greenhouse-grown herbs. But if you can find it, try it- it adds another great dimension to the layers of flavor.
I wound up using the extra as a dipping sauce for crudites the following day...and slathered it in the center of an omelet the next.
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto
Coarsely ground walnuts add a nice crunch and some richness while balancing the sweetness of the roasted red bell peppers, making a purée you can use in dozens of ways, just as you would any herb pesto.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes (if roasting peppers yourself)
Keywords: roast condiment entree sauce vegetarian nuts herbs vegetables cheese
Ingredients (serves 4-8)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup walnuts
- 8 roasted red bell peppers
- 1 cup fresh basil, optional
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
Pulse the garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the walnuts and pulse a few more times to break up any large pieces.
Add the roasted red peppers and basil and process, streaming in the oil as you go, until all the ingredients are well combined and as coarse or as smooth as you want them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately with crudités, crostini, or vegetable chips, or spread on sandwiches or toss with pasta.
Store in a covered airtight container in the fridge for a day or so, or freeze.Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto:
Add 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta or grated Parmesan when you add the the roasted red peppers.
Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Dip:
Substitute 2 cups cooked (or canned) and drained cannellini beans for half the roasted red peppers and proceed with the recipe.
-slightly adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman