Serious Eats: Recipes

Cooking from the Glossies: Angel Hair Pasta with Red Pepper Pesto and Basil

Pesto is one of those near perfect foods: easy to prepare, bursting with verdant flavors, and an excellent choice for make ahead meals since it lasts forever in the freezer. Just about every home cook has a tried-and-true version of the versatile Italian pasta sauce (or sandwich spread, or vegetable dip, or bruschetta topping...). For years, I've been making the classic basil pesto from Simple Italian Sandwiches by New York restaurateurs Jason and Jennifer Denton. Their secret ingredients? Walnuts and butter.

The great thing about pesto, though, is that basil is only the beginning. There are a multitude of varieties out there, from black olive to sun-dried tomato to parsley. The August issue of Food & Wine featured a recipe for roasted red pepper pesto, which I decided to make for this week's Cooking from the Glossies review.

The process of preparing this pesto became an experiment in flavor adjustment. After I whirred it all together in my food processor, I dipped spoon in and decided it needed...something. But what? More basil. Extra pepper. Another shot of olive oil. Ultimately, I think it could have used another handful of pine nuts, but I didn't have any left.

The end results were pretty good: a nice, light dish of pesto over whole wheat angel hair with a shower of grated pecorino, though somewhat lacking in the flavor-punch department. If I make this again (with the extra pine nuts), it would make a good hors d'oeuvre with fresh slices of baguette and soft goat cheese.

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