A wonderfully delicious Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta recipe where your favourite pasta of choice is tossed with a rich and creamy red pepper sauce and wilted greens. This pasta is the perfect veggie-packed weeknight meal or can be made to impress at any social gathering.
For the Roasted Peppers:
- 3 medium-large bell peppers (red, yellow or orange work; you want to have about 1 1/2 cups of roasted peppers)
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
For the Roasted Pepper Pesto:
- 1 1/2 cups roasted bells peppers (from above)
- 1 cup (packed) fresh basil
- 1/2 cup (packed) fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or 2–3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, if vegan)
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced or grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- A pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Greens
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4–5 cups (packed) greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc – I like spinach the best!)
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
For the pasta:
- 3/4 lb (or most of a package) of your favourite pasta (my is gluten free, 4 grain blend linguine)
- 1/4–1/2 cup starchy cooking liquid
- For serving: parmesan cheese, torn basil
For the Roasted Peppers:*
- Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Cut each peppers into 4 or 5 pieces to remove the seeds and stem.
- Brush or rub the cut sides of the pepper pieces with a little oil to prevent sticking then place them cut sides down on the baking sheet.
- Roast for about 20 minutes until the edges are dark and ‘charred’ and the skins are starting to wrinkle. Flip the peppers and continue cooking for about 10 minutes more.
- Optional Step to Remove the Skins: Remove from oven and immediately transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This allows the peppers to steam and helps to remove the skins. After about 20-30 minutes, carefully peel the skins away.
- Set peppers aside.
For the Pesto Sauce:
- Add the roasted peppers, basil, parsley, cheese (or nutritional yeast) garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth, pausing to scrap the sides of the bowl often. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and continue to blend until a smooth and even consistency is reached. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. This yields about 1 1/2 cups of pesto sauce.*
For the pasta:
- Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta noodles according the package directions.
- Reserve 1/4-1/2 cup of the starchy cooking liquid before draining.
For the Greens
- While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently until wilted.
- Turn the heat to low and the pesto sauce. Stir to incorporate and let pesto heat slowly.
Putting it all together:
- When the pasta is ready, stir in 1/4-1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid into the greens and pesto sauce until desired consistency is reached (you don’t want the sauce too thin).
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan and toss until each noodle is coated in the sauce.
- Serve immediately with the extra cheese and basil on top, if needed.
*Roasted the peppers and preparing the pesto sauce can be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.