I could eat this pesto by the bucket load, I promise you. Don’t dare me, cause I’ll do it. It wouldn’t even be a challenge. Pesto is like, in my opinion, the thing you should have in the fridge. It’s so freaking versatile. Pasta, toasties, as a marinade/ sauce, straight out the jar. Who cares, I’m not judging – this is the ultimate Red Pepper Pesto.
I think pesto’s versatility is often overlooked you know. Yes, of course, it’s absolutely perfect to smother pasta in when you’re looking for an easy dinner. But pesto is FAB for adding a kick of flavour almost anywhere, slap it on a pizza or marinate chunks of chicken in this Red Pepper Pesto for BBQ skewers. I can’t remember the last time I had a grilled cheese without a massive dollop of pesto. I’ve even been known, ON OCCASION, to scoop it out the jar with a chunk of bread. Step up your pesto game!
What is Pesto?
Ok, Pesto originates from Italy, Red Pesto from Sicily in the South, and Green Pesto from Genoa in the North. Both have unique components, Green Pesto tends to be made with basil, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan. Whereas, Red Pesto has a Sundried Tomato and Almond base, traditionally. The process for both is the same, ingredients are blended together to create a thick paste.
For this recipe I’ve sort of combined the ingredients from both Green + Red Pesto to create the ULTIMATE Red Pepper Pesto.
What ingredients do I need for Red Pepper Pesto?
Listen, I’m all about bastardising recipes, that’s how innovation happens in the kitchen. If we all just stuck to recipes, no more recipes would be created.
For this recipe, we’re using Red Pepper, Garlic and a Chilli for a KICK of spice. Instead of just Pine Nuts, we’re adding Walnuts and Sunflower seeds too. Then, we’re going in with Olive Oil, Anchovies, Basil, Pecorino, White Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Oh, there’s a drop of Apple Cider Vinegar in there too – which really brings it together. I guess this is a Green + Red Pesto hybrid, maybe that’s why it came out a bit orange?
How to Red Pesto?
It’s easy; roast up the peppers, garlic and chilli. Lightly toast the seeds and nuts. Add everything to the food processor and blitz it all up into a fairly smooth, thick paste. Bellissimo.
How long will it keep?
This really is a great make-ahead sauce (which seems to be a recurring theme on my blog at the moment – check out my make-ahead curry paste). This Pesto will keep in the fridge for up to a week, although I highly doubt you have the willpower to let it last THAT long.
Ultimate Red Pepper Pesto
- 2 Red Peppers
- 1 Bulb of Garlic
- 1 Red Chilli
- 20 g Sunflower Seeds
- 25 g Pine Nuts
- 30 g Walnuts
- 75 g Sundried Tomatoes
- 5 Anchovies
- 10 Basil Leaves
- 25 g Pecorino
- 60 ml Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon White Pepper
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 celcius
- Toss the peppers in olive oil, and add to a roasting tin, sprinkle with sea salt and roast for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, add a bulb of garlic (sliced width ways) and red chilli to the roasting tin and roast for another 20 minutes.
- Toast sunflower seeds, pinenuts and walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant and golden.
- Remove the peppers, garlic and chilli from the oven, and allow to cool slightly.
- Remove the seeds from the peppers, and add to a food processor. Remove the stalk from the chillis and add to the food processor.
- Carefully pop each garlic clove out of its skin and add to the food processor. Don’t worry if the garlic looks slightly black, this is going to be delicious.
- Add the nuts, and all remaining ingredients to the food processor and blitz until you have fairly smooth, thick paste.
- If you’re not using the pesto straight away transfer to a clean jar and refrigerate until needed.