I mentioned recently how I get on a roll with certain ingredients in the kitchen.  As far as baking and sweet things are concerned, I have been all about cranberries lately, but where cooking and savory dishes are concerned, roasted red pepper is my new favorite thing.  I have been making lots of recipes that use it and add it to everything else I can think of.  I first tried this recipe a few weeks ago and while we really enjoyed it, I felt that the red pepper was barely even noticeable underneath the basil flavor and it just wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.  Yesterday I decided to give it another try with some modifications to achieve the results I was expecting the first time, and I was much happier with the end result this time.  The red pepper was definitely the key flavor and the basil was a nice accompaniment.  I think this would be especially great with some grilled chicken mixed in as well – maybe I will try that next time!

Recipe Rewind: tried and true favorites I’ve made recently
roasted tomato soup – the perfect match for a grilled cheese sandwich


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup roasted red bell pepper (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, optional


  • 01

    Place garlic and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add Parmesan, red pepper, basil leaves, salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined. With the motor running, add olive oil through the feed tube and process until incorporated. Set aside.

  • 02

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the pesto to the pasta and stir to combine. Stir in heavy cream if desired for a creamier sauce. Heat until warmed through. Serve immediately.