Penne with Creamy Pesto with Roasted Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes

April 19, 2010

The basil in my container garden is growing to the size of small bushes so it was definitely time to bring some into the kitchen.  What better way to use it than fresh pesto?  I also had a bag of red peppers and a basket of tomatoes from our recent stop at my favorite produce stand.  It wasn’t hard to put them all together in one dish bursting with flavor.

I based the creamy part on my Fettucine Carbonara, leaving out the pancetta and onion.  The rest was pure improv, taking a vague idea in my head and then really just making it up as I went along.  Pine nuts or walnuts would’ve made the pesto perfect but I didn’t have them and didn’t want to go back out to the store.  Next time…

  • Penne, 1 1/2 pounds tonight
  • Red Peppers, 2
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, 1 basketful
  • Fresh Basil Leaves, 2 cups packed
  • Garlic, 4 or 5 cloves
  • Parmesan, about 5 ounces total, some cut into chunks and about 1/2 cup grated.
  • Olive Oil, about 1/4 cup
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Heavy Cream, 1 1/2 cups
  • Eggs, 4
  • Butter, 3 to 4 tablespoons

Halve the peppers and pull out the guts.  Rinse the tomatoes.  Spread them on a baking dish and put them a few inches beneath the broiler.Meanwhile, put on a big pot of water for the pasta.  Peel the garlic cloves and drop them into the food processor.Cut the Parmesan into chunks and throw it in with the garlic.Process until the cheese is pretty finely grated.Add the basil and a bit of crushed red pepper.Turn on the processor and gradually add the oil, processing until it’s smooth.Set the pesto aside but feel free to dip a piece of bread into it while you’re waiting on the water to boil.In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine the eggs and cream and grate the cheese into the mix.Whisk it together until the eggs are well-blended.By now the tomatoes and peppers should be done.  Set them aside until the peppers are cool enough to handle. Remove the blackened skin and chop up the peppers.  If your water is boiling, go ahead and put the pasta in.While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saute pan.When the pasta is done, add it to the pan with the butter and stir over medium-low heat.  Pour in the egg and cream mixture and continue stirring.Add the pesto and continue cooking and stirring for another minute or two.Add the peppers and tomatoes.Serve it up.If you like, add extra Parmesan or Asiago at the table.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Memoria April 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm

OH MY GOODNESS!! I have GOT to make this dish this weekend!! I’m so glad you made your pesto without pine nuts. Now I know I can make this. Lovely photos as usual.

I’m growing basil right now, so I’ll be needing your guidance soon haha.

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2 Thunja April 22, 2010 at 3:21 am

now this looks good!!!! I just love your photos.

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3 Christina April 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm

This looks amazing! I want some right now!

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4 Bruce May 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm

This looks amazing! I want some right now!

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5 Niraj October 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Wow. That looks amazing. I’m going to make it right now. But i”m gonna put pine nuts because God knows I love nuts

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6 Karen Bove October 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Pine nuts would be great! If I’d had any on hand I probably would’ve thrown them in but most of my cooking is based on what I happen to have around.

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