Spaghetti al Pesto Calabrese

As the crisp nights of winter dawn upon us and with summer now a distant memory here in the UK, it’s hard not to cling on to those last rays of warm sunshine that early autumn dangles before us, soon to snatch it away from us for good. With the dormant inevitability laid out before us, it's perfectly normal to remove a layer of sanity and relive some of the summer's most charming activities - whether that be kicking back on the sun lounger, sipping on some fresh sauvignon or feasting over a table of Mediterranean cuisine - it's all perfectly feasible.

Spaghetti al pesto Calabrese is the perfect dish to give you a last summer kick back, it combines charred red peppers with two classic Italian cheeses, rich sun-dried tomatoes, creamy almonds and some fresh lemon juice to retain that summer sun. Serve with fresh or dried spaghetti and garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes and a few basil leaves to complete a wonderfully simple, rustic dish.

Ingredients - 

2 red peppers

1 tbsp of olive oil  

1 red onion (diced)

1 garlic clove 

150g of ricotta (roughly 3 large tablespoons)

2 tbsp of vegetarian parmesan 

Medium handful of almonds (unsalted) 

4 sundries tomatoes

1/2 lemon (juiced)

Salt & pepper to taste

1 bag of fresh or dried spaghetti 

Fresh cherry tomatoes (optional) 

Fresh basil (optional) 

Method - 

  1. On a gas hob, char both red peppers, rotating them as the skin begins to blacken. Once the peppers are charred, place in a bowl and cover with cling film whilst you make the pesto. 

  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic on a medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes or until softened.

  3. Once the peppers have cooled down - around 15-20 minutes - remove them from the bowl and gently remove the blackened skin with the edge of a knife and discard the stalks and seeds. 

  4. Place the peppers in a bowl or blender along with the ricotta, parmesan, almonds, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

  5. Blend or hand blend until you have a rough paste.

  6. Add a little more lemon juice or parmesan (if more salt is required) and put aside whilst you prepare your spaghetti. 

  7. Bring a pan of water to the boil with a little salt and olive oil. 

  8. Cook the spaghetti in accordance with the packet - this should take between 8 - 11 minutes. When cooked, drain the spaghetti and return it to the pan. 

  9. Fold in the pesto calabrese and serve with grated parmesan and fresh cherry tomatoes (optional) and sit back and kick it with a glass of red. 


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