Red pepper pesto recipe


This flame-lickin’ red pepper pesto recipe is like my lovely wife Laura - a little Italian marvel!

red bell pepper pesto recipe

Unlike pesto made with tomatoes, this rich red pasta covering has a nice little bite. Combine this with its lumpy n’ bumpy texture, thanks to some crushed walnuts in there, and you've a great little sauce that will liven up any pasta you like.

My advice? Because this recipe’s red bell peppers take a little while to grill (we burn the skins so they're easy to remove), I suggest you make as large a batch as possible.

This way you can freeze your extra portions so you’ll have enough pesto for loads of meals. Just buy as many peppers as you can fit under your grill and go from there…

And for speed… if you have a naked flame nearby… maybe a weekend BBQ or an old-school gas hob, then burn the pepper skins over that instead; it's quicker than grilling and it does exactly the same job. (Just be prepared to clean up some pepper juice!)

Serves 4 (multiply ingredients as necessary)


pasta recipe book pasta cookbook4 red peppers

2 teaspoons of pine nuts/seeds

½ teaspoon of salt

8 walnuts (buy them without shells)

2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (grated)

1 clove of garlic

Extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper


Cheese grater

Handheld food processor/blender or pestle & mortar.

Garlic crusher (ideal)

STEP 1 - Grill the whole peppers under a high-heat grill, turning every 5 mins, until their skins are well blackened. This cooks the inside while making the skins easier to remove (step 3)

- Depending on the strength of your grill/fire, this process can take maybe 20-25 mins.

red pepper pesto recipe

Fiery tip: This blackening is the part you can do over a naked flame or BBQ if you have one.

STEP 2 - While your peppers sizzle away, let’s prep the garlic:

- Peel the clove and chop in half long-ways.

- Remove each half’s central spin section (this is hard to digest).

- Crush the rest with a garlic crusher, keeping the part that comes through the holes. No crusher? Chop as finely as you can.

- Place crushed garlic in your food processor/mortar.

STEP 3 - When your peppers are pretty black, place in a large bowl and cover for 5 mins.

- The peppers will cool a little, and the humidity will separate the skins a little more.

STEP 4 - Now remove the first pepper (placing lid back), and pop on your chopping board.

- Chop out the stalk.

- Cut the pepper in half long-ways, stab with knife, and lift to drain the hot juice from inside.

- Scrape out the seeds.

pesto recipe

- Turn back over and use fingers to peel away all the skin.

- Throw the remaining flesh into food processor/mortar.

STEP 5 - Add the following into your blender or mortar:

- Pine nuts, walnuts (broken into pieces), large pinch of pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt, olive oil.

- Whiz/mix for 30 secs, until forms a rough paste.

- Finally, stir in the grated parmesan with a spoon (avoiding whizzing this, to keep its roughness).

That’s red pesto!

To serve: Cook up 500g/18oz of pasta per person in boiling well-salted water, then drain. Mix through with pesto. Garnish each bowl with any whole remaining almonds.

Enjoyed this red pepper pesto recipe?

Then why not try…

• This selection of Italian pesto recipes.

• This red pepper spaghetti dish.

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