Walnut & red pepper pesto pasta

This is a recipe for when you’re in a lazy mood.

Believe me, I’m not one to judge. I know the feeling. You get in from work, you can’t be bothered to cook, so you reach for the dried pasta and a jar of pesto. It’s tasty, it’s quick and it’s done in 15 minutes. Job done.

Here is a much tastier alternative that is cooked in virtually the same time and I promise, requires very little effort.

Recipe from BBC Good Food, as usual.

  • 400g strozzapreti or casarecce pasta, or another short pasta shape (I used gluten free spaghetti, which was fine!)
  • 100g walnuts
  • 3 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 25g Parmesan, or a vegetarian alternative, plus extra to serve
  • 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • large pack basil, plus a few leaves to serve
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g mascarpone
  1. Cook the pasta following pack instructions. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry pan for a few mins. Add half the walnuts to the small bowl of a food processor or a hand chopper, along with the red peppers, Parmesan, garlic, basil, oil and some seasoning. Whizz to a paste, adding a splash of water from the pasta if it is a little dry.
  2. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan and set over a low heat. Add the pesto, mascarpone and 3-4 tbsp of the reserved pasta water, then stir until the mascarpone has melted, adding a splash more pasta water if the sauce needs thinning. To serve, crush the remaining walnuts in your hand and scatter over the pasta with a few more basil leaves and some extra Parmesan.