Meatless Monday Linguini with Roasted Red Pepper Pecan Pesto

I guess it’s all my fault, really.  I mean, I’m the one who put a little too much garlic in the basil pesto one day, and it subsequently fell into ill favor with the husband.  Knowing how much I love basil pesto, this dear man would never tell me not to make basil pesto again, but really, it’s not much fun to make something that will not be enjoyed by others.  So, because it’s Meatless Monday and I’m in a celebratory mood, I decided to make this pesto version because I know how much he loves roasted red peppers. Me too.

Well, now.  My spirits are totally lifted, because I know that in the absence of my beloved basil pesto I will not suffer.  Nope, no suffering here.  In fact, I’m very close to declaring a new pesto love.  We’re talkin’ here about pecans, breadcrumbs, a roasted red pepper, garlic (only a little, I promise), lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin and olive oil which come together to create something that delivers way more than the sum of its parts.  And the sum of those parts is very, very good, by the way.

As with most pesto sauces, this is a cinch to throw together.  Just roast up a red pepper (or you could use one from a jar)...

throw it into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients.  Done.  Now you could just spoon this, as is, onto some warm crostini, or do like I did and mix it with some lovely cooked linguini.  I sprinkled it with some fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese, and I will say it again, I don’t think I’m going to miss my basil pesto (too much).

Linguini with Roasted Red Pepper Pecan Pesto

Printable Recipe

Although I've left the cumin from the original recipe in here, I don't use it.  I think it gives the pesto a kinda muddy flavor that's not really great.  But I thought I'd give you that option.  This pesto is really great on crostini with goat cheese too!

1 roasted red pepper

½ cup dry bread crumbs

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 T lemon juice

1 tsp ground cumin (optional)

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

½ cup pecan halves

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 lb linguini

Grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley for serving

Roast the red pepper and place in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap.  Let the pepper steam for10 or 15 minutes and then remove the seeds and blackened skin, but do not rinse under water.  Cut into large pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor.

Add the remaining sauce ingredients except the olive oil to the food processor.  Begin blending and add the olive oil until it becomes a smooth paste.  Cook the linguini according to the package directions in lots of salted water.  Reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.  Spoon the pesto into a large saute pan that has been heated over medium-low heat.  Add the drained pasta to the sauce and heat through, adding as much of the reserved pasta water as needed to make a nice sauce (I used almost the whole cup for a lb of linguini).

To serve, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.