Hi there, Here’s a recipe that I adapted from Pasta Presto by Norman Kolpas many, many years ago. It is a) delicious b) easy and c) cheap. It’s also great for casual entertaining. Make the pesto ahead. Start your dinner with a nice selection of antipasti or an arugula salad and finish with something fluffy and lemony. Serve a full bodied red wine for extra joy. Beth and I had this for dinner the other night without the antipasti or salad and it was just fine. I made a chunky version without the cheese as you can see from the photos. WARNING:if you want do the chunky version, chop or purée the garlic very fine. I didn’t and the local vampires were not pleased. Don’t worry if you’re a little short of this or that. It will be good anyway.
3 medium roasted red bell peppers, with stems, peels and seeds removed. Canned peppers are fine if you’re in a hurry.
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped. This is a matter of personal taste and proximity of vampires. Garlic cloves vary a lot in size. Don’t be timid!
4-5 tablespoons of best possible olive oil. Be ready to add a bit more to get the texture you like.The original recipe calls for over a cup. I just can’t bring myself to do that but suit yourself.
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata or other black olives
1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. I use the Pecorino now because Mr. W can’t deal with cow’s milk cheeses any more. If you have vegan friends leave this out all together and pass cheese (or not) for those who want some.
1/2 cup packed fresh flat parsley leaves. You could also use basil but you’ll be surprised how good the parsley is.
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)
hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste. Do taste-some olives are way saltier than others.
Put everything you’re using in a food processor with a metal blade and pulse until it’s coarsely chopped. If you like it chunky stop now. Otherwise, scrape the ingredients down from the sides and process until the sauce is really smooth. If it seems too thick you can add a little more oil or a little hot water. The water you’re cooking your pasta in is best, so if you make the pesto ahead of time wait until you’re ready to drain your pasta to add the water, one tablespoon at a time. I love this with linguini but spaghetti or ribbons are good too. Serve with extra cheese (and hot sauce if I’m coming for dinner!).