One of the fundamental rules of cooking is to never cook anything for guests that you have not made at least once before. This is a direct corollary to Murphy's law, the gist of which is that "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong".
I, however, being the gun-toting, motorcycle-riding, leather-wearing law-breaker that I am, have a mantra that goes something along the lines of "Bring. It. On."
So when I asked Justin over for dinner last weekend, I didn't make pulled pork, spaghetti carbonara, or one of the other 138 recipes that I have posted on the blog over the past 10 months. There was no time for that. I had three red bell peppers in the fridge. And I knew how to use them.
Now if you think that I essentially played it safe by making a pesto sauce, I have to say that I beg to differ. Pesto can be quite a controversial sauce. People can have strong reactions to it due to the abundance of raw garlic and basil. I understand. Some of us just have more well-refined palates than others. Not that I'm judging.
Anyway, Murphy's Law notwithstanding, the meal went off without a hitch. I had a lot of fun roasting the bell peppers over the burner campfire-style. The pesto sauce came together really nicely, with the sweetness of the peppers subduing the intensity of the basil.
And Justin said he really liked it. Which was what I was going for all along.
Linguine with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Serves 4, adapted from Food and Wine
3 medium red bell peppers
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup basil
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan, plus more for serving
1 lb broccoli
salt and pepper to taste
1. Roast the peppers over a gas flame or under a broiler. Having done the broiler method before, I decided to try using the gas flame. Call me a pyromaniac, but this way was infinitely more fun. Place the roasted red peppers in a closed container for 10 minutes, peel off the skin, de-seed, de-stem, and cut into slices.
2. Transfer the peppers and pine nuts to a food processor and blend. Add the garlic and basil. Blend some more. Add the olive oil and cheese. Blend, once more with feeling. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Preheat the oven to 400. Chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces, spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 10 minutes.
4. Set up the water for the pasta and cook according to package instructions,
5. Mix everything together and serve with parmesan cheese.
I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Abby of Eat The Right Stuff.
Speaking of hosting, the deadline for Regional Recipes: Scandinavia is coming up (October 20th!) so remember to send me your entries at firstname.lastname@example.org before then!