Walnuts provide a hearty, nutty texture which is counterbalanced by some bright, acidic lemon.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Bell Peppers: red, orange, and/or yellow
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/4C olive oil, plus more for sautéing
  • 1 box of your favorite pasta
  • 1/2C walnuts
  • 1/4C Parmesan cheese
  • Herbs, if you have them

Steps:

1. Preheat broiler. Heat a pot of heavily salted water on the stove.

2. Make the pesto: Place peppers and 4 skin-on garlic cloves on a baking sheet lined with foil and cook under the broiler, rotating peppers every few minutes until they're mostly black. Peppers and garlic cloves may blacken at different rates. Remove each piece from the oven as it finishes blackening. Meanwhile, place walnuts in a small pan over medium heat and toast them, stirring often, until just starting to brown. Remove from heat. Finely chop walnuts and place them in a bowl. Peel and finely chop peppers and garlic, and place them in the bowl with the walnuts. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, and large pinches of salt and pepper. Set pesto aside.

3. Finely dice 1 small yellow onion, and slice 2 garlic cloves. Drop 1lb of pasta into the boiling water that you prepared earlier. Heat about 2TB olive oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan, and sauté onions and garlic until translucent and starting to brown around the edges, then season with a pinch of salt and crushed red pepper. Add your pesto to the pan and saute for ~3 more minutes. At this point, your pasta should be just undercooked, which is when you should use a spider or large slotted spoon to transfer the pasta from the water to the pesto. Save the pasta water!!

4. Add 1/4c of pasta water to the pasta at a time, adding more each time the previous 1/4c is absorbed until the pasta is cooked to your desired doneness. Stir in parmesan cheese and any fresh herbs you may have on hand. The nuttiness makes this vegetarian pasta dish quite hearty, so it pairs very nicely with a simple side salad dressed with oil and red wine vinegar or lemon.