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Spaghetti with Red Pepper Pesto

Serves 4

Surprise your guests with a red spaghetti sauce made with a spicy red pepper pesto with herbs and pine nuts. Garnish with a trio of three green herbs and cheese.


  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 3 Fresno chili peppers or other medium-heat red chili peppers, seeded
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts or sliced almonds, toasted
  • A small handful of basil leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano leaves, 1 tablespoon or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 1/3 cup grated Pecorino cheese, plus some to pass at table
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Additional torn basil, chopped mint and parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Roast the peppers over a flame on the stovetop or under the broiler to blacken the skins all over. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool. Peel the skins and seed the peppers.
  3. Place the roasted red peppers and chili peppers in a food processor and add the nuts, basil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the cheese, turn the processor on and stream in the EVOO to form a thick sauce.
  4. Salt the pasta water and cook the spaghetti to al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water; drain the pasta and return to the pot. Toss the pasta with the pesto and half of the starchy cooking water. Toss the pasta with the sauce for a minute or two to combine thoroughly, adding a little more starchy cooking water if necessary. Serve with more cheese and some torn basil leaves or finely chopped mint and parsley, if desired.