Hye Thyme Cafe: Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto : Hye Thyme Cafe

Red bell peppers are one of my favorite things for dipping and stuffing, but I don't typically think to use them in a sauce/dip. As with a traditional green pesto, you can use this version on bruschetta, pizza, pasta, salads, chicken, etc.


INGREDIENTS :
2 large red bell peppers
1/2 c almonds
1/2 c grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t crushed red peppers flakes
1/2 c basil leaves
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
2 T olive oil


Slice the peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and pith. Place on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast at 450° for about 20" until the peppers start to blister and break down. Turn on the broiler for a minute or two at the end, and they will char nicely, lending the peppers a slightly smokey flavor. The heat from the broiler will cause the peppers balloon, starting to separate the skin from the flesh. When you take them out of the oven, transfer the peppers to a covered dish to give the steam a chance to finish separating the skins. When they are cool to the touch, you should be able to pinch the skins and have them slide right off.


Cut peppers in half, remove pith and seeds and place cut-side down on tray
Broil 2" to char skins

Transfer to covered dish to steam
Pinch to slide skins off


In the bowl of your food processor, pulse the almonds until they form a fine crumb.  

Blend in the Parmesan, garlic, crushed red pepper, basil, salt, and pepper, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  

I tend to go light on the olive oil when making pesto because I'm never using a whole batch at one time, and I like a different texture for different uses. Maybe I'm using some on pizza right now, so I want it on the thick side, but next week I'll be using it in a salad dressing or marinade, so I'll want to increase the oil. You have more control this way. Use what you want, then freeze the remainder. You could use an ice-cube tray for this, but since I'm usually pulling out more than one at a time, I prefer to use cupcake tins. I'll fill them about half way, freeze them, then transfer the blocks to a zip-top bag.


Roasted Red Pepper Pesto : Hye Thyme Cafe


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