Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne

MG and I made dinner together Tuesday night from a recipe I found on Pinterest (are you surprised?) It seems relatively healthy (minus some heavy cream...oops) -- I've been on a semi health kick over the past week, (although you wouldnt have been able to tell from the crap I consumed this weekend), and MG is usually pretty health-conscious as well (except when he's indulging in eating crap on the weekends with me hehe). So, this recipe seems to fit the bill...and if it has a tiny amount of stuff that isn't so great for you, or two little things aren't going to kill ya!

We made Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Pesto Penne which looks like this if you make your picture look professional:
And looks like this when you follow the directions and don't make it look professional:

Ours kind of had less of a red color to the sauce and more of a curry color. BUT, it was still reeeeally good!

It makes about 4 servings.

The ingredients are:

  • 4 cloves garlic (I almost always use the minced kind that comes in a jar, usually 1 heaping tsp  per garlic clove in a recipe)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (we bought a 1/2 cup bag and it worked out perfectly for the recipe and garnish of everything)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan (we got the shredded kind in a bag cuz it's cheaper and we are lazy)
  • 1 cup of jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (these were hard to come by at the store so we did about a 1/4 cup of fresh and added in a couple of tsp of dried basil...I might add about 3 if I were to do it again)
  • salt and pepper (we totally forgot this step and couldnt tell the difference)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound penne pasta (get wheat kind for healthier)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • roasted rotisserie chicken, optional (MG and I used pre-made packaged chicken, already cut into strips....cuz neither of us felt like dealing with taking apart a rotisserie chicken)

  • I would suggest cooking the pasta (according to box directions) first, then doing the rest of these steps while it's cooking timed out perfectly for us. Drain the pasta when it's done cooking.

    Heat up the garlic with some olive oil for a minute or two til it's simmering a little, then add in the pine nuts for another minute or two.

    Throw that whole mixture into a food processor and pulse it until it's fine (we used MG's Magic Bullet and it worked out great)

    Add in the parmesan cheese, pulse.

    Add red pepper, basil leaves, salt and pepper and pulse until it turns into a paste/sauce. Set it aside if you haven't cooked your pasta. If you have, add the mix to the drained pasta. Stir it up.

    Add in that heavy cream (and don't think about it). Stir. Heat it until it's warmed through.

    Then stir in your chicken. Serve and top with a bit of extra pine nuts, basil and/or parmesan. Mine  definitely had extra parmesan on it. I think MG would fall over dead out of shock if I didnt add extra parmesan to mine. #cheesefiend

    Last step: eat!

    MG and I both REALLY liked this recipe.  And, the best part is, the whole thing is pretty low in sodium (hard to come by in most recipes) and, like I said, overall pretty healthy. I could see adding some veggies or just having them on the side to make it a totally health-ful meal.

    We enjoyed this for leftovers yesterday for lunch as well!

    Happy cooking!


    1. This looks SOOO yummy! I love anything with the words "roasted red pepper" in it. I have to try this. Good to know its low in sodium too!


      yay pasta!



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