How to make it

  • If you are making the basil pesto, which is what I prefer to do, then here are the steps. I toast the pine nuts in a non-stick skillet. You can also toast them in an oven on a cookie sheet @ 400 degrees F for approximately 5-10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them, stirring them occasionally so that they don’t burn. If you toast them in a non-stick skillet as I do, be sure to toss them often so that they do not burn. Once you can smell them and the color turns a nice golden brown, they are ready to remove from the skillet or oven. I take them out of the skillet and let them cool in a bowl prior to adding to the pesto ingredients.)
  • Next, the pesto can be done in either a small food processor or a blender, depending on how much pesto you are making. Pulse the garlic, basil and pine nuts, salt and pepper, the juice of the lemon, and about a couple of tblsps of the grated parmesan, then gradually drizzle in enough of the extra virgin olive oil until the pesto is a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl, mix in the remaining grated parmesan cheese, cover then refrigerate. You can make this pesto up to 2 days in advance of making the rest of the pasta dish.
  • Next, cook the Conchiglie pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, but reserve about 3/4 cup of the pasta water. Put the pesto in the bottom of a large bowl that you will be mixing the pasta, and other ingredients. Mix the hot pasta and pesto until thoroughly incorporated. This is where I add the pasta water to make sure the pasta and pesto are thoroughly incorporated. Next add the sliced cherry tomatoes and the chopped roasted red peppers with the juice and mix carefully making sure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Grate more parmesan cheese over the top, if you like. You can serve this now, at room temp or refrigerate if you are not serving it for more than 2 hours. I hope you enjoy it!

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