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Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad Recipe

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Walnuts

Adapted from here.
Servings 8 servings
Author Brandon Matzek

Ingredients

  • 4 whole roasted red bell peppers, homemade or jarred (see note above on how to make at home)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped and divided
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound trottole pasta or medium shells, fusilli, rotini, cavatappi
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs*
  • 1 pound ripe red heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn if large

Instructions

  1. Add roasted peppers, 1/4 of the walnuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, lemon juice and a couple of pinches of salt to a food processor, and blitz until smooth. With the motor running, slowly stream in 1/2 cup olive oil. Season sauce to taste with additional salt - it should be very well seasoned. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente according to the package instructions (timing will vary based on the type of pasta you use - about 12 minutes for trottole). Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss hot pasta with 1/2 of the romesco sauce and set aside.
  3. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally until golden (5 to 7 minutes).
  4. Once the breadcrumbs are ready, toss the pasta with the remaining sauce, then fold in tomatoes, Parmesan and remaining walnuts. Season to taste with salt. Finish by topping with breadcrumbs and basil. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

*Did you know you can easily make breadcrumbs at home? Start by removing the crusts from a nice loaf of white bread (French, Italian, ciabatta, baguette, rustic for example). Cube up the bread, then add to a food processor. Pulse the bread until coarse crumbs form. And that's it! This is a great way to use up bread that's gone stale. In this recipe, you can simply wipe out the food processor and use it to make the sauce.