Friday, April 5, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper & Pesto Penne

This is a new one - I'm blogging from the car! KK and I are on our way to Vermont for the weekend. We found out on Thursday morning that we won the "lotto" at KK's work, and get a free weekend at a house in Vermont. We also won last spring, so we know what to expect - a gorgeous house set on several acres of land, with hiking trails and a skeet shooting range on property.  During our last trip, we visited Harpoon Brewery where we bought the Brewmaster beers we enjoyed with this amazing pesto pizza. We're hoping to check out some of the other local breweries this weekend.  I don't think we'll get any skiing in, but I do see hiking and a trip to the Vermont Country Store on our list of things to do!

Before we left for the weekend, KK insisted we finish the open jar of pesto and very ripe red peppers in the fridge. I adapted Kuntal's recipe to use store bought pesto instead of making it from scratch. To add a homemade touch to dinner, we roasted our own red peppers! When roasting peppers, I find it best to use the broiler on high heat. Char the peppers until they're nice and black - this makes the skins come off much easier.  Here are some other helpful red pepper roasting tips.

One final note: we should've considered halving the pasta quantity because now, although the pesto and peppers are finished, we have a ton of leftovers!! This recipe easily feeds 4-6 people. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper & Pesto Penne
Adapted from Kuntal's Kitchen
Serves: 4-6
Time: 40 minutes 

2 red peppers
1 lb. penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup jarred pesto
1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper
Grated Parmesan, for garnish

1. Cut red peppers in half from top to bottom, and remove ribs and seeds.  Preheat your broiler and roast peppers for 5-7 minutes.  Place peppers in a Ziploc bag and let sweat for 15 minutes.  Peel off skins and chop peppers into small pieces.

2. While peppers are sweating, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to the pot.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

4. Using a food processor or handheld immersion blender, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, pesto, roasted peppers, crushed red pepper, and heavy cream until smooth.

5.  Add chicken and sauce to the pot of pasta.  Stir to combine, season with salt and pepper.  If necessary, heat on low until warmed through.  Garnish with grated Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

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