Red pepper pesto pasta

Bored of ordinary, canned tomato-based pasta sauce? Try our cheat’s red pepper pesto sauce instead.

Less than 1 hour

Serves 4-5

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Pesto sauce:
  • 5 red bell or Palermo peppers
  • Glug olive oil
  • 1 packet (100g) cashew nuts
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 packet (20g) fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Thai red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
  • ½ tsp (7ml) paprika
  • Salt and milled pepper
  • 400g-500g PnP conchiglie pasta shells
  • 1-2 cups (125-250g) grated mozzarella
  • Handful pitted olives
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat oven grill.
  2. Place peppers on a tray, drizzle with oil and roast for 20-30 minutes or until blackened all around, turning regularly.
  3. Place in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and set aside to sweat for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove skins, slice flesh and discard seeds.
  5. Blitz flesh with remaining pesto ingredients until smooth.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to packet instructions.
  7. Toss pasta with pesto, and spoon into an ovenproof dish. 
  8. Scatter with cheese and olives.
  9. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes or until cheese melts.
  10. Serve hot from the oven and garnish with parsley.


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