This is a use-what-we-have to make dinner creation that is both simple and very tasty. We had a great deal of basil on hand and some jarred roasted peppers that allowed us to combine some ideas from our basil pesto recipe with the red pesto pasta recipe – both of which we love. This can be made with almost any type of pasta, but we used linguine because, well, that’s what we had on-hand. It is easy enough to make this recipe vegan by substituting the parmesan with nutritional yeast.
For this you’ll need: 1/2 lb pasta (linguine, spaghetti, etc), 2 cups fresh basil (leaves only, removed from stems), 1/2 cup raw or roasted/unsalted cashews, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 2 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed with the broad side of a knife), 1/4 cup + 1-2 Tbs olive oil, 2 Tbs lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 2-3 roasted red peppers (from a jar, preferably in oil) and 1 cup cherry tomatoes.
Start a pot of water on the stovetop to boil for the pasta. Cook per the package instructions to al dente, probably about 8-10 mins.
Place the basil, cashews, parmesan, garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, salt and the roasted red peppers into a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine well into a roughly pureed spread. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to ensure everything is combined well. It should have the consistency of a chunky hummus, for lack of a better comparison. Add more oil to make it smoother and more cashews to make it chunkier – in small amounts.
Drain the pasta reserving some of the water and place the drained pasta into a large serving bowl. Add the pesto, the raw cherry tomatoes and the additional 1-2 Tbs olive oil while the pasta is still warm and toss well. If it feels a bit stiff, use some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up to your satisfaction.
Serve immediately while still warm.