I'm so excited to bring you a new recipe today! It's a pasta dish that's perfect for all that delicious end of summer produce. This pasta with red pepper pesto and corn is perfect for days when it's still too hot to be cooking over a stove. Roasted red peppers are blended with cashews, garlic and herbs and blended into a creamy pesto. It's perfect tossed into your favorite pasta. I top it all of with some fresh off the cob corn kernels. It's a healthy and easy dish everyone will go crazy for!
Red Pepper Pesto Ingredients
The ingredients for this pesto are simple and they all get added to a food processor. Once everything is prepped the pesto comes together in just one minute! Here's what you'll need to make the pesto:
- Roasted Red Peppers- You can use jarred roasted peppers for this recipe, although if you want to make your own roasted peppers that would be fine also. You can use either peppers packed in water or oil. Your choice.
- Unsalted Cashews- I soak the cashews in very warm water for about 30 minutes prior to blending. This will give you a nice creamy consistency.
- Basil- My favorite herb to use in pesto is basil. So fresh and fragrant this time of year!
- Garlic- I sauté the garlic in a touch of extra virgin olive oil before adding to food processor to reduce the pungency.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- The pesto is blended with the oil to create a rich and extremely flavorful sauce.
- Red Pepper flakes- add a mild kick that wakes up the dish.
Favorite Pasta for Pesto Dishes
The truth is you can use any shape pasta to go with your pesto. But, my favorite shape pasta for this dish is lumache (which means "snail" in Italian). I love it because they are unique and adorable but most importantly, the pesto coats both the inside and outside the of pasta. So, you get more pesto in every bite! If you can't find lumache, penne or mezza rigatoni would have the same effect. In my opinion, it's better to use pasta named "rigate" (which means ridges) versus pasta "lisce" (which means smooth). The pesto sauce will get caught up in the ridges and adhere to the pasta much better! You don't want that delicious sauce sliding right off! Believe it or not, it does make a difference.
Corn Topping Tips and Variations
It's important to use fresh corn for this dish. Frozen just doesn't have the same crisp texture or sweet fresh flavor.
When I'm in a rush, I slice the corn right off the cob and add it to the dish. Cooking is not necessary. When I have more time, I like to char the corn on the grill. This gives the dish a more earthy, deep and rustic flavor profile which really so yummy!
Make Pesto Ahead of Time
This pesto is great for make ahead meals. Who wouldn't love that this time of year with all the back-to-school madness? Simply make the pesto and store in an air-tight container until ready to use. You could also make extra and freeze it for later on.
Nutrition and Substitutions
This dish is a great way to get in a healthy dose of antioxidants and fiber. There are many different ways to enjoy this dish:
- Make it gluten-free- Use gluten free pasta or grains.
- Add in extra protein- You can do this 2 ways. One, is to use pasta made with chickepeas or lentils or any type of high protein pasta. Two, add a meat based protein source like chicken or shrimp for example. This will also help control glucose spikes if that is a concern.
Let me know in the comments below if you give this recipe a try. Or tag me on Instagram for a chance to be featured.
If you enjoyed this dish you might also like Rigatoni with Broccoli and Sun Dried Tomatoes.
Pasta with Red Pepper Pesto and Corn
- 1 lb pasta of choice (see notes above)
- 2 cups jarred roasted red peppers drained
- ¾ cup unsalted cashews soaked in hot water for 30 min then drained
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- handful fresh basil
- extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes omit if you don't like heat
- 2 ears corn kernels removed from cob
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- fresh pepper
- grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- Heat a bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- In the meantime, heat the garlic in a small sauté pan until fragrant (about 1 min) and set aside.
- To a food processor add the roasted peppers, garlic, basil, cashews, red pepper flakes and a good pinch of salt. Begin to pulse while adding in the olive oil a bit a time until you get a creamy, blended consistency.
- Before draining pasta, reserve some of the pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and add to a large bowl. Fold in the pesto. If the sauce seems too thick, drizzle in a few drops of the pasta water and combine again.
- Top pasta with corn kernels and grated cheese. Adjust seasonings as needed.