Pesto with a Twist

trofie with pesto, red pepper, and mozzarella

trofie with pesto, red pepper, and mozzarella

We always have a jar (or two) of pesto in the fridge. I love the stuff, especially my father-in-law’s home-made version. While I would never dare to ‘contaminate’ his with anything red, sometimes I like to jazz up regular store-bought pesto with cherry tomatoes or red pepper. Here’s what I made today:

Ingredients for 4 people

350 grams (about 12 ounces) of fresh pasta like trofie
125 grams (about 1/2 cup) basil pesto
1 medium red pepper
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella (or several small)
1 garlic clove
salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

Set the pasta water to boil. Take your pesto out of the fridge, clean and dice the pepper, and chop the cheese into small pieces. Heat the oil in a large pan. When the oil is very hot, add the peeled garlic clove, the diced pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring a few times, and turn off the heat. Cook the pasta al dente. Mix a spoonful of hot pasta water into the pesto and add it to the cooked pepper. Strain the pasta (but don’t shake out all the excess water) and add it to the pan of pesto and peppers. Add the cheese pieces and stir very well (you might need to turn the heat back on for a minute if the sauce has cooled too much before you add the pasta). Buon appetito!