Walnut & red pepper pesto pasta

Walnut & red pepper pesto pasta

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(26 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4
Homemade pesto knocks spots off shop-bought jars. This earthy blend is a new take on the versatile Italian sauce

Nutrition and extra info

  • sauce only
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal589
  • fat33g
  • saturates8g
  • carbs56g
  • sugars2g
  • fibre1g
  • protein19g
  • salt0.2g
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  • 400g strozzapreti or casarecce pasta, or another short pasta shape



    Pasta is the Italian name for Italy's version of a basic foodstuff which is made in many…

  • 100g walnut



    Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they're…

  • 3 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 25g parmesan, or a vegetarian alternative, plus extra to serve



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • large pack basil, plus a few leaves to serve



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g mascarpone


  1. Cook the pasta following pack instructions. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry pan for a few mins. Add half the walnuts to the small bowl of a food processor or a hand chopper, along with the red peppers, Parmesan, garlic, basil, oil and some seasoning. Whizz to a paste, adding a splash of water from the pasta if it is a little dry.

  2. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan and set over a low heat. Add the pesto, mascarpone and 3-4 tbsp of the reserved pasta water, then stir until the mascarpone has melted, adding a splash more pasta water if the sauce needs thinning. To serve, crush the remaining walnuts in your hand and scatter over the pasta with a few more basil leaves and some extra Parmesan.

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Comments, questions and tips

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30th May, 2019
Yum yum! I grilled 4 red peppers with garlic puree on my hotplate grill until soft and charred. Then blitzed with the walnuts, Parmesan and basil. The mascarpone was entirely unnecessary for me and also reduces the calories big time. We had with 7 veg sauce on pasta and it was scrumptious.
11th Feb, 2016
Love this recipe! I wasn't sure if the recipe asked for homemade grilled peppers or peppers from a jar. I used peppers from a jar but I also grilled a fresh pepper myself and added that desperately to the dish. I also switched out some of the walnuts for scattering for toasted pine nuts. Great recipe easy and very tasty!
12th Feb, 2016
hahaha autocorrect fail i added the pepper separately not desperately. I mean peppers are great but not that great ;-)
26th Apr, 2015
Really tasty and easy to make. Leftovers were great cold for lunch the next day!
7th Jun, 2014
I liked the sound of this but wanted a healthier version so tried this without mascarpone and balanced the strong, bitter walnut taste with an extra red pepper but it still came out too nutty for my liking. Sort of eating pasta with walnut butter. I may try this again using fresh cream or fromage frais instead and hope it turns out better.
18th Mar, 2014
Doubled this to feed a crowd. Easy and delicious, everyone loved it. Leftovers made great pasta salad lunches for the week.
10th Jun, 2014
How much basil, exactly, is in "large pack" basil? When I checked the "Buy Ingredients" list, each supermarket had a different size. Suppose one wants to use fresh basil, instead of buying it in a plastic bag at the supermarket? Please give the weight - and not the package size.
goodfoodteam's picture
27th Jun, 2014
Hi there. For a large pack use approximately 20g of fresh basil.
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