- Put oven on "broil" setting and preheat for a few minutes.
Put red pepper quarters skin side up on a foil-lined baking sheet and
place on top shelf of oven until tops are blackened and charred (10–12
minutes; check every 2 minutes).
- Meanwhile, begin cooking onion, hot pepper and a generous sprinkling
of salt over low heat in oil until onion is translucent and tender.
- While peppers are broiling and onions are cooking, brush both sides
of eggplant slices with olive oil and lay on a separate foil-lined baking
sheet. Take one piece of garlic per slice and embed it as best you can
in the flesh of the eggplant.
- When peppers are done, remove them from oven and set oven to 500ºF.
Take peppers from baking sheet with tongs and place in a plastic zip
bag to steam for 15–20 minutes.
- While peppers are steaming, place pan of eggplant slices in oven for
15–20 minutes or until they are just beginning to brown.
- Toast walnuts for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Remove charred skin from red peppers.
- Place cheese and walnuts in food processor and chop until reduced
to coarse crumbs. Add onions, hot pepper and parsley and process again.
Add eggplant slices (with or without roasted garlic pieces) and process
until the pesto begins to come together. Add red peppers and a sprinkling
of salt and (optional) a dash of black pepper and process until it forms
a thick paste. Drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil. Correct salt, add
more grated cheese if necessary and process until fairly smooth and
- Serve over hot pasta with grated Grana and Pecorino.
- Best with a convoluted pasta like rotini or farfalle. If serving pesto
with a smooth pasta, reserve a ladleful of the pasta-cooking water to
thin the pesto and help it adhere.
- If pesto is too spicy, discard some or all of the seeds from the hot
pepper before combining with onion, or use a milder pepper such as a
- Fantastic with a splash of vinegar as the dressing for a cold pasta
salad. Also delicious hot or cold with quinoa.
Tips on Roasting Vegetables
- Peppers To roast the peppers and the hot pepper whole,
cut peppers into quarters, remove the seeds and the membranes and roast
the peppers in pre-heated oven at 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).until
the skin blisters and turns black. Remove from oven and cover with plastic,
or a tea towel, or place in a paper bag until cool. The skins should
peel away off of the peppers easily when cooled. Put them in a plastic
zip bag to steam. When they are cool enough to handle, prepare the red
peppers by pulling the stem and innards out and pulling/scraping off
the charred, loose skin. Open up and rinse out any remaining seeds.
Prepare the hot pepper by cutting the stem off. (For a milder pesto,
also remove some or all of the seeds.) See Roasting
Peppers recipe from AllRecipes.com which shows photos.
- Eggplant Char the eggplant under the broiler. Cut
a deep slit in it lengthwise and stuff it with garlic cloves. (Sean
used 3 long, narrow Chinese eggplants this time, and 9 garlic cloves
plus extra small ones.) Let the oven cool slightly, then roast the eggplant
at 375°F for 2030 minutes, or until it is completely slumped and loose
and the garlic inside is soft. Remove from oven, cut off stem end, open
the skin and lay the eggplant out flat, butterfly-style. Using a metal
spoon, scrape the flesh from the skin of the eggplant, starting where
the stem was and working down. Place in a strainer and squeeze the excess
liquid out. (Method based on these
instructions by David Lebovitz.)
- Onions For roasting the onions, put unpeeled whole
onions on a baking sheet. and roast in oven at 425ºF for one hour, or
until the skins are deep golden brown and blistered and the inner parts
are very tender throughout and yield when pierced with a sharp knife.
This will take an hour or longer, depending on the size. See Whole
Roasted Onions by Andrea Reusing at Leite's Culinaria. When onion
is cool enough to handle, peel off very outer layers and chop roughly.
Source: "Alone and Unobserved" blog by librarian
Sean "Pesto alla Calabrese con Peperoni e Melanzane Arrostiti (Roasted
Red Pepper/Eggplant Pesto)"
accessed Sunday, May 6, 2012