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homemade red pesto orecchiette

Super quick, super simple and absolutely delicious. We love to make this dish when we don't have a lot of time and want something wholesome, warming and filling - perfect for this time of year. Orecchiette is a lovely pasta shape we've started using a lot recently, it makes dishes feel a little special with a very simple swap from penne. If you don't have any orecchiette you can easily change it for any pasta shape though.

Serves 4 & takes 20 minutes to cook


  • 100g almonds

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 250g roasted red peppers (from a jar)

  • 80g sun-dried tomatoes

  • Squeeze of lemon juice

  • 50g grated veggie-style parmesan (optional), plus more for the top

  • 1 tbsp harissa paste

  • 40g olive oil (we use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)

  • 500g orecchiette

  • Pinch of salt


1. Preheat the oven to 190C, fan setting.

2. Place the almond and garlic cloves on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.

3. Once a little cooler, place the toasted almonds, garlic cloves, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, a squeeze of lemon juice, 50g parmesan (if using), the harissa paste, olive oil and a pinch of salt into a powerful blender (we use a NutriBullet) and blend until a smooth paste forms. Place to one side until needed.

4. Put the pasta on to cook according to the instructions on the pack. Once cooked, drain - reserving a little of the pasta water.

5. Place a large pan over a medium heat and add the red pesto sauce, adding a dash of the pasta water if it ever becomes too thick.

6. Once the sauce is hot, mix the drained pasta through the sauce and cook for another minute or so until everything is piping hot, adding a dash of the pasta water bit-by-bit until you reach the consistency you like best.

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