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Red Pepper Pistou Pasta

Red Pepper Pistou Pasta

Red Pepper Pistou Pasta is a unique mix. Pistou, a French twist on Italian Pesto, still has the fresh flavor that you expect with a traditional Pesto.

Red Pepper Pistou Pasta

Ciao Pesto, Bonjour Pistou!

It took me a while to share with you a pasta salad. Not because I don´t like them, but because I felt that everything had been more or less covered in the field of pasta salad recipes: how to make them, which are the best ingredients, which pasta works best,… Now when I learned how to make pistou I said to myself that this would be the beginning of a beautiful edible friendship.

For this recipe I used gluten free quinoa penne pasta. Penne is my favorite pasta for salads. Fusilli also works well but I do prefer the stronger consistency of the first, able to absorb my rich and oh so easy to make red bell pepper sauce but still perfectly al dente.

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And if you´re wondering what pistou is, it´s basically the French version of pesto but without pine nuts nor cheese. French people use it mostly in summer vegetable soups to give them an aromatic punch at the end of cooking. So I decided to top my pasta salad with a generous drizzle of this vibrant basil pistou and I don´t regret doing it!

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  • Author: Joana Oliveira
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x


  • 8 oz/ 250 gr. gluten free penne (I used quinoa)
  • 1 red bell pepper (cubed)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove with skin (crushed)

For the Pistou

  • 2 cups/ 32 gr. loosely packed basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup / 50 ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cook the pasta according to package instruction, drain and immediatly put it under cold running water to stop the cooking process (this little trick allows the pasta to be cooked but firm for the salad). Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil with the garlic clove in a skilled over medium–high heat. Remove the garlic clove and reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Add the bell pepper and sauté for approximately 10 minutes or until cooked, mixing frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. For the pistou, mix the basil and salt in a blender or food processor until a thick paste forms. Slowly add the olive oil until you get a smooth green paste.
  5. Finally transfer the pasta into a big bowl or serving plate and add in the red bell peppers and its delicious juice gently mixing everything in order for the pasta to absorb all the flavour.
  6. Serve cold, topped with a generous drizzle of the pistou. Put the rest of the pistou in a small bowl and serve it along with the pasta salad.
  • Category: Primi


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