Pesto Calabrese

Pesto Calabrese is just one of the many variations of pesto. This one? Sweet red peppers lead the way and rich creamy ricotta is not far behind to create a magical blend of flavors and a surprising BANG in your mouth. The perfect amount of heat keeps it Southern Italian style!

Southern Italians are the largest and first manufacturers of pasta in the world. They remain the best source of durum wheat, the key to a great tasting pasta. So if anyone knows how to do it right when it comes to pasta sauce recipes, Southern Italians do! The most brilliant, flavorful and unique pesto sauce recipes are not be excluded. Yes Northern Italians have their claim to fame when it comes to the traditional Genovese Pesto recipe. But when it comes to creating new and exciting flavors in pesto, the South wins hands down.

Pesto Calabrese is a blend of juicy, bright red peppers, skinned and crushed. Then mix them with a blend of fresh Italian cheeses such as Ricotta and Pecorino and or course the maestro of all Italian cheeses, parmigiano reggiano.

Ingredients for your Pesto Calabrese:

  1. 2 fresh whole red peppers
  2. 1 cup of a good quality ricotta cheese
  3. ½ cup of grated parmigiano reggiano
  4. ½ cup of grated pecorino
  5. ½ tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  6. 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  7. salt and pepper to taste

Preparation instructions:

steamed red pepper peeling the red pepper

Using good (or great) quality ingredients is always the key to great tasting food. Something I stress over and over again on this site. So go to a fresh green market and buy some fresh, crisp red peppers. It may take a couple of extra bucks but it’s so worth it.

Place the red peppers in a pot filled with about an inch or two of water and place the lid on top. Bring the water to a boil for about 5 minutes, remove from heat and let them sit in the pot until they cool. This will loosen the skin from the bell pepper.

Once they cool you're ready to peel and core them. They should be soft so it won't be difficult at all. In fact sometimes you can peel away the skin with your hands. Try not to rinse in the water for this step. You'll loose part of the flavor from the red bell pepper as it washes away the oily outer coating.

Now is a good time to start a large pot of salted boiling water. When the water has reached a rapid boil, drop in your gnocchi pasta and stir a couple of times. Allow to boil for 7-10 minutes.

pesto calabrese in food processor pesto calabrese

Take the peppers and the rest of the ingredients and place them into a food processor and blend until smooth and set aside until your gnocchi is cooked al dente.

When you're ready to serve the gnocchi with Calabrese pesto you add it directly to the freshly drained hot pasta. That will heat the pesto sauce to the perfect temperature for serving. Don’t heat the sauce separately. Sprinkle some chopped Italian parsley color and flavor.

If you think this pesto sauce recipe sounds good you've got to read about a Southern Italian style pesto made with raisins, capers and anchovies. AMAZING!!!

Vivere, Amare, Ridere e Mangiare Bene
Live, Love, Laugh and Eat Well!
Kira Volpi

Vivere, Amare, Ridere e Mangiare Bene
Live, Love, Laugh and Eat Well!
Kira Volpi

Do you have a pasta recipe to share? Just like this pesto Calabrese recipe I will post it right here on this site for a whole page dedicated to your Italian pasta recipe.

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