A week or two back I was killing time before picking my son up from preschool and stopped by a small Italian restaurant for lunch. This little gem, Pasta Vera in Greenwich, CT, has both a sit down area as well as the option to select salads, sandwiches, and other prepared foods from a display case to-go. I settled on a chicken sandwich (grilled and topped with arugula, roasted peppers, fontina, and pesto mayo), but because I like my carbs with an extra helping of carbs on the side I also got some pasta salad to sample.
The pasta was coated in a creamy roasted red pepper sauce and had fresh veggies mixed in. Aka: heaven.
The sandwich I could hold off on, but when it comes to pasta I have very little restraint. So…
…five minutes later I found myself sitting in the back of my car sharing forkfuls of pasta with my 1.5 year old until, sadly, it was all gone.
One of us cried. Not comfortable divulging whom.
Naturally, the first thing I did was walk back into the restaurant and demand to know how they made the sauce. And by ‘demand’ I mean ask really, really nicely.
In her best Italian accent, the woman behind the counter exclaimed that it was a simple roasted red pepper pesto with cream. Her tone indicated that anyone could recreate this at will.
So I did.
The red pepper pesto came together easy enough, and with the added indulgent splash (or four) of heavy cream, I was satisfied.
I stuck with the same veggies they had used: fresh corn (sautéed in butter, of course), sliced zucchini…
…and the surprise ingredient of the bunch — radicchio!
Radicchio has a naturally bitter taste, but when paired with sweet corn and pepper pesto, it’s not overpowering. I decided to roast the radicchio first. No clue how they prepare it at the restaurant, but this ended up working out well to help sweeten the overall flavor, similar to how an onion becomes sweet when roasted.
Throw everything together in a large pot.
Top with a little grated parmesan (or really whatever cheese you have lying around).
And pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
I’m not sure why, but I actually enjoyed this more the second (and third and fourth) day than I did right after it was cooked. I think the flavor of the pesto became more pronounced overnight. Certainly not a bad thing. Or maybe it was the fact that we added cubed mozzarella to the pasta before reheating the next few nights? Either way, if you’re looking for a new-to-you recipe to use up your abundant summer squash and fresh corn, I highly recommend this pasta!