Romano Peppers with almond pesto
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cooking time||40 minutes|
|Total time||50 minutes|
Don’t be tempted to skip the toasting of the almonds, it deepens their flavour immeasurably. The pesto will keep for three or four days in the fridge. If it solidifies, then let it come up to cool room temperature before serving. It makes a rather fine sandwich filling, too.
Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Wipe the peppers, cut them in half lengthways and remove any white cores. Place the peppers cut side down in a roasting tin, together with the whole, unpeeled garlic, trickle with olive oil, then bake for a good 40 minutes, until they have softened and wrinkled. If their skins have blackened then all to the good.
Make the pesto: put the almonds in a shallow pan and lightly brown them over a moderate heat, tossing them around the pan from time to time until they are golden and toasted. Don’t let anything distract you – almonds can burn in seconds.
Put the nuts into the bowl of a food processor, then add the peeled clove of garlic and the basil leaves and their stalks. Process to a coarse paste, add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar, then blend in the olive oil, taking care not to reduce the mixture to a smooth paste.
Stir in the grated parmesan and set the paste aside, covered, in a cool place.
Remove the peppers from the oven and let them relax for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel off and discard the skins (they should come away easily). Squeeze the garlic from its skin. Place the skinned peppers on a serving dish, dot with the roasted garlic.
Pour a little more oil into the roasting tin. Stir to mix with the roasting juices, scraping up any deliciousness from the pan, then trickle over the peppers. Serve at room temperature, with a bowl of the toasted almond pesto, stirred at the last minute.