Walnut and red pepper pesto pasta – pregnancy recipe

  • Serves 4

A lovely creamy homemade pesto, packed with omega-3 and antioxidant-rich walnuts

  • 400g strozzapreti or casarecce pasta (or another short pasta shape)
  • 100g walnuts
  • 3 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 25g Parmesan (or a vegetarian alternative), plus extra to serve
  • 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 large pack of basil, plus a few leaves to serve
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g mascarpone (check it’s pasteurised)


  • Step 1

    Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions. 

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry pan for a few minutes.

  • Step 3

    Add half the walnuts to the small bowl of a food processor or a hand chopper, along with the red peppers, Parmesan, garlic, basil, oil and some seasoning. Whizz to a paste, adding a splash of water from the pasta if it is a little dry.

  • Step 4

    Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan and set over a low heat.

  • Step 5

    Add the pesto, mascarpone and 3 to 4 tbsp of the reserved pasta water, then stir until the mascarpone has melted, adding a splash more pasta water if the sauce needs thinning.

  • Step 6

    To serve, crush the remaining walnuts in your hand and scatter over the pasta with a few more basil leaves and some extra Parmesan.