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Wednesday Wind-down: Pesto Penne with Roasted Vegetables

penne pasta roasted vegThis is a really simple, stress-free recipe that’s ready in 40 minutes. The oven does most of the work: all you need to do is check on things every now and again. I know that all pasta shapes seem the same, but penne is especially good. It’s guaranteed to make a delicious Wednesday supper.

For the pesto, pine nuts can be substituted with cheaper but equally delicious cashews. While some of the ingredients are expensive, they’ll actually stretch much further than a jar of shop-bought pesto.

You’ll get three portions from this: two for dinner and a smaller portion for lunch.

Pesto Penne with Roasted Vegetables


  • 75g (3oz) penne pasta
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into large strips
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped into large strips
  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 3-4 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 aubergine or 1 courgette, or a mixture of both (optional), chopped into cubes
  • Olive oil
  • A handful of toasted pine nuts, optional (cook under a grill for a 2-3 minutes or in the oven for 5 minutes)
Home-made pesto:
  • A large handful of fresh basil
  • 25g pine nuts or cashews
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 25g parmesan or peccorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas Mark 4
  • Place the chopped onions and the whole garlic in a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Cook in a preheated oven for 5 minutes
  • After five minutes add the peppers, tomatoes and (optional) courgettes or aubergines. Sprinkle with a little more olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Roast the vegetables for about 20 minutes or until cooked. Check half-way through. Be careful not to overcook – the vegetables should maintain some bite.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the pesto: simply mix all the ingredients together in a blender
  • When the vegetables have been in the oven for 10 minutes, and about 10 minutes before they are ready, cook the pasta as per packet instructions: this should take about 7-10 minutes. If the pasta is cooked before the vegetables, simply leave it to one side – it doesn’t need to be hot for this dish
  • Finally, mix together the pasta, pesto, and roasted vegetables. To finish, try sprinkling with toasted pine nuts and some freshly grated parmesan

One Comment

  1. Hi Peter,

    Heard you on Matt Cooper. Well done!

    Liking your blog, esp the veggie stuff!

    (hardcore vegetablarian here 😉

    Keep on cheapin’.