Roasted Sweet Nardello Red Pepper and Jalapeno Pesto

This is a very spicy yet extremely tasty pesto.  These peppers are called Jimmy Nardello after Jimmy Nardello who lived in Naugatuck Connecticut until his death in 1983.  His family had been growing these peppers in that region since Jimmy’s mother brought the seeds with her from Italy to the U.S. in 1887.


This pesto has a bit of a different texture due to the queso fresco.  It’s smoother and would be great added to a quesadilla or a casserole.


This pesto goes great with a Mexican beer or a sparkling wine.


Recipe:  Approx. 2 1/2 Cups

  • 6 Sweet Nardello Red Pepper (2 red bell peppers will work if you can’t find Nardello) – roasted
  • 6 Jalapeño Peppers – roasted
  • 3/4 Queso Fresco Cheese
  • 1/ Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 /2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
Roasted peppers

 Turn the oven to broil.

Wash the peppers then line them in the center of a baking sheet and place the baking sheet on top shelf of the oven then broil for 4 – 5 minutes.

 Flip over and broil 3 – 4 minutes until they are well charred.  Put them in a cover dish to steam for about 10 minutes.

 Peel off the skin with a paper towel by rubbing off the charred skin, cut off the stem then cut in half and deseed.


Measure and add all ingredients into a bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Scrape the sides at least once.

Health benefits:

Jalapeno is a rich source of vitamin C, 1 pepper provides 18 % of the daily value for men and 23 % for women. They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which helps skin and eye health.  Jalapenos contain phenols, flavonoids and capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation and promote weight loss.  The bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants and help strengthen blood vessels. They also fight nasal congestion by stimulating secretions that help clear mucus from the nose.  They contain more vitamin B6 aiding the immune system, E that protects the cells and K, which increases bone mass, than any other pepper.

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