Smokey Tomato-Pepper Pesto


  • 4 chile chipotles or moritas (smoke-dried serranos) - dried, not canned, & with stems cut off
  • 4 Habaneros, stemless (or more, if you're like me)
  • At least 6 cloves fresh garlic, I prefer the whole head
  • 2 cups fresh basil (don't substitute dried, it ruins the texture)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (drained), or ~3 cups diced fresh tomato
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • Fresh grated parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  1. In a blender, puree the chiles, garlic, basil, & pine nuts while slowly adding olive oil to make a slightly runny paste.
  2. Combine mixture with tomatoes and set aside (the dried chiles need to sit in the liquid).
  3. In 1 TB olive oil, sautee mushrooms & onions until tender, seasoning lightly with salt and ground pepper. Once tender, add the tomato-pesto mixture. Mix well and until heated through, but don't let the tomatoes start to cook down.
  4. Toss well with pasta (I prefer rotini or farfalle for this one, but you can pick your poison) and copious amounts of fresh grated parmesan.

You can adjust the chile amounts to your particular heat level, but don't skimp on the chipotles & moritas. Use a mix, if you can find the moritas.

This has been a Too Much Free Time Creation by Needham in Greenville, SC.

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