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Author Notes: I've been obsessed with Muhammara since it appeared in the August 2009 issue of Gourmet. I've adapted it since then slightly and I often have a batch on hand to stir into risotto or to put on top of eggs or as a tomato sauce alternative for pizza. But it's also a great mix in for pasta. I threw in random veg from my fridge and ended up with a dinner that my husband, 10 month old and 2.75 year old all devoured and asked for seconds of...a rare seal of approval indeed. - emadethis
Muhammara (Turkish and Syrian red pepper spread walnut dip)
- 1 pint roasted red peppers, drained
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin toasted and ground
- 1 cup walnuts
- pinches cayenne
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Toast the walnuts in a small pan in a 350 degree oven until just starting to brown. Watch them--especially if you have a toddler who knows how to work the toaster oven. I burned two batches because he insisted they needed to be broiled. When they start to smell, they should be in the ballpark of being done.
- Add all the other ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor along with the walnuts. Process until you have a smooth paste.
- Add enough olive oil to thin out and make a dippy kind of consistency. It'll take at least 2 Tablespoons, but up to 4.
- Try not to incorporate it into everything that comes out of your kitchen. And do set aside 3/4 cup for the pasta.
Caramelized Onion Muhummara Pasta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste or 1/2 a can, drained and chopped finely
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- stems from 1 bunch of swiss chard, sliced thinly
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 3/4 cup Muhammara, that you dutifully put aside
- 1/2 pound short tube pasta like gemelli
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup leftover chicken, diced
- 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- In a 12 inch skillet, melt the butter and the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally for about 30 minutes until they just start to color.
- Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Add the anchovy paste (or chopped anchovies) and garlic to the onions and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- While the anchovies, onion, and garlic are cooking, blanch the swiss chard stems in the boiling water for 2 minutes in a strainer and set aside (I throw mine on my cutting board in a single layer).
- When the garlic begins to get some color and the onions have become brown, add the tomato, swiss chard stems and the Muhummara. Bring to a boil and add a little water to thin it out enough so that the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the heat on the sauce to low and cover.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- As the pasta is finishing up, stir the cream cheese and chicken into the sauce.
- Put drained pasta into the sauce and toss and cook for 2 minutes on low, adding pasta water as needed to make the sauce a saucy consistency. Turn off the heat and add the parmigiano.