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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.