You know when you just overcomplicate things? Like you pack for a weekend away and, in attempts to bring along some fashion-forward outfits, you end up with pack a hodgepodge of outfits that are enough for a week. Or you try to meet up with so many groups of friends at a concert that it becomes one big cluster trying to organize everyone.
But then you get in the kitchen and things fall into place. Everything happens easily. And the result is something simple but satisfying like this charred poblano pesto pasta. It seems wrong to call it a pesto since it’s really a chile puree type thing but I dropped semantics in order to keep things uncomplicated — all you need to know is that it’s simply tasty.
quartered (about 6 ounces)
(about 1 pound)
(aka raw pumpkin seeds), plus more for garnish
plus more for garnish
or linguine pasta
Heat oven to broil and arrange rack in the upper third. Toss onion quarters with 1 tablespoon of the oil then place poblanos and onions on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Broil, flipping the chiles occasionally with a pair of tongs, until blackened on all sides, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add pepitas and garlic and toast until golden brown, about 2 minutes more.
Alternatively grill the poblanos and onions until well charred.
Set onions aside to cool slightly. Place chiles in a plastic bag and let steam until cool enough to handle, at least 5 minutes. Peel the skins off the chiles, then remove stems and seeds, and discard. Roughly chop the chile flesh and set aside.
Place onion, chiles, pepitas, garlic, remaining olive oil, parsley, lemon, sugar, and salt in a blender with 1/3 cup water and puree until smooth and aerated, at least 2 minutes. Taste and add some freshly ground black pepper and adjust seasoning as desired.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When done, reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain pasta in a colander. Add the pesto, noodles, and reserved water to the pot over low heat and toss well to coat the noodles. Divide the pasta among plates, garnish with cheese and additional parlsey and pepitas, as desired, and serve.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp