Capellini Piedmontese

Walnut pesto is very popular in Piedmont, where I first tasted this dish. It's really great on its own, simply tossed with a long-cut pasta, but I think the peppers give it a bit more body and also make the dish more beautiful on the plate.



Capellini Piedmontese



Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

15 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Capellini Piedmontese


    For The Walnut Pesto:

  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • For The Pasta:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers (cored, seeded, and thinly sliced)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (cored, seeded, and thinly sliced)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (cored, seeded, and thinly sliced)
  • 2 leeks (thinly sliced crosswise and well rinsed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 1 pound capellini or angel hair pasta
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese (cut into small cubes)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. For the pesto, combine the parsley, walnuts, thyme, and garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor, blend until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the 1/2 cup of oil, processing until well blended. Season the pesto with the salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, leeks, and the finely chopped garlic. Saute until the bell peppers are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the capellini and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, about 4 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the pesto, bell pepper mixture, and cheese, adding enough reserved pasta water to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.


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