Spaghetti with Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto

Jalapeno and serrano pesto is a spicy take on traditional pesto! Perfect for tossing with spaghetti, or save the leftovers as a sandwich spread or to drizzle over eggs. 

Spicy jalapeno and serrano pesto pasta has a kick!

We're back from Yellowstone! I'm not sure why that statement necessitated an exclamation mark, because it was one of the hardest vacations to return to the real world from. Even though we spent 12 hours (!!) exploring the park each day, I wish we had another week to see more of the backcountry.  It was one of the most incredible places I've ever visited.

So, today's recipe, which is not at all Yellowstone related.

When scanning a menu, there are a few ingredients where if I see them listed in a dish, there's no way I can resist. One is avocado (duh), another is sun-dried tomato (mmm), and of course cheese has to make the list (specifically brie, Roquefort, or feta - gah, I love cheese!). And last but not least, pesto. 

Pesto is a perfect blend of the most flavorful ingredients - fresh herbs, toasted nuts, parmesan cheese, extra-virgin olive oil and garlic. There's no way it won't turn out delicious!

I've made my own pesto since college, and in the last 5 (or is it 6?) years, I think I've tried every possible combination. Many times I'll simply throw together leftover herbs with a handful of whatever nuts I have on hand, oil, and garlic. 

Spicy jalapeno and serrano pesto! Perfect with pasta or dolloped over tacos!

I thought I had tried all the pesto the world had to offer. Then I saw this recipe from Mario Batalli. Toss with whole grain pasta and top with crispy breadcrumbs for this dish, then use leftovers to dress tacos, dollop over eggs, or in a sandwich to add kick. This recipe calls for a ridiculous amount of chilies. Don’t be afraid. The seeds contain most of the heat, so it’s not as spicy as you might expect.

Fettuccine with Jalapeno and Serrano Pesto

Adapted from Mario Batali Simple Family Meals.


  • 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, cored and seeded
  • 5 fresh serrano chiles, cored and seeded
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup blanched, sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb 100% whole grain fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted


  1. Place the jalapenos, serranos, red onion, almonds and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in the food processor. Process to a smooth puree then season with salt to taste.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions until al dente and drain, reserving 1/2 cup starchy cooking water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add pesto and stir to combine with the garlic. Reduce heat to medium and simmer.
  4. Return drained pasta to the pot. Add 1 1/2 cups pesto and starchy cooking water and toss to combine. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with panko.