Muhammara is one of my favorite mezzes. That deep orange/red color, the savory, sweet, smoky and spicy flavor makes it the center piece of any mezze spread. The word muhammara comes from Arabic 'ahmar', which means red. This delicious dip made its way from the heart of the Orient to many parts of the world.
It is very easy to make- few ingredients, quick preparation: Bread, roasted red peppers, red pepper paste, tomato paste, walnuts, spices, olive oil... You can use it as a dip, put it into a sandwich/pita bread, serve it besides vegetables/meat/chicken, or simply enjoy it with buckwheat crackers as an aperitif. The choice is yours.
In this recipe I will take you one step further and I will also use this dip as a pasta sauce!
200 gr walnuts (chopped)
100 gr stale bread (soaked in water, then squeezed) or bread crumbs
2 red peppers (roasted, peeled, seeds removed, sliced)
2 tbsps red pepper paste
1 tbsps tomato paste
1-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
70 ml olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt, red pepper flakes
Mix all the ingredients (except walnuts) in a food processor. Add some water and/or olive oil if it is thick. You should get a smooth paste. Add the walnuts and blend some more. The walnuts should stay a little crunchy, not turned into powder.
You can serve the muhammara on a service plate, drizzle with some more olive oil and red pepper flakes.
PASTA with MUHAMMARA SAUCE:
4-5 tablespoons muhammara
300 gr pasta (cooked al dente)
Sauteed vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach)
Put the muhammara sauce on a pan on low heat. Add the al dente pasta. Add a few tablespoons of cooking water and mix. Add any (leftover) sauteed vegetables on top to make the dish more colorful and nutritious. Enjoy!
TIP: Muhammara is a "no waste cooking" recipe. You can use any leftover bread to prepare it. There is a whole chapter around leftover/stale bread in my new Kashkarikas Cookbook. From almond soup to bread cakes, from puddings to papara...
Happy and wasteless cooking always!