So I've decided that in the midst of all the sweet recipes lately, I should add one of my favorite savory dishes. This is a dish that pretty much most people will like, vegetarians included, so it's great to serve to friends or company that come to dinner. It's also pretty fool proof, as the quantities never have to be exact and with pesto you can always swap out the pine nuts for any kind of nut you have on hand (walnuts, almonds ecc) and swap out the parmiggiano for any other hard, salty cheese (pecorino romano, grana- I would stick to italian though). You can even swap out the basil leaves for any other type of herby leaf like arugula or even spinach for a more mild flavor.
This is the beauty of pesto, it's adaptable to YOUR taste so following this easy process you can make it your own. Definitely give this one a try because it's pleasing to the eyes as well as the mouth and it's MUCH healthier than that kind they sell bottled in the store.
Oh and I like to add these vegetables to the pesto pasta but the pesto is great to use just on pasta alone, or even spread on a sandwich with some fresh mozzarella and tomato!
Pasta al Pesto with Vegetables:
*1 lb penne pasta (or any short length pasta)
*1/4 cup pesto (recipe follows)
*2-3 cups chopped vegetables (chopped approximately the same size as the pasta, I used bell pepper, zucchini and onion)
1. Heat a pot of water to a boil, as you wait for it to boil, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan.
2. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and saute til it just starts to soften, then add the rest of the vegetables. Cook until softened but not mushy. Salting to taste. Turn off and wait for the pasta to finish.
3. When the water comes to a boil add a generous amount of salt, and the pasta. Stir frequently and drain when it is al dente.
4. Drain the pasta, put them back in the pot and add the vegetables and the pesto. Toss together and serve hot!
Easy as pie pesto:
*bunch of basil leaves, 3-4 cups loosely packed
*3 garlic cloves
*1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
*1/3 cup grated parmiggiano
*salt and pepper
1. Whir all the ingredients together except the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Slowly stream in the olive oil until it forms a paste, but is not overly greasy, I like it to just come together. Then add salt and pepper to taste. If there isn't enough olive oil to your liking, add a bit more, but when it's put in the pasta you can always add more, you can never take it away.