Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spiral Garden Pesto Pasta

It was such a perfectly sunny day at the market! 

We've been traveling on weekends a lot lately - Squamish, the North Cascades, Seattle, Leavenworth - which means that I haven't been to the Saturday Farmer's Market in a very long time! I was amazed by the wealth of produce that was fresh and available - the colors of all the veggies were beautiful. I picked up some tomatoes and basil for dinner and more raspberries - I've never loved raspberries like I do now. 

For lunch I was craving a Gourmet Egg Roll.

This time I had the Caprese - sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and garlic with a creamy balsamic reduction dipping sauce. So good! 

And as the gloriously sunny day wore on we were ready for dinner, so I got out the food processor to make pesto. 

Basil Pesto 
2 cups basil leaves
2 Tbsp pine nuts or walnuts 
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic 
Pinch of salt & pepper 
Parmesan cheese (optional) 

Combine all the ingredients (save half the oil) in the food processor and process. Add in the rest of the oil after it has processed a bit, and then adjust flavor as desired by possibly adding more garlic. I added a lot more garlic - I LOVE garlic. Add more oil if you prefer a thinner pesto. Use it all immediately or save it in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. 

Basil is probably my favorite herb, with cilantro coming in at a close second. How could you not love that beautiful shade of green? 

We used the pesto to make beautiful summer garden pasta dish. 

Spiral Garden Pesto Pasta 
Serves 2 
12 oz spiral vegetable pasta
2 Tbsp Olive oil 
1/2 jar Trader Joe's marinated artichokes
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 onion, chopped 
2 Trader Joe's apple chicken sausage, cubed  (optional)
1/2 cup Pesto 
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional) 

Cook and drain the noodles, rinse in cold water and place back into the sauce pan. 
Add the Olive Oil to a frying pan and cook the onions until soft. Then add the artichoke and sausage. 
Then add the contents of the frying pan to the noodles in the sauce pan and pour in the pesto; stir to coat. 
You can heat the pasta if you want to serve it hot or cool for a refreshingly cool summer pasta. I added the tomatoes and cheese on top when I served the pasta because I preferred the tomatoes raw and the cheese is  too tough to clean out of the sauce pan. 

I always know my meal is a success when I see Ross craning his neck to check the stove to see if there is any more. There was, but not for long.