Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blistered Tomato Pesto Pasta

I made pesto salmon the other day and had quite a bit of pesto leftover:) So I bought some fresh spinach tortelllini, grape tomatoes, a bell pepper and called it a day. I love making my own pesto sauce because it's tailored to me and has ZERO preservatives or other suspect substances. Some days I want it more spicy, citrusy, nutty, herby and I can easily do it as i please:)

I love this dish because the earthy rich pesto coats everything so beautifully while the blistered tomatoes and roasted bell pepper add a freshness that just can't be beat!

2 cups fresh basil leaves that have been washed well
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or less, depends what consistency you're after)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1 red bell pepper
1 pint grape tomato
whatever pasta you like- I also like spaghettini!
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 420. Wrap a red bell pepper in tinfoil and bake for 25 minutes or until soft when pierced. When cooked, discard the seeds and cut them in a large dice. Meanwhile put the basil, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, parm cheese and a pinch of salt together in a blender and blitz until it's a consistency that resembles pesto- since you're making it you can have it thicker or runnier:) Reserve.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta. In the meantime, put a saute pan on high heat with just a touch of extra virgin olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) and add your grape tomatoes and cook them until they start to blister, sweat and char slightly (about 4 minutes). Add the bell pepper and cook for another minute. Lower the heat to medium, add the pesto and 1/2 cup pasta water. Boil and reduce slightly- want to cook the sauce down so it's less runny. Toss in the cooked pasta and cook for another minute, making sure you toss everything well so it's all mingled. Serve with freshly grated parm cheese!

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