Pasta. A favourite among most people. So its about time that we ventured away from the usual spaghetti bolognese and carbonara, no matter how delicious it may be. We shouldn’t be dreaming of the mouth-watering ‘exotic’ mediterranean flavours that we tasted during the last time we paid a visit to an Italian restaurant franchise, we should be experimenting more at home. Making our own sauces, or at least adding ingredients to premake sauces. This dish can be prepared in a convenient 25-30 minutes; therefore ideal for the evening’s of busy weekdays.
If you do not like pesto & prefer a tomato based pasta sauce, the basil leaves can be substituted with 3-4 tablespoons of tomato puree. Parmesan can also be replaced with mascarpone.
- 1 handful of parmesan cheese ( + a little extra as an optional garnish).
- 1 and a half handfuls of pine nuts.
- 3 handfuls of fresh basil leaves.
- 1/2 a clove of crushed garlic.
- Olive oil.
- Any type of pasta (I use Spaghetti or Farfalle).
- 1 cupful of cherry or plum tomatoes.
- Firstly, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the pine nuts to a frying pan. Slightly toast the pine nuts for 2 minutes, on a low heat. 1 handful of the pine nuts is for the pesto; save the remaining pine nuts for later in seperate dish. Also, keep the frying pan for later use.
- If the parmesan is not already grated, now is the time to do so.
- Combine 1 handful of toasted pine nuts, parmesan, 1/2 a clove of crushed garlic, 3 handfuls of fresh basil leaves, a sprinkle of ground black pepper and salt & a drizzle of olive oil into a food processor. Blend until it forms a textured paste. Set aside for later, ensuring the pesto is kept covered. (Chill it in a refridgerator if it is not going to be used there and then).
- Add 350g of your chosen pasta, to a saucepan of boiling, lightly seasoned water. Cook until al dente.
- 5 minutes before serving, halve the tomatoes & add them to the frying pan you used earlier; with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook them on a low heat for a few minutes until they have warmed & softened, but not blackened. When you are satisfied with their appearance, completely turn off the heat.
- Once the pasta has cooked, drain the water. In a clean bowl or in the saucepan containing the pasta, stir in the pesto which you prepared earlier.
- Divide the pasta into 2 shallow bowls. Between the spoonfuls which you serve, add the remaining toasted pine nuts and the tomatoes.
- Season with black pepper. Garnishing with optional parmesan.
Any additional pesto must be refridgerated, & consumed within 3-4 days after preparation.