Perfect Basil Pesto, one of the best foods on earth. A good pesto pasta just can't be beat. It's one of those meals where I take one bite and just go to my happy place. 7 simple ingredients does it. Basil, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesano Reggiano cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, nothing more. Although there are tons a great pesto recipes with a bucket load of ingredients out there, traditional Italian Pesto at it's best, doesn't need anything more then the basic 7. Without further Adeo . . .
Basil Pesto- I always double the recipe.
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts,
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese
kosher salt and freshly grated black pepper, to taste
Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
**If freezing, don't add the cheese and only use 1/2 of the oil when processing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top, thaw and stir in cheese.
Pesto Pasta Primavera
This dish takes pesto to a new level. Pesto, pasta and roasted vegetables makes for a crowd pleasing dinner. This is one of my families all time favorite dishes (and mine) and is always a hit. I love that it's simple to prepare. Much of the time I use pesto that I have prepared a week before and so it's a quick dinner- cook the pasta, roast vegetables and toss with fresh pesto and Parmesan. This dish is also very versatile, switch up the vegetables, add grilled chicken if you are in the mood. Have fun with this dish, copy my version or make it your own.
Pesto Pasta Primavera- Serves 8 (I often make a half portion for my family)
1 pound linguine pasta, cooks as directed, being careful not to overcook.
1 recipe Basil Pesto (listed above)
A variety of fresh vegetables, my favorite combination is:
2 cups broccoli florets
1 large red bell pepper (orange or yellow are great too, sliced long and thin and then cut in half
1 bunch of asparagus, using the top 1/3 only (save the rest to throw in another dish)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Toasted pine nuts for sprinkling if desired
Fresh basil for sprinkling if desired
To assemble the pasta:
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Prepare pesto or have previously prepared pesto ready to use.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions and in the meantime, do the following;
3. Toss the broccoli, bell pepper and asparagus generously with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Do the same thing with the tomatoes but keep them separate.
4. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and place the tossed vegetables on another baking sheet in a single layer.
5. Roast vegetables in oven. The tomatoes will be done first, bake until they are fragrant and begin to burst, about 8 minutes, set aside. Bake remaining vegetables for 10 to 12 minutes until tender but still firm.
6. Toss cooked pasta, prepared pesto and vegetables together. Add in 1/2 cup fresh parmesan. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve immediately. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and freshly chopped basil if desired.
* I love to serve this dinner with homemade french bread and a green salad. Gotta love soaking up the leftover pesto on your plate with a hot, fresh piece of french bread!