homemade pesto & pasta salad

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

• 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
• 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Special equipment needed: A food processor

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup.

Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

• 4 cups uncooked spiral pasta (use rice pasta for wheat-free version)
• 1 cup fresh basil pesto
• 2 Tbsp chopped green olives, or olive tapenade
• 1/4 cup pine nuts
• 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted (or fresh if you can get them)
• 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
• Several fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper

1 Cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Make sure the water is salted (at least a half teaspoon per quart). Remove pasta from heat and strain when pasta is cooked, but still firm (al dente).

2 Put pasta in a big bowl. Mix in fresh basil pesto, green olives, and pine nuts. Gently mix in cherry tomatoes, peas, fresh basil leaves and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill or serve at room temperature.

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