Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pasta e Pesto

It's basil season and that means fresh pesto!  I love the smell of the fresh-picked leaves, and adore that sweet-peppery burst of flavor when it's ground into pesto.  This recipe incorporates two pestos - basil, also known as Pesto alla Genovese, and sun-dried tomato.  Both can be made ahead and stored in the fridge. 

Pesto alla Genovese
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
dash of red chile flakes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pulse everything in a food processor or blender, adding more oil as needed to get a smooth consistency and to emulsify it together.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. fresh oregano
salt and pepper
Blend everything together until smooth.

Cook any type of pasta you want al dente.  In a saucepan, heat equal amounts of the two pestos, adding a bit of cooking water from the pasta to thin it slightly.  Drain the pasta, stir in the sauce, top with grated parmigiano or pecorino, and sprinkle on some toasted pine nuts.